American search engine giant Google has relaxed its global ban on gambling advertising by allowing companies to target web users in England, Scotland and Wales for the first time since 2004.
According to a piece in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Google is now accepting gambling advertising from companies registered with the Gambling Commission from the 30 countries that make up the European Economic Area (EEA). These firms are now able to target adverts through Google at users in Great Britain excluding Northern Ireland provided that they hold a licence in the country where they are based. Recent extensions in the EEA means that a large number of operators including Gibraltar-based 888 and PartyGaming are now able to advertise.
'Over the last few months we've been reviewing our gambling advertising policy in Great Britain to ensure it is as consistent as possible with local business practices,' said James Cashmore, Industry Leader for Entertainment and Media for Google UK.
'Following the review, we've decided to amend our policy to allow text ads to appear against search queries related to gambling in Great Britain.'
Google had introduced a global ban four years ago and, as a precautionary measure, has now classified all gambling adverts as ‘non-family safe’, which means they will not be displayed on any search where the user has applied a filter.
Google does not allow advertising for products such as miracle cures, anabolic steroids, unacceptable alcohol products, fireworks and academic aids for cheating but changed its policy against religious groups running campaigns on the subject of abortion after an out of court settlement with the Christian Institute.