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MPs challenge Google’s decision to allow gambling advertising in the UK

February 16, 2009 2009

Google’s decision to allow gambling advertising is being challenged in the UK. An early day motion calling for Google to stop advertising online gambling firms gained the signatures of 40 MPs.

The motion, brought today by Kahlid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, questioned Google’s decision to reintroduce gambling ads and calls on the search giant to review its policy.

The early day motion was as follows: “This house notes with concern the recent decision of Google to reintroduce online gambilng 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.”

Speculation of the amount of revenues Google can generate gambling companies paying for sponsored listings range from £100 million to £300m.

James Cashmore, industry leader at Google UK, said: “Following a thorough policy review last year, we believe that allowing search ads for gambling in Great Britain is consistent with local business practices. We have, however, taken steps to ensure only properly licenced gambling businesses can advertise on Google, and these ads will automatically be classified as ‘Non-Family Safe’, meaning they will not show on any search where a user has applied the Safe Search filter. Advertisers must also display links to a gambling charity – like GamCare, or Gamble aware – on their websites.”

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