Watch out, Las Vegas: app developers are aiming to take your most tech-savvy and/or lazy customers away from you. Bloomberg reports that mobile gambling apps, which turn iPhones into mini-slot machines that let users place bets with real money, are on the rise and will soon be in fierce competition with one another over which ones get to separate the most fools from their money. Indeed, Bloomberg notes that Juniper Research estimates that smartphone and tablet owners will use their favorite devices to place upward of $100 billion of bets by 2017.
Predictably, the gambling app companies say that Apple (AAPL) isn’t exactly thrilled with their presence on its App Store, as the company has so far refused to take any gambling revenues from the apps. Even so, Apple says it is tolerating the gambling apps as long as they obey local laws and regulations.
“Apple wants to keep arms’ length from this,” said Paul Thelen, CEO of mobile casino app developer Big Fish. “They don’t want to be the middleman in a gambling operation.”