Google Drops the Gambling Ad Ban—Now?

Lee R. - November 1, 2019
Google Drops the Gambling Ad Ban—Now?

America's biggest brand is allowing gaming advertising and affirming a new policy stance in the process.

Until now, Google has famously maintained a policy of no gambling ads, setting a huge influence precedent for all who rely on Google policy for their advertising approach and even compliance.

Shifting Policy

Now, a sea change in approach has huge implications for gaming—namely the lifting of the Google ban on gambling which takes effect as early as next year 2020. But the sea change may be more of a delta.

Gaming Ads Permitted

For the first time, online casinos will advertise their games and brands on the dominant Google search engine in the US, as part of a greater initiative on Google owner Alphabet Inc.'s part to adapt advertising policies to new gambling and betting laws being passed across the US.

First States

The updated advertising rules and policy will first be applied to the introduction of sports betting ads in the Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana and Montana—all states where sports betting has been legalised by state authorities since the lifting of PASPA.

First Countries

The shift then crosses global borders, with Google further confirming plans lift the ban on sports betting ad content in Kenya, Colombia and Nigeria.

Google's Recent Policy Map

Many see this as an extreme post-PASPA shift on the part of Google. Barely two months ago in August, Google Industry Head of Financial Trading and eGaming Chris Harrison asserted his organisation was committed to continuing as a tech-company uninterested in the present or future in providing casino games.

Signs of Change

The crack in the affirmation was Harrison's acknowledgment of Google's ongoing challenge to update advertising policies to reflect whatever jurisdiction or industry regularly making use of Google services and pages for advertisement, and the particularly pressing struggle to keep up with ever-changing state gambling regulations.

Google's Sensitivity

Harrison claims the new change is actually an extension of an ongoing process of introduction of online gambling advertising on a state by state basis based on organisational consideration of the general opinions regarding gambling and online gambling to reflect the attitudes of each respective state.

How Dramatic is the Change?

To many non-industry professionals and audiences, the shift may seem dramatic, but to any keen eye in the gaming industry, the formal announcement of the shift in policy was the culmination of a trend.

The first visible crack in policy came two years ago, when Google started making real-money gambling applications available in its Google Play Store in selected countries worldwide.

Then, last August of 2019, Google issued permission for advertising daily fantasy sports (DFS) in US states where licensed gambling companies already offered DFS.

Outlook: Sign of the Times

The magnitude of the Google brand often creates the illusion of a jurisdiction unto itself, but this new “shift” in policy ultimately can be seen merely as a common corporate reaction to the changing business environments they are operating in.



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