Google’s decision to allow gambling advertising is being challenged in Parliament after a group of MPs called for the company to review its policy.
The MPs, led by Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr Khalid Mahmood, launched an early-day motion questioning Google’s policy It also referenced concerns raised by religious bodies when Google overturned its ban on gambling advertising, first revealed by new media age in October (Google performs U-turn on gambling terms in the UK; nma.co.uk 16 October 2008), as well as its timing.
It stated: “This house notes with concern the recent decision of Google to reintroduce online gambling advertisements during a period of economic downturn; supports the Church of England’s position that the actions of Google risk normalising gambling in society; and calls on Google to review its policy in line with its own obligations on corporate social responsibility.”
Google said its original decision to ban gambling advertising was part of a company-wide, global move, but it’s UK retraction in October was part of an attempt to be more relevant in local markets; in the US online gambling and gaming is illegal.
However, the company has also acknowledged that clicks are slowing on its search platform. Its decision to overturn the gambling ban, alongside a subsequent opening up for spirit brands, is seen as a move to increase clicks.
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