oogle and Yahoo! have both 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 their service, including those where no money is needed to play games. Such change is due to be implemented immediately.
In the past, gambling websites have tried to work around this legislation 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. Now, these sites will no longer be visible.
Gambling websites have previously used this method to gain details from a user and manipulate 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.
A Google spokesperson detailed the changes in a statement released today: "Google has always prohibited the advertising of things like bingo, poker and online casinos. 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”.
Then he added: "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."
This leaves MSN as the only one of the three major search engines still allowing advertising for pay-to-play gambling websites in the UK.