Google Reintroduces Sponsored Gambling Ads

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Online search users in United Kingdom will be the first in the world to see sponsored gambling ads on Google search results since 2004, when it introduced a global ban on the industry. Google announced that it will accept gambling advertising from UK companies registered with the Gambling Commission and also non UK-based advertisers that are part of the European Economic Area (EEA). The extension to the EEA means that operators such as PartyGaming and 888.com, will be able to advertise on Google's PPC (Per Per Click) program. Gambling companies in the EEA can target ads at Google users in UK provided they have a license in the country where they are based. Google's decision comes after TV advertising restrictions on casinos, bookmakers and online gambling sites were lifted by the UK government last year. Google will maintain its ban on gambling related ads on the rest of its worldwide sites, but will probably use the UK market as a test for future changes in their policy. The timing of the decision has angered politicians and religious groups. A Church of England spokesman feared that Google's move, and specially in times of a financial crisis, would cause serious gambling problems for internet users. Google officials say that they have been reviewing the gambling advertising policy in UK to ensure it is consistent with local business practices.

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