Featured in this article:
  • Google hooks advertizing of gambling in Florida
  • Uncertainty over Florida's direction in online gambling
  • Casinos generate $1.56bn tax revenues each year

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Google has banned gambling ads in Florida as a court considers the latest legal landscape of the state

Google has pulled online gambling advertisements in Florida, in reaction to a court order that could have major ramifications on how gambling and online sports betting is promoted in the state.

Betting companies and casinos are currently waiting on a court decision regarding an amended piece of legislation that gives the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to sports betting in the state. 

District of Columbia US District judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the Florida-Seminole Tribal Gaming Compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) – primarily because it promotes gaming outside of tribal property.

There are 15 casinos across Florida generating $1.56bn in tax, yet currently casinos cannot operate a remote gaming (online) licence. 

The court decision means the fate of sports betting in Florida is still unclear. As GambleOnline revealed earlier this month, it is likely Judge Friedrich’s ruling will be stayed pending resolution of the appeal. Once a stay is issued, the Tribe could take wagers again. Litigation may take years to resolve and during that time, betting could remain live.

Yet Google is not taking any chances over possible breaches of the law, and has pulled all gambling advertisements in the state.

How Google Bans Gambling Ads

Google is not hanging around to wait on a further court decision and has immediately hooked specific ads. Any existing or planned gambling commercials will have abide by the company’s rules with immediate effect.

That means any breaches of these company rules could lead to businesses having their Google Ads accounts suspended.

The result is that Floridians won’t be able to see online gambling, sports betting or other types of casino commercials on any Google Ads format when they browse the internet.

This includes advertising on Gmail and shopping pages.

Google Wary Of Gambling Laws

The reason for Google’s swift move on Florida is not just to keep on the right side of the law.

Online gambling advertising is spreading across the US as states relax their laws and permit casino and sports wagering. It is a major untapped source of revenues for Google because sportsbooks and online casinos are willing to pay millions in advertising.

However, as we have seen in Europe, an explosion in the ‘normalization’ of gambling often leads to pushback from legislators. This is primarily instigated by concerns over who sees these ads – children and recovering problem gamblers, for example, need to be protected from this advertizing.

Google likely doesn’t want to flood the market with gambling ads that may be illegal in some states, or could be seen by minors.

Online gambling is legal in Florida for players, but it is illegal to set up, and advertize, an online gambling site. The state is currently standing by its Seminole Tribe pact but there is uncertainty over what happens next.

Therefore staying on the right side of the law is imperative – not only from a legal standpoint but also financial. Rock the boat in untested waters too soon and there could be a crackdown on advertising as a whole.

And so, it appears as though Google will sit tight on Florida for now and wait for how the Florida-Seminole Tribe situation unravels. 

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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