New Certification Rules Lead to Surge of Poker Apps in South Korea

August 26th, 2019 | by Greg Shaun

New rules regarding the certification of “adult” content has led to a surge in poker apps going live inside South Korea’s App Store.

South Korea casino and poker apps

New certification rules have led to a surge of casino and poker apps for iOS users in South Korea. (Image: Dice Insights)

News of the move was made public on August 19 and changes came into force the following day. As per the update, the minimum age for content classified as “adult” will only be available to users aged 19 or older.

Age No Barrier for Poker Apps

The decision to apply age ratings comes as part of Apple’s efforts to protect children from seemingly inappropriate content. It also comes as part of ongoing discussions between Apple and local ministers to make more apps available online.

Apps required to hold a user rating are those that include one or more of the following:

  • Apps in the Casino subcategory.

Apps in the Games or Entertainment categories with frequent/Intense selected for at least one of the following content descriptions:

  • Simulated Gambling
  • Sexual Content or Nudity
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or Reference
  • Realistic Violence

Far from being a barrier to entry, the new laws have led to a surge in casino and poker apps.

Changes Great for Poker in Asia

Prior to the certification, developers were barred from launching certain types of iOS apps, including those that contained gambling. In fact, in 2014, the government cracked down on financial payments to social gambling apps such as Zynga Poker.

Although real money and free play apps eventually found their way onto Google Play, they remained unavailable in the Apple Store.

However, with new rating system in place, local publication The Korea Bizwire said casino and poker apps are now launching “en masse.”

NHN Entertainment Corp. was one of the first developers to market according to the news and tech website.

“We developed and prepared a game that was previously serviced on Google Play in time for the start of the app store’s adult certification,” an NHN source told The Korea Bizwire.

With poker apps starting to emerge, many more are expected to follow. Although South Korea is still a grey market for online poker operators, the recent Apple Store changes could be a positive.

As it stands, South Koreans can use overseas betting sites but there are now specific laws allowing them. However, by finding a way to regulate casino and poker apps, it suggests South Korean officials could be persuaded to introduce additional regulations.

That would not only be a positive for locals but the industry as a whole. With trouble in China and the likes of Japan still lagging behind, South Korea could take the lead in the emerging Asian market.


    Comments are closed.