Google is now allowing AdSense publishers to opt in to display certain types of gambling ads in some geographic locations. In 2008, the company loosened some of its restrictions on gambling ads in search. The latest change takes place tomorrow, September 27.
“In response to advertiser and publisher feedback, we’ve expanded the types of ads available to AdSense publishers to include some gambling-related topics,” said a Google spokesperson. “Publishers control whether these ads can show on their site — if a publisher does nothing, they will not appear — and advertisers are required to comply with our ad policies.”
AdSense publisher Ed Shahzade first tipped Search Engine Land to the news after receiving an e-mail from Google about the change.
Google is allowing advertising of online scratch games run by state, national or Indian reservations and national or state lotteries. It also will allow the advertising of “bricks and mortar” gambling locations and fantasy sports contests.
Unacceptable types of ads are those that promote gambling, sports betting or casino games, for gambling software or for lotteries or scratch games that are not run by national or state officials. Gambling-related tutoring, books, vouchers or promos are also unacceptable. See Google’s FAQ item for advertisers for more information, including country-specific restrictions and allowances.
Generally speaking, Google’s gambling-related restrictions cover practices that are not legal in the jurisdictions that ads are targeted to. Additionally, gambling ads won’t be allowed on sites whose audiences are primarily under the age of 18, regardless of country.
While eager to capitalize on advertising from clearly legal things like state or national lotteries, the company is trying to tread lightly and apparently is now more confident in its abilities to police acceptable versus unacceptable types of ads. Google, along with Microsoft and Yahoo, in 2007 paid a substantial fine for accepting and displaying online gambling ads. (Google’s struggles in the gambling arena somewhat mirror its difficulties in the pharmaceutical space.)