UPDATE: In a statement shared by MacRumors today, Apple said it has paused gambling ads on App Store app pages:
We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.
Apple on Tuesday began including new ad placements in the App Store on the iPhone, which allow developers to advertise their apps in additional locations, such as the “You Might Also Like” section and the main Today tab.
Unfortunately, several top developers have found that ads for gambling apps are appearing in their own App Store listings. (Devs have no control over what ads appear in their listings.) Marco Arment, Simon Støvring, and others are reporting the distasteful ads.
“Now my app’s product page shows gambling ads, which I’m really not OK with,” tweeted Arment. “Apple shouldn’t be OK with it, either.”
Now my app’s product page shows gambling ads, which I’m really not OK with.
Apple shouldn’t be OK with it, either.
The App Store has corrupted such a great company so deeply. They make so much from gambling and manipulative IAPs that they don’t even see the problem anymore. https://t.co/MnNlf7k0kT
— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) October 25, 2022
Developer Simon Støvring also commented, saying “With Apple’s recent changes to ads on the App Store, your product pages may now show ads for gambling apps. One of my product pages just did that.’
With Apple’s recent changes to ads on the App Store, your product pages may now show ads for gambling apps. One of my product pages just did that 😞 pic.twitter.com/CjbrXpajX0
— Simon B. Støvring (@simonbs) October 25, 2022
As noted by Arment, Apple provides advertisers with the choice to have their ad shown in app categories different than their own app’s category, allowing ads for gambling ads to appear in listings for unrelated apps like the podcast app Overcast.
Other developers have chimed in, with some criticizing Apple for being greedy, and moving away from iAds policies created under former CEO Steve Jobs. Apple wets its beak from the ad placements, as well as its 15% to 30% cut of in-app purchases in gambling apps.
It is really sad to me that Apple needs to start taking Casino Game Ad Money in order to make their line go up for the shareholders. When Steve introduced iAds and the whole pitch was, "These ads aren't garbage, you'll like these ads." This department shouldn't exist at all, imho https://t.co/VHOeryW5Ro
— Cabel (@cabel) October 25, 2022
Criticism has also come from other quarters, such as legal expert Florian Mueller who tweeted last week that the ads are “another means of increasing the effective app tax rate, forcing developers to buy ads on their own app pages in order to avoid that others steer customers away from there.”
Apple just sent all developers an email that "Today tab and product page campaigns start October 25." It's another means of increasing the effective app tax rate, forcing developers to buy ads on their own app pages in order to avoid that others steer customers away from there.
— Florian Mueller (@FOSSpatents) October 21, 2022