Ladbrokes first to take opportunity offered by Google

LONDON - Ladbrokes became the first gambling brand listed on Google today, following yesterday's decision by the search giant to lift its ban on paid search advertising for gambling websites in England, Wales and Scotland.

Ladbrokes first to take opportunity offered by Google
Ladbrokes first to take opportunity offered by Google

In a decisive move by Ladbrokes' digital agency, TBG London, the brand seems to have emerged as an early winner in the keyword rush predicted by agencies.

The incremental revenue will be of value to Google in the current climate. Guy Phillipson, chief executive of IAB, said: "In the case of any tailing off from markets that have matured or suffered from the downturn, it will be useful to have one coming up on the rails like this."

Duncan Parry, chief solutions officer at digital agency Steak Media Group, added: "You only have to look at Google Trends for gambling keywords to know how much UK consumers want to gamble online and are using search engines to find gambling sites - even if there weren't paid search gambling ads on Google."

However, Grant Whiteside, technical director of online marketing agency Ambergreen, warned the Google news would "spark a colossal scramble for positions by all the big brands and the sector will again become the most competitive area online".

He added: "The next few days will be an interesting time for market share and costs are likely to quickly spiral out of control. These will be ruthless times. With no brand protection, the Wild West will have nothing on this."

Parry suggested there might be a rise in the popularity of online gambling as consumers stay in to avoid expensive nights out, and with finance companies spending less as a result of the economic downturn, Google will be relying on this to keep their revenues high.

Google has not announced any further plans to review the policy outside of the UK, although Whiteside believes it is only a matter of time: "As soon as the US election is out of the way, I can see this U-turn by Google hitting stateside."

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