YouTube banishes gambling ads from its masthead slot

The rules concerning political, gambling, gambling and prescription drug ads also apply to the YouTube mobile app. ― Shutterstock pic via ETX Studio

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 ― With the Euro 2021 football tournament in full swing, the video-streaming platform will no longer be promoting sports betting and gambling in its most prominent ad slot. A surprising move, perhaps, that also applies to political and alcohol-related ads.

Internet users will no longer see ads for sports betting and casinos on the YouTube homepage. The American giant has announced that it will no longer allow advertisers to purchase the ad space at the top of its homepage for content promoting gambling, but also political content, relating to various elections and candidates, or to the sale of alcohol or informational ads about alcoholic drinks. These new prohibited categories, listed on Google’s page of ad requirements for YouTube, also encompass advertising for prescription drugs. “YouTube masthead ads are the ads that YouTube users see at the top of the YouTube homepage. This type of ad is the most prominent Google advertising placement available to advertisers,” explains the firm.

A way to avoid future controversy?

The decision may be justified by the promise of a better use experience, but it above all comes after months of criticism. As The Verge recalls, former US President Donald Trump caused outrage after buying ― albeit legally ― this prominent advertising space on the YouTube homepage for three days during the US presidential elections in November 2020.

However, YouTube nevertheless warns that this kind of advertising could still be found elsewhere across Google: “The YouTube masthead ad content requirements may be more restrictive than the ad requirements for other platforms and surfaces, meaning disapproved YouTube masthead ad assets may continue to run on Google’s other owned and operated properties.” In 2020, Google had already announced limits on the number of ads for alcohol and sports betting. ― ETX Studio