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British lawmakers oppose online gambling ads on Google

 A number of British Members of Parliament (MP) have questioned the move by Google to allow online gambling ads on its search engine. Backed by the Church of England, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood, was quoted: "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 allowed U.K. based and licensed online gambling companies to advertise via sponsored links back in October and the online betting firm Ladbrokes was the first to jump on the wagon. According to experts, the decision was made by the search engine giant to offset the declining revenue from advertising due to the deteriorating economy and some predict that the profit from the online gambling ads could reach well in excess of 300 million pounds.

 But many have already questioned the statement by the MPs, considering that online gambling is legal in the United Kingdom. Not only is online gambling legal in the country, but companies are also allowed to advertise on other media channels, including TV. In addition, Google is already filtering out the online gambling ads when "safe search" is selected, meaning they will not show on any search where a user has applied the Safe Search filter. Google has also made it a requirement for gambling advertisers to link to gambling charities on their home pages.

 Published on 02/13/2009

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