GamblingGoogle has announced that it will begin beta testing Social Casino Game ads in AdWords sometime around March.  For some, this can be good, because Google has had some pretty tight restrictions on certain gaming ads.

There is a new standard sensitive ad category in AdWords, and games are now included it it, which means they’ll automatically be displayed over Google’s ad ecosystem.    Unless publishers opt out, the ads will be displayed in search, in apps via AdMob, Google Display Network and YouTube.  So what does the category cover?  In a nutshell, it covers apps or sites targeted to adult audiences, where money and prizes of value are awarded.

“Social casino games” are simulated gambling games where there is no opportunity to win anything of value (such as money or prizes). Examples include, without limitation, poker, slots, bingo, lotteries, sports betting, betting on races, as well as other card games and casino games.

In order to combat slowing growth and mobile challenges, this is Google’s way of trying to deal with the situation by opening up to a growing category of advertisers that don’t come with regulator issues that affect tradition gambling advertising.  Mobile is the leading force behind the surge in the social casino game market, and is expected to hit $4.4 billion this year.

Luckily, if you’re a publisher who isn’t real keen on displaying these ads on your site, apps or videos, you will have to opt-out of the social casino games ad category.  There is still restrictions on standard gambling ads, and they still haven’t been lifted or changed with this test.

The beta is limited. You can learn about the requirements and how to apply here.

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