Apple has removed 25,000 illegal gambling and lottery apps from the iOS App Store in China, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

It came after CCTV and other state-run media outlets repeatedly criticized Apple over the course of a month for not doing enough to filter illegal content. It began after users reported they had been bombarded with gambling spam through iMessage, before state media turned their eye on the apps.

The crackdown began on July 31. On August 9 alone, more than 4,000 gambling-related apps were wiped to comply with regulations, the broadcaster said, but those are numbers Apple has not confirmed.

“We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store,” Apple said in a statement today, according to the South China Morning Post. “And we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store.”

“Apple established the rules for allowing apps onto its store, but it did not follow them, which has resulted in a proliferation of fake lottery apps and gambling apps,” CCTV said. (Picture: CCTV)

On July 31, CCTV ran a news segment about a “Mr. Mu”, who lost 120,000 yuan (US$ 17,670) on a lottery app that he downloaded from the Apple Store. The app was not made by an official lottery outlet, as it claimed to be.

The state broadcaster ran a repackage of the segment again yesterday, adding that even though Apple has removed the apps from the App Store, many of the downloaded apps are working normally.

Gambling is illegal in China, and so is buying lottery tickets online -- the government only allows people to buy from two state-run lottery institutions’ offline stores.