Google is the search engine that most of us turn to when we want to find out more information about a certain topic. Should you be seeking out help with problem gambling, then there’s a potential for you to utilise the engine to find details about such. Yet, a recent discovery has determined that Google may not currently be the best site to visit in search of assistance for problem gambling.
In fact, gambling addicts may end up being exposed to advertisements for online casinos, sportsbooks and more, should they choose to seek out help through Google’s search engine. The UK-based media outlet, The Independent, recently released the information that upon searching for the Gamstop self-exclusion scheme via Google, players ended up seeing casino ads, raising severe cause for concern from certain parties.
By displaying such ads, Google could very well be a catalyst that tempts such gambling addicts back to an online casino to deposit and play more, rather than to the Gamstop site to outrightly ban themselves. While The Independent did contact Google to inform the search engine of the issue, some of the advertisements for online casinos continued to be on display in the days following. Four online casinos were cited by the media outlet as being responsible for drawing vulnerable individuals back into gambling, despite the fact that such players were seeking out help for addiction.
Most of the advertisements displayed were said to lead back to casinos that based themselves out of offshore jurisdictions, including both Cyprus and Curacao. Within the ads, special offers were on display, including multiple free spins and the like. Gamstop only relates to platforms licensed within the UK though, meaning that offshore sites have the ability to maintain advertising rights, even for those suffering with problems.
Labour Member of Parliament Speaks Out
It didn’t take long for long-standing campaigner against online gambling, Carolyn Harris – a member of the Labour Party – to speak out about the controversy. She said that Google not filtering the search results in a better way was totally “immoral”. This comes only days after Ms Harris criticised a report from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, about VIP players providing most of the revenue to online casinos. That report was presented to Members of Parliament and it was also obtained by UK media outlet The Guardian.
That report suggested that some companies operating within the United Kingdom have placed far too much reliance on VIP players providing them with their income, and it is also these players who are more likely to develop a gambling addiction, according to that Commission report.
Despite the fact that Harris showed some displeasure towards Google for the Gamstop issue though, she did remark that it isn’t the search engine’s fault. Instead, she urged the company to take action against such things happening in future, stating that Google is actually the “victims of the ingenuity of companies” that are “capable of bypassing any measures” currently in place. She also went on to criticise how the gambling industry has been approaching the self-exclusion subject, questioning whether or not operators were actually willing to address that problem outrightly.