YouTube Introduces New Tools for Hiding Gambling and Alcohol Ads

  • Users can choose to limit ads within their account settings
  • The new tool will launch in the United States first before rolling out worldwide in 2021
  • Google Ads will also implement the tool to cut down on gambling and alcohol ads
YouTube home page closeup
YouTube is providing new consumer controls for hiding ads centered on gambling and alcohol. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Consumer controls

YouTube is providing new tool settings to allow users to hide gambling and alcohol advertisements. Users provided feedback to the company stating they preferred limitations on ads in certain categories. Over the past few years, advertising for online gambling has increased, leading to concerns of its effects on young people.

does not guarantee that all the ads will be removed

The new feature does not guarantee that all the ads will be removed. It will, however, cut down on the number of advertisements that users will see in the gambling and alcohol categories.

Account settings customization

The new option will be located alongside an existing feature where users can adjust personalized advertisements within their account. Users can choose whether they want to use the feature to shut off gambling and alcohol ads.

Google will introduce the tool on YouTube in the United States first and then roll it out on YouTube and Google Ads globally in 2021.

Ad impressions related to gambling sites have increased by more than 50% worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tool will help cut down exposure.

YouTube Vice President Debbie Weinstein commented in a recent blog post that the company is launching the new control in an account’s advertisement settings to enable users to see fewer alcohol ads, referring to gambling “an additional option.”

YouTube will not change in countries where such ads are already restricted.

Applying to Google Ads

As mentioned, Google has also will also apply the new restriction tool to Google Ads next year. Google Ads currently runs a sizeable portion of the digital advertising market. Most ads are contextual, so they relate to content viewed on websites that use Google advertisements and sell space to advertisers.

The change to Google Ads comes just a few months after US residents filed federal lawsuits against Apple and Google connected to free-to-play gambling in Alabama. A player in Connecticut also sued Apple for allowing similar games in the App Store.

lawsuit claims this is a form of online gambling

In the Alabama case, the plaintiffs claimed they downloaded free-to-play apps that provided free coins for playing casino games. When the free coins run out, players can use real money to buy more coins, which is what the plaintiffs did. The lawsuit claims this is a form of online gambling, which is illegal in Alabama.

Italian regulator fines Google

Italian communications regulatory agency Autorita per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AgCOM) announced back in October that Google Ireland Limited violated the Dignity Decree prohibition associated with gambling advertising. The company reportedly had to pay a fine of €100,000 ($118,250).

According to AgCOM, Google.com allowed a paid advertisement linked to sublimecasino.com, a France-facing gambling site, to appear in search results. The regulator issued the fine just one month after announcing three Google companies were under investigation for allegedly violating gambling ad bans.