|The giant search engine and information site Google has extended its ban on Internet gambling advertisements in the UK to include play-for-free sites with immediate effect.|
Previously, advertisers were able to place adverts on the search engine promoting free-to-play gambling websites but this new ban covers all online gambling sites, even those where no money changes hands.
Google and Yahoo! have recently banned advertisements on pay-to-play online gambling websites in the UK but Google is the first major engine to ban all forms of online gambling advertising from its service.
Gambling websites have tried to work around this legislation in the past by advertising free sections of their sites or separating domains devoted to free gambling on search terms like ‘online gambling’, in order to generate traffic. These websites had also used this method to gain details from users and manipulated this information to launch highly targeted email marketing campaigns directly to the customer, in order to entice them to sign up for pay-to play games.
'Google has always prohibited the advertising of things like bingo, poker and online casinos,” said a spokesperson for Google. “However, having looked at this issue very carefully and considered the views of our users, we have decided to extend our policy. We will no longer take ads for sites that promote gambling related content or gambling tutorials or whose primary purpose is ‘playing for fun’, gambling or casino games of skill.”
“While we respect people's differing views on gambling and support freedom of expression, we believe that this new policy is simpler for everyone to understand and more in tune with users' wishes.”
The Google ban leaves MSN as the only one of the three major search engines to still allow the advertising of pay-to-play gambling websites in the UK.