iCasino? iTunes sweepstakes apps raise concerns

Apple has quietly begun allowing developers to sell sweepstakes applications for the iPhone on its iTunes Web site, games that some legal experts say may be illegal lotteries or gambling.

One of the apps, called iFiftyFifty, is what the name suggests. Players download the app for free, then have the opportunity to buy "tickets" for $1 apiece. A button on the app encourages users to buy up to 100 tickets at a time for $100. The money is immediately deducted from a users' credit or debit card, which is on file with Apple in their iTunes account. At the end of the month, a random winner receives half the money collected. Twenty percent goes to the app developers, Chicago-based graphic design firm 2Pens Media. Apple gets even more than the software’s designers - the remaining 30 percent, which is the firm's normal cut of app sales.

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