YouTube users will be able to opt of seeing gambling and alcohol-related adverts if they do not wish to see them, using a new set of tools that will be hopefully rolled out in the early part of 2021 in the UK by Google.
Google’s Statement on YouTube
Google has said that they are responding to feedback from their user base that were concerned by the number of adverts they were seeing for alcohol and gambling, both on YouTube and third-party sites via Google Ads. It is already possible to change the adverts using personalised adverts, which is based on what a user searches for, this is done via Google’s Ad settings function. This, however, has the caveat that the majority of the ads that people are seeing are contextual, which means that they are linked to the content that people are looking at whether that is on YouTube or on websites that use Google Ads to sell space to advertisers. This led to many online casinos, for example, appearing on news articles that are about problem gambling.
From this year in the USA and early in 2021 in the UK and the rest of the world, Google will make it easier for people to avoid these kinds of adverts. This will be also done via the Google Ad Settings tool. This is not a 100% guarantee that it will filter out all of the gambling and alcohol-related adverts, but Google is confident that it will exclude a majority of these adverts that are seen on YouTube or on sites that use Google Ads.
Industry Response To The Changes
This move comes after lengthy talks with the alcoholic drinks industry. Henry Ashworth, the Chief Executive of the industry-led International Alliance for Responsible Drinking said: “Our members are determined to give people greater control over whether they see alcohol-related marketing online. Respecting these personal preferences and recognising differences in culture requires sensitivity and action, that’s why we hope this partnership is the start of a bigger movement.”
A spokesperson for the UK’s gambling lobby group. the Betting and Gaming Council said: “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.”
This isn’t the first time that gambling has been in the news. UK betting firms agreed in 2019 to stop showing television adverts during live sports matches, due to concerns that they were making an impression on young children and vulnerable people. We have also looked at how football’s relationship with gambling has developed over the last few years and found some interesting things out as well.