With effect from 17th October, Google has decided to change their policy regarding paid search advertising for gaming and gambling sites in U.K.
This comes as a sudden change after they had issued a ban on paid search advertising for gambling sites about 16 months ago. The ban will however continue in Northern Ireland and outside U.K.
Previously, online gaming sites including Bingo and Betting shops were not allowed to advertise on AdWords, but that has changed now, and it is very likely that these sites will make a dash to get themselves registered with Google in an attempt to cash in on this new avenue now available to them. They will however have to go through all the correct licensing procedures before they can advertise on Google.
This is a very lucrative move for Google, with millions of pounds expected to come their way through this channel.
It is very likely that the policy change has been effected keeping the current financial crisis in mind. However, Google insists that they have been reviewing their policy for almost a year, and have also consulted with the Gambling commission on this issue, and the timing is just a coincidence. Google’s industry head James Cashmore says, “this is not a decision thatâ€™s been made quickly; its been something thatâ€™s been under discussion for months.”
Google has also decided to classify gambling ads under the non-family safe category, and hence they will be automatically blocked for users that have turned on the safe search option.
This change of policy could be bad news for Google competitors Yahoo! and Microsoft, who have picked up most of the ad spend that Google turned away in the past. Advertisers may now move away from these search engines and return to the more popular Google.