If only I knew then what I know now.. AdSense and Gambling / Casino

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If only I knew then what I know now.. AdSense and Gambling / Casino

Well, If only I knew then what I know now, I would have sites related to Gambling / Casino with AdSense on them..

QUICK SUMMARY OF WHAT FOLLOWS, FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE HARD FACTS:
- ADSENSE + GAMBLING = OK, ALLOWED.

See, I'm a little bit lazy, so with AdSense paying good money for easy work, I never really got into affiliate programs which are against AdSense TOS or policy on content.. So no porn (and anything adult), no casino (and gambling), no drugs, no weapons, you know the story..

Well, about Casino / Gambling, for years all I knew is what Google wrote in their AdSense Tos and that was easy to understand:

Sites with Google ads may not include or link to:

- ...
- Gambling or casino-related content
- ...

Source: http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=48182

They clearly said that you cannot have content or links to content about.. Text content and links to such text content have always been the same for adsense, so no porn ads even on a page about kitten..
And when you wanted more information, you could either:
- ask on a webmaster forum where everybody would say that gambling / casino is not allowed by adsense
- ask directly to adsense and get a vague copied&pasted answer which answers none of your specific questions
- when finally they created their own adsense forum, you could ask your question there and wait until today to get a single reply. You would be ignored like 90% of the empty threads there, or if you were lucky you would get a reply from an asian (that's how people from indian & pakistan are referred to) who just happened to be on your thread and only wanting to know how to open an adsense account after being banned twice or how to register an account with a blogspot account with 6 posts (copied and pasted, possibly spinned but most likely not) about downloading cracked software or streaming bollywood movies.

So that were your options, and it was easy to reach the conclusion that anything related to casino/gambling was a big no-no for AdSense.

But yesterday I stumbled upon a (new?) page from AdSense itself giving precise examples of what they always meant by not allowing Gambling or casino-related content, including links to such content.. In fact they meant : it's allowed!

See for yourself:

Gambling content

AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with gambling or casino-related content. In other words, if your site accepts money or allows users to place bets in exchange for an opportunity to earn cash or other prizes, then Google ads may not be placed on your site.

Examples of acceptable gambling content:
- Sites with play-for-fun games, contests, sweepstakes, raffles.
- Location-based gambling sites (hotel casinos and destination travel sites).
- Sites promoting fantasy sports.
- Sites selling books, ebooks, magazines, TV shows that discuss gambling-related activities.
- Discussion forums or blogs about gambling that don’t drive traffic to online gambling sites.
- Sites selling gambling equipment.
- Sites that drive traffic to online gambling sites through referral links or advertising.

Examples of unacceptable gambling content:
- Online gambling sites, such as online casinos or online wagering sites.
- Sites that drive traffic to online gambling sites, such as through organic links.

Source: http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=105958&topi...

Yes! I know! I was VERY surprised too!

So to summarize, what you're not allowed is:
- make a gambling site or have a site which sends traffic to a gambling site directly ( that is you can't link to mygamblingsite.com but you can send traffic to mygamblingsite.com/?referrer=whoever )

So, first big news, you can indeed send traffic to gambling / casino sites, at the only condition that you use referral links or get paid to put up a casino/gambling ad on your site.

WTF!?!...

Second big news, you can make a whole site about gambling / casino, have articles on how to gamble yourself to death, sell ebooks about how to do it even faster with a proven method, sell poker tables, casino's equipment for gambling at home with your friends, and others things I have no more words or motivation to go further into...

This is a shocking news, isn't it? I'm an AdSense publisher since 2003, and thought I knew pretty well the AdSense TOS especially the part about what content (and links) is not allowed.. But obviously I was WRONG!

So, is it my fault or was it AdSense's fault? Please remember what the rules about casino / gambling content were explained before I've found this page... Sites with Google ads may not include or link to: Gambling or casino-related content

Can't be more explicit than that.. But no, in fact they meant you can't put adsense on a gambling/casino site and you can't link directly to such a site, but you can if you're just an affiliate or you are the owner but use a referral link and pretend to be an affiliate. And oh! You can also link directly to such a site if you've been paid (or whatever) to put up an ad on your site.

Please tell me I'm not the last to know about that.. What was your understanding of AdSense's position about casino/gambling related content? Did you create a site about gambling/casino and put AdSense on it?

I doubt you are allowed to post links, I suspect people are just getting away with Terms of Service violations.

Google wants to be the good guys, they put a lot of effort into coming across as the goodies and would not allow this.

Hi, I don't know if you've read my whole post, or perhaps you did but I wasn't clear enough. It is not a maybe, it is official, it is not hearsay..

My understanding is that Google does not wish to have their product associated with gambling, tobacco, firearms or pornography full stop. Part of their 'Don't be evil' approach.

In regards to a site that tells people how to play poker... I think it is a gray area. I find this: "Sites that drive traffic to online gambling sites through referral links or advertising." to be questionable. I doubt Google would accept that.

Why do you doubt? I don't know if I wasn't clear in my first post, probably, but I'm citing the sources, they're both official so there's nothing to doubt, I gave the url of the pages, so what is left to doubt about?
http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=105958&topi...

