Google lifts paid search gambling ban

LONDON - Google is to lift its ban on paid search advertising for gambling websites in the UK from tomorrow - a move which could net the search giant tens of millions of pounds.

Google lifts paid search gambling ban
Google lifts paid search gambling ban

UK companies registered with the Gambling Commission will be allowed to target text-based ads to users searching for gambling-related terms in England, Scotland and Wales, although not in Northern Ireland.

After a crackdown on all online gambling ads in 2004 by the US Government, Google refused to carry search ads for gambling operations to allow consistency across all markets.

The move is expected to open up a new keywords bidding war, with companies seizing the opportunity to tap into a potentially lucrative new sales vertical.

Search agency Greenlight estimates Google could generate up to £100m in additional revenue in England, Scotland and Wales a year via the move.

Google will continue to prohibit gambling-related advertising on its properties outside the UK, although non-UK advertisers based within the European economic area wishing to target Great Britain will be allowed, provided they are licensed to advertise gambling in their respective countries.

The ads will automatically be classified as non-family safe, meaning they will not show when a user has applied the safe search option.

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