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Advancing the Ball, Take Two: Google Opens Online Gaming Advertising in Four States

Advancing the Ball, Take Two: Google Opens Online Gaming Advertising in Four States

December 16, 2019

Advancing the Ball, Take Two: Google Opens Online Gaming Advertising in Four States

By: Nicole Kardell

Google will revise its advertising policies to allow ads for online casinos in several states where online gaming is legal and regulated. Notice of the change is posted on Google’s support forum which states that the revision will happen this month: “In December 2019, Google will update the Gambling and games policy to allow state-licensed entities to promote online casinos in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.”

But hold your horses, so to speak, as it doesn’t appear to have happened just yet. As of the date of this post, the current Gambling Country Restrictions provide the following allowances only: “Google allows ads promoting the following types of online gambling by state-licensed entities: Sports betting in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia (see beta page for details).” Nonetheless, sometime soon online casino advertisers in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will be able to publicize online gaming through Google Ads.

We wrote about these Google Ads developments in October. And we are delighted to report that Google is living up to its earlier pronouncements that it will open up advertising for online casinos in jurisdictions where the business is legal and regulated. Advertisers still will need to apply for certification, but that is a small hurdle compared to the prior wall dividing casino advertisers from the public. As news sources have reported, Google’s update will also include advancement of Google’s U.S. Sports Betting beta plan.

These developments demonstrate the growing acceptance of online gaming and sports betting. And as we’ve said in the past, Google’s move to open up advertising will help to support legally operating businesses. Casinos that invested significant sums to get up and running in states where online gaming is regulated were hamstrung by Google’s prior advertising ban. The ban had the effect of benefiting well-known, unregulated, offshore outfits. Google’s policy changes support responsible, legal, and compliant operations. Now those casinos have the opportunity to get the word out and to meet public demand.

We think the next step that Google should consider is allowing advertising in states that neighbor legal and regulated online gaming jurisdictions. The rationale?: It is an easy revision and it only helps to support those businesses (and Google Ads) by attracting customers into the states where they can play online. Geofencing will prevent player abuse. Would-be players in New York, for instance, will be encouraged to take a trip to New Jersey to set up an online account and play while within jurisdictional boundaries. Then they can trek back to New York once their play is up.

We look forward to further advertising ban lifts as more states come online. We also hope that Google will consider modifying its policies for common sense measures like the neighbor-state ban lift we suggest here. Google would benefit, regulated casinos would benefit, and players would be encouraged toward regulated gaming opportunities.

Nicole Kardell

Nicole Kardell

Nicole is a certified privacy professional with expertise in European privacy law (CIPP/E), in particular the GDPR. She helps companies to navigate the changing face of privacy regulations and to keep their business practices and partnerships in compliance with the law both domestically and abroad.

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