Google Ads and Gambling Sites - the Facts

Google has updated its basic rules for accepting ads for the Grande Vegas online casino, land-based casinos and other gambling businesses on their advertising networks. These rules cover land-based casinos, fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports, online casino betting and other gaming sites and venues. The rules take into account gaming apps, social media betting and the ways that laws and regulations differ from one region/country/state/province to the next.   

Google’s advertising network complies with both its own standards and with the standards of the different regions in which it operates.

Support

Google’s policy is to abide by local gambling laws and industry standards in its support of gambling activities. However, Google doesn’t allow certain kinds of gambling-related advertising. Advertisements for gambling ads are allowed on the Google AdWorks network if they comply with basic policies.

Google also requires the advertiser to receive an appropriate Google Ads certification. 

In short, Google requires that gambling ads have a landing page that displays information about responsible gambling, target only approved countries and never target minors. Advertisers can identify the local regulations for the areas that they want to target by checking out the posted rules on the targeted region’s Gaming Control Board.

Examples of gaming-related content that are allowed under certain conditions include: 

Land-Based Casino Gambling

Promoting brick-and-mortar establishments and activities, (Las Vegas casinos, French Riviera casinos, entertainment event at casinos, poker tournaments, streaming videos of events, etc. require Google Certification in order to advertise the activity or event.

If an online gambling venue wants to advertise online gaming or an offshore casino site they must be certified by Google. This applies to online bookmaker or casinos, bingo, slots apps or sites, online scratch card or lottery ticket purchases, games played with items that have real-world value or virtual currencies and online sports betting sites.

To register gambling related promotional products such as games, bonus codes, vouchers, educational materials (ebooks or books), tips, odds, handicapping and other types of gambling materials, the advertiser must be registered with the Gambling Commission or Control Board of the targeted region and must be able to provide a valid operating license number.

Once that certification has been obtained the operator or advertiser can apply for Google certification at Google's online site for this purpose.  

Online gambling

This also includes promotions of sites that link to or contain content that relates to online gambling. Such content or links might include promotional products such as bonus codes or vouchers, software such as blackjack odds calculators, educational materials, information such as odds, handicapping, tips, sports picks; aggregators and affiliate sites that promote content that relates to gambling.

Social Gambling

As of February 2018 the requirements for obtaining a certificate to promote online gaming venues were also applied to social casino games beta. According to Google guidelines, online gambling regulations now include advertising for games played with virtual currencies or for items that have real-world value.

Google terms any internet-based game in which money or items of value are wagered in exchange for the opportunity to win prizes/money based on the outcome of the game – i.e. an online casino game. Such games include online game tournaments (chess, poker, etc), fantasy sports, "match-three" video games, and more.

Google allows social casino game ads if they comply with Google advertising policies. The advertiser must obtain the relevant Google Ads certification. Social casino game ads may not target or appeal to minors and must target approved countries only. Marketers are advised to check local regulations for the areas that they want to target.

Social casino games are defined as online simulated gambling games. These games offer no opportunity for the winner to collect anything of value for the payout.

Google disallows the following for social casino game ads and destination:

  • Promotions of "real money gambling" sites -- gambling-related advertisements that appear on your social casino games destination.
  • Situations in which the opportunity exists to win prizes, including real money prizes, based on the outcome of the game.

In Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and in the United States, Google allows social casino game ads if: 

  • The advertiser is the operator; not an aggregator or an affiliate of social casino games.
  • The advertiser holds a valid local license for distribution of their games in that country.
  • Advertisers are certified by Google.

In Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and in Vietnam:

  • The advertiser is the operator – not an aggregator or an affiliate -- of social casino games.
  • The advertiser is certified by Google.
  • Ads, apps and sites don’t use real money gambling marks, names or logos.
  • The advertiser holds a valid local license for distribution of their games in that country. 

Country/State/Province Restrictions

Advertising campaigns for gambling sites are not allowed by Google to target regions where such activity is disallowed.

Certification Requirements

Advertisers who want to obtain a certificate must start by checking out the policies and country-specific requirements and confirm that they meet those requirements.

  • Privately-licensed operators, operating in a country where Google permits online gambling content can start by filling out the online gambling application form found in the Google Ads Help Center.
  • Operators running social casino games will be asked to submit the form, the website URL or app, the name of the country that’s being targeted and the Google Ads customer ID. A separate application will be requested for each country being targeted. 

Running Ads

Once approved, Google Ads for  gambling sites can appear on the following platforms:

  • Google Ads
  • Google Display Network -- partner sites that have opted-in to show such content
  • YouTube
  • AdMob

Google Ad Manager and the Ad Network do not run gambling ads.

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