The Complicated World of Social Media Gambling Policies

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Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) recently updated pages regarding its policies for the marketing of iGaming products. While the policies themselves aren’t new, the company apparently felt the need to emphasize them in light of the ever-growing popularity of online gambling – both regulated and not.

Facebook requires such companies to obtain its written permission before advertising their products on the platform.

Potential online gambling advertisers must request permission for the specific URLs that they intend to advertise, and geographic territory they intend to target. If granted, authorization is limited to those specific URLs and territories, and applies only to the Facebook ad accounts listed in the application.

Unsurprisingly, the policy states that under no circumstances may such ads target anyone under 18 years of age. However, it doesn’t cover retail gambling, which is a matter for local regulators.

With Facebook’s page updates having made headlines last week, it seems like a good time for a refresher on what policies have been implemented by other, similar platforms.

Instagram Gambling Policy

Instagram is an easy one. As a Meta subsidiary, Instagram’s policy on gambling ads is identical to Facebook’s, requiring written permission.

Netflix Gambling Policy

Last September, in announcing plans for a new ad-supported tier of service, Netflix explicitly stated that, initially at least, no gambling, crypto or political advertising would appear on the platform.

Apple App Store Gambling Policy

More recently, at the end of October 2022, Apple halted App Store gambling ads. It had recently increased the overall number of ads displayed in the App Store. However, a proliferation of gambling apps and inappropriately-placed ads caused uproar from iPhone users and developers. The policy update came as a response to that backlash.

Google Ads Gambling Policy

To promote online gambling via Google, an advertiser must apply for and receive certification from Google. In addition to these requirements, would-be advertisers must ensure compliance with geographic restrictions.

These restrictions apply to more than just the online gambling sites themselves. Types of advertising that fall under Google’s policy include:

  • Real-money online gambling, including casinos, sportsbooks, bingo, poker, lottery retailers and couriers, etc.
  • Any games using virtual currencies or items with real-world value
  • Sites featuring content related to online gambling, such as Bonus
  • Social casino games, even those with no real money at stake

Twitch Gambling Policy

This game-streaming faced contoversy over influencers promoting and live-streaming real money gaming activities. It was particularly popular for unregulated sites offering cryptocurrency-based gaming. As a result, it recently updated its policy on gambling content to:

… prohibit streaming of gambling sites that include slots roulette or dice games that aren’t licenced either in the US or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.

Although Twitch has done away with both real money and “crypto-casinos,” it considers other forms of gambling more acceptable:

We will continue to allow websites to focus on sports betting, fantasy sports and poker.

Twitter Gambling Policy

Twitter has been giving off some serious “Wild West” energy since its takeover by Elon Musk. As a result, we shouldn’t assume that Twitter’s current policies are written in stone.

For the time being, at least, the company’s stance is to prohibit all promotion of gambling except for “campaigns targeting specified countries.”

It allows such national-level ad campaigns, but with restrictions that depend on the country. Like Google, it includes affiliates, touts and other gambling content providers, and not only those companies directly involved with gambling.

However, it does does not restrict certain other gambling-adjacent products such as:

  • Hotels with a casino, where the focus is on the hotel
  • Gambling accessories, like poker chips
  • Fantasy sports news and information

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency and NFTs fall under Twitter’s Financial Products & Services Policy.

Mastodon Gambling Policy

The upheaval and uncertainty at Twitter has thrust Germany-based Mastodon into the spotlight. The developers of this alternative built it on the foundational belief that no single entity should have full control of a social media platform.

Mastodon uses a decentralized network of thousands of servers and features no paid ads at all, gambling or otherwise.

TikTok Gambling Policy

TikTok’s Advertising Polic prohibits any advertising of gambling “in general.”

This includes all real money casinos, sportsbooks and other gambling products, both retail and online. It also covers affiliate sites and other related content such as sports tips and odds calculators, plus social games with real money prizes, even when there’s no monetary outlay by the customer.

About the Author
Emile Avanessian

Emile Avanessian

Emile is a one-time banker turned freelance writer. He previously worked in equity research and as a member of the Financial Sponsors Group with Goldman Sachs, where he worked on numerous casino- and gaming-related projects. His written work has focused largely on sports (NBA basketball and European soccer) and sports betting. Emile currently also writes for Squawka and Urban Pitch. His work has also been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Blizzard, Yahoo Sports, SI.com, and ESPN.

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