Gambling Ads On Google – Then v Now

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Gambling Ads On Google – Then v Now

Google imposed a “full” ban on gambling ads starting from the 1st of this month. In the past Google officially allowed ads from websites that did not require payment. So for example, any casino could lure people to their site via a free gaming portal, and then direct them to the paid site thereafter.

The old system was far from perfect, as explained in the previous article about gambling ads on Google. Google have tried to plug this loophole in their system now, by banning all advertisements related to gambling altogether. This means that even genuinely free sites can no longer advertise for any gambling related keywords. This ban even extends to bingo, play-for-fun and lottery (except official state lottery) sites.

Two weeks into the newly imposed ban, the systems seem to be just as flawed and full of loopholes as before!

A search for obvious terms like “online casino” or “poker” does not yield any sponsored results. However, searches for “play poker” or “casino” yield more sponsored link results than a user would possibly click. And in fact, now they don’t even pretend to be free sites.

Screenshot of Google search results page for

When asked about this glaring flaw in the system, a Google AdWords Account Manager said “Some ads show while they are in the queue for approval and have not yet been reviewed by our AdWords Specialists. Our AdWords Specialists review the ads showing on such search terms and disapprove where necessary. They work to removed all ads which violate our policy and suspend advertisers who repeatedly violate our policies from the AdWords programme.”

Revised AdWords gambling policy:

Google AdWords does not permit the advertisement of online gambling websites. Related content is also prohibited from ad text and keywords. This includes, but is not limited to, the promotion of:

  • online casinos and gambling activities
  • sports books
  • lotteries
  • bingo
  • poker
  • sites that provide tips, odds and handicapping
  • software facilitating online casinos and gambling
  • affiliates with the primary purpose of driving traffic to online gambling sites
  • ebooks that promote gambling-related content
  • sites where the primary purpose is ‘play for fun’ gambling
  • online gambling tutoring
  • sites where the primary purpose is gambling or casino games of skill.