Facebook recently updated its policies on wagering-related advertisements on the social media site, noting that prospective advertisers will have to request, in writing, permission to run betting ads on the platform.
Those requests must be made to Meta Platforms, which is the parent company of Facebook. The requests apply to what Meta defines as “common types of gambling,” including betting, lotteries, raffles, casino games, fantasy sports, bingo, poker, skill game tournaments and sweepstakes.
To run ads that promote online gambling and gaming, advertisers will need to request written permission from Meta using this form and provide evidence that the gambling activities are appropriately licensed by a regulator or otherwise established as lawful in territories they want to target,” according to California-based Meta. “Additionally, Meta doesn’t allow targeting for online gambling and gaming ads to people under the age of 18.”
Facebook has had some run-ins with gaming companies in the past. For example in 2029, the company cracked down on some European online gaming firms that were allegedly storing massive amounts of customer data in an effort to appeal to younger prospective bettors.
Big Tech Companies Face Slippery Slope with Gaming Industry
Companies such as Google parent Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook that have significant online advertising footprints face a balancing act when it comes to live money gaming.
Developers of social casino games are contributors to top line growth in app stores and gaming companies can and do drive online advertising revenue for tech companies. Conversely, the specter of controversy looms. For example, Alphabet, Apple and Facebook are dealing with litigation stemming from plaintiffs claiming they spent tens of thousands of dollars on in-app purchases on social casino games with no possibility of winning real money.
Last month, Apple pulled betting ads from various product pages in the App Store following an outcry among developers — many of whom are the purveyors of apps that have nothing to do with wagering. Previously, Apple sought to head off some of the controversy tied to presence of gaming content in the App Store. For example, in 2019, the company told developers of such content — even the apps where real money isn’t at stake — must be rated as appropriate only for users 17-years-old and up.
From a public relations perspective, it behooves companies such as Facebook to appear to take a hardline against nefarious gaming content and put protocols in place for legitimate companies to adhere to.
“Meta defines online gambling and gaming as any product or service where anything of monetary value is included as part of a method of entry and prize,” adds Meta. “Ads that promote online gambling and gaming are only allowed with our prior written permission. Authorized advertisers must follow all applicable laws and include targeting criteria consistent with Meta’s targeting requirements. At a minimum, ads may not be targeted to people under 18 years of age.”
Following Facebook Instructions Is Important
For operators that want to run gaming ads on Facebook, an ounce of prevention could be worth a pound of cure. In a recent blog post, Klein Moynihan Turco partner David Klein points out it’s essential to be in compliance with Facebook’s new restrictions.
“In order to feature ads that promote online gambling and gaming, advertisers now need to request prior written permission from Meta to do so. The request must include evidence that the subject gambling and/or gaming activities are duly licensed by regulators or otherwise lawful in the geographic locations or territories that they target,” wrote Klein.
He adds that complying with Facebook’s gaming advertising limitations may initially appear easy, but it’s actually complex, indicating the assistance of legal counsel is an important consideration.
“As such, businesses should seek counsel before running any contest promotion to avoid potential social media, regulatory and legal challenges,” concluded Klein.
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