YouTube bans gambling operators from masthead ad slot

Google has stated it will no longer allow the promotion of ads related to alcohol, gambling, politics or prescription drugs on YouTube's masthead slot.
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Google has announced that it will no longer allow the promotion of ads related to alcohol, gambling, politics or prescription drugs on the masthead slot of its video-sharing platform YouTube, according to The Verge.

The category stipulations were verified by Google in an update of YouTube’s advertiser terms of service, with the restrictions being enforced with immediate effect across all operating markets.

YouTube’s masthead slot is its most prominent and expensive ad-placement position and is displayed on the homepage of the platform, ensuring maximum coverage for advertisers and their campaigns.

Tech news sources report that the category restrictions were enforced by Google following an internal review of YouTube’s policies on adult content and audience safeguards.

Last year, US Congress probed and criticised Google CEO Sundar Pichai for allowing YouTube to become a ‘platform for spreading misinformation’ with regards to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the results of the US 2020 Election.

YouTube’s new advertising restrictions will have little impact on UK-licensed operators, who last year agreed to comply with the standards and safeguards of the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, established by the Betting and Gaming Council.

Adopting new measures, UK operators ensured that all online and social media advertising target audiences aged +25 across all major digital platforms.

Specific to YouTube, betting advertisers were forced to ensure that all gambling content will be guarded by a ‘+18-verification filter’ for audiences to engage with any content.

Carrying out its second online marketing sweep, the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) remarked that UK gambling had significantly improved against other adult sectors in limiting its advertising content to children and young audiences.

Online safeguards and marketing standards will be a key advertising discipline examined by the government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act – in which DCMS has stated that all existing commercial relationships and structures will be reassessed for the benefit of consumers and to protect the public from gambling risks.