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Google Opens Up to Gambling Advertising in Ontario

Operators getting ready for the launch of the regulated Ontario igaming market got a big boost this week as Google announced that it is changing its policies and will accept gambling advertisements. This is a major reversal of fortune for operators who rely on every marketing tool they can grab in the feeding frenzy that occurs when new gaming markets open up.

Google didn’t give much in the way of a reason for the change of policy, but the company has been steadily opening its advertising markets to regulated gaming operators for quite some time now. Longtime US gaming veterans will recall the many years when Google’s ad products were not available to the gambling industry at all. Google’s gambling prohibition led many operators and casino affiliates to become experts in search engine optimization and other back doors to Google’s massive audience.

But there are few conditions to Google’s Canadian gambling liberalization.

For starters, only licensed operators will be able to run gambling ads on Google’s Canadian networks. This means that casino affiliates, sport handicappers, and other unlicensed, but legitimate, members of the gaming industry are still left out in the cold.

The 16 operators licensed to serve the Ontario gambling market are certainly celebrating this big win that’s occurring right on the eve of their launch. Thanks to some quirks in the local gaming code that make promoting sign-on bonuses especially difficult.

With the weight of Google Ads behind them, Ontario’s 16 licensed operators are heading into a fierce battle for customers in what is expected to be one of North America’s biggest igaming markets.