I think they've changed the rules, but I don't know since when. I mean their AdSense TOS was laconic and stayed the same, but this page of explanation makes the whole thing a lot more relax, it is quite opposite to the adsense's tos apparent strictness..

But that's ok, it doesn't mean I'm going to make a site about gambling now, but rules could be more relaxed in best reviewer for instance.. It's like with tabaco, in the past I've deleted content and users who posted about electronic cigarettes because I couldn't get a clear answer from Google. And now I've seen in another official page that anything related to quit smoking is fine, good.. But late..

Gambling ads were allowed by Google in the last 10-12 months for sure. You can disable them in the "Block ads by sensitive category" menu.

They should already have updated their AdSense TOS and remove or corrected the line about casino / gambling in their policies on content.
At the moment it is confusing, I think not many people can find the page where it is explained that you can indeed have content related to gambling.

I actually see what you mean now ... since when though?

I thought the point behind it was to not enable gambling. This is a weird move by Google. I think Larry Page is a little bit suspect personally. Google used to be a good company.

I just received the Adsense newsletter for June. They highlighted that gambling/casino ads are allowed since October 2011.

Yes they highlighted that adwords advertizers can put gambling ads in their system since october 2011, and some adsense publisher (depending on country/region) can enable this category (gambling) in their adsense account, so that ads can be displayed on relevant pages of their sites. So yes, it kind of implies that we can have content related to gambling, otherwise when would those ads be displayed in the adsense publisher network.. But still this is not so precise and clear as the page I'm talking about in the adsense help where they detail exactly what kind of sites you can do about gambling..

Here's the snippet from AdSense newsletter of june 2012:
"
Increase your earnings with gambling & betting ads

Since October 2011 it's been possible to opt in to displaying online gambling and location-based betting ads on your site, under certain conditions. Visit our Help Center to learn about those types of ads, how and when you can opt in to showing them and when they may be displayed to users.
"

In their Help Center they go on about gambling ads a little:
"
Depending on your country, you might not see all of the categories listed below on your sensitive categories page. For example, if gambling is not permitted in your country, the Gambling opt-in sensitive category is not available.
"

And some more..

"
Opt-in sensitive categories are blocked by default. Ads in this category were previously categorized as non-family safe and were not allowed on pages managed by AdSense. If you don’t mind ads from these categories showing on your pages, click the Allow button corresponding to the category.

Gambling & Betting: Includes online gambling and location-based gambling. Please note that these ads will only be shown to users in regions where gambling is legal. A full list of these locations can be found here. Additionally, due to local laws, we strongly recommend that publishers do not opt in to receiving gambling ads if their primary site audience is intended for individuals under 18 years of age (e.g., kids' game sites, high school education sites).

These gambling-related categories are already allowed on the Google Display Network except where disallowed by law:

Financial spreadbetting
Competitions/sweepstakes
Location-based gambling
Fantasy sports
Offline gambling accessories

These gambling-related categories will potentially be allowed to run on your site when you opt in, depending on your country and the country in which the end-user is viewing your pages:

Bingo
Lotteries
Online casino games
Tips, odds and handicapping
Education/supplemental materials
Bonus codes
Sports Betting

These countries are lottery-only:

Russia
Slovenia
Poland

Many other specific restrictions apply to a number of countries based on their legal requirements.
"

So anyway, all this seems pretty recent, so finally if I knew then what I know now it wouldn't have changed a thing :-)

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Hey there Colin boy... why the hate for Indians brah? I've seen your cheap potshots on those poor fellas on DP as well... lose the hate and rake the money in....50,000 of them died fighting for old blighty in WW2, not to mention the wholesale looting that went on for ages courtesy your gray empire....For a guy who writes decent articles, its quite unfitting - this prejudice. Leave those poor saps alone... (Did one of them people sell you a bad suit in Pattaya?) Anyways... your site is a decent read, but kick the quality up a notch brah - stick to the nitty gritty.... peace

Hi and thank you for taking the time to give me your remarks on if I hate or love the indians. Why should one care? Is there a mission to exterminate hate? The prejudice about indians and pakistanese online is very well deserved. As any webmaster who has seen changes in this past decade. On DP for instance they are less than 10% of the membership and traffic and yet they are 90% of the crap posts.
If you enjoy diversity it's fine, but everyone is entitled to their opinions about prejudice, especially online where all the spam about SEO services comes from there, it's a lot of people and a lot of spam.

As for your remarks on everything else, well like always it is interesting to know, thank you. Personally I prefer not ask for someone else opinion on my writings or the level of quality of anything, because it is probably bad and it doesn't matter anyway, so when someone gives it, well it's his problem who is interested in it.

Anyway thanks for everything and long live the indians!

I personally never wanted to put my ads on any kind of sites like that for fear of exactly that...of being banned!! It is interesting to know that you can certainly place them on those sites and still make google adsense money! I thank you for all the work and research you have done regarding adsense. It really hopes alot of us out there I am sure! Especially myself!

Hi, you're welcome it is my pleasure if this can help you since it's my hobby and as such I don't have anything better to do, it's no big deal at all :-)

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