YouTube Will Now Allow Users To Block Gambling And Alcohol Ads

The Wild West of gambling advertising in America is being tamed, albeit slightly, by Google.

Effective immediately, YouTube users in the United States will be able to opt out from seeing most gambling (or alcohol) ads on the videos they watch. And by spring, Google plans on rolling out this feature across its entire Google Ads platform, both here and abroad.

We’ve long had features like ‘mute this ad,’ where people can indicate which ads they’d rather not see,” wrote the vice president of YouTube and Google Video Global Solutions, Debbie Weinstein, on the company blog Dec. 10. “These controls live alongside our policies which determine when and where gambling and alcohol ads can be shown per local laws (e.g. age restrictions). This new feature is an extra step, putting choice in the user’s hands and enabling you to further control your ad experience. With a click of a button, you can choose to see fewer gambling and alcohol ads. It is also reversible; should you change your mind, you can click to see such ads again.”

This change comes as the online gambling advertising market has been booming in America and abroad, particularly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, the online gambling market was $58.96 billion, according to a Business Research Company report. The group expects that number to balloon to nearly $92 billion by 2023, and over $113 billion by 2025.

While it’s unknown what the financial impact of Google’s decision will be, clearly users would have to actively seek to have these ads limited.

Numerous guidelines to advertise

As it stands now, gambling operators must meet strict guidelines to be able to use the Google Ads platform. For starters, they must have the proper Google Ads certification, be aware of which countries they can advertise in, and have a landing page that shows information about responsible gambling.

Previous to this change, users were able to block specific ads, but this is the first time whole industries are able to be nearly whitewashed from the platform.

Alcohol and gambling will be separate, so blocking one won’t block the other.

“We believe this new feature is an important step in user choice and control,” Weinstein wrote. “We’ll continue to improve our controls; and as our products and people’s expectations of them evolve, so will the features we make available to personalize ad experiences.”

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