Google to Let YouTube Users Turn Off Gambling Ads
Google is set to give YouTube users the ability to opt out of most gambling and alcohol ads with new tools due to be rolled out in the UK next year.
The move is the result of feedback from users who were concerned about the number of gambling and alcohol adverts they were seeing online, both on YouTube and on other websites. At present users can adjust the content of personalized adverts, but most adverts are “contextual”, which means that they are linked to the content being watched on YouTube. As a result, it is possible that adverts for online casinos are shown together with videos and articles about gambling addiction.
The new tools will be available in the US this year, but they do not guarantee to remove 100% of gambling and alcohol adverts. Nonetheless, Google is confident that they will remove the vast majority of adverts, both on YouTube and on sites that use Google Ads.
Google has held extended talks with the alcoholic drinks industry about this issue. The chief executive of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, Henry Ashworth, said, “Our members are determined to give people greater control over whether they see alcohol-related marketing online. Respecting these personal preferences and recognizing differences in culture requires sensitivity and action, that’s why we hope this partnership is the start of a bigger movement.”
According to Google, people who are in countries where gambling and/or alcohol adverts are already banned will see no change in their settings.
We have previously urged Google and other tech platforms to provide the option to stop seeing gambling adverts. We welcome this step in the right direction and hope to see it launch in the UK very soon.
Last year, UK gambling firms agreed to stop paying for television time during live sporting events due to concerns that children were being inundated with gambling adverts. However, most of the gambling advertising takes place online. Figures from 2017 show that £234 million was spent on television out of a total marketing budget of £1.5 billion.