Google should not be allowed to advertise online gambling say MPs - Thursday 26th of February 2009

The MPs backed a warning by the Church of England warning that the search engines actions were irresponisible.

The motion, brought by Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said: "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 Englands 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."

A spokesman for the Church of England said: "As people are facing more financial uncertainty, the fantasy of instant wealth could become particularly attractive and the consequences of losses correspondingly serious"

Ladbrokes became the first company to take advantage after Googles rules on gambling adverts were relaxed in October. 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 licensed 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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