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Google will make a major about-turn tomorrow by lifting restrictions on paid search gambling terms in the UK

Google will make a major about-turn tomorrow by lifting restrictions on paid search gambling terms in the UK.

The search giant is to allow all licensed UK gambling and gaming companies to run AdWords campaigns for the first time since June 2007.

Furthermore, gambling and gaming companies within the European Economic Area licensed by their relevant authorities will also be allowed to run UK campaigns.

The volte face comes 16 months after the search giant enforced a blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising on AdWords, such as for bingo, casino and play-for-fun sites.

The initial ban was enforced as part of a company-wide, global move Google said at the time, but now the company's industry head James Cashmore said it was ensuring that local markets were served in the appropriate manner.

"Dennis Woodside (Google VP and MD for UK, Benelux & Ireland) and the team have been reviewing policies both from a legal and user need point of view at a local level," he said. "I definitely think that local markets will make more decisions in the future."

Google was initially criticised by gaming and gambling companies for not providing them with evidence that its users wanted the ban to be enforced.

Cashmore said Google had been reviewing the policy for almost a year, denying that the current economic climate had forced its hand.

"This is not a decision that's been made quickly; it's been something that's been under discussion for months."

Cashmore added that it had consulted with advertisers and the Gambling Commission as part of its review.

The move is set to see millions of pounds return to AdWords from gaming and gambling companies.

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Published 16 October, 2008 by NMA Staff

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