Receptional is an award winning Digital Marketing Agency providing effective marketing services in PPC, SEO, Link Building, Social & Analytics.

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Are you prepared for the Gambling Act review?

by Justin Deaville

June 3, 2021

For anyone working in the gaming sector, the Gambling Act review overshadows 2021. In December 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) launched a review of the Gambling Act 2005, promising to publish proposed changes to the regulatory regime in a white paper in late June 2021.

Like everyone else, at Receptional, we're waiting to see what, if any, impact the review has on advertising tactics.

But one thing is for sure – there will be plenty of news coverage about the review over the coming months. If you’re promoting a gaming brand, you need to make doubly sure you know where your ads are appearing.

If you’re squeamish, look away

Here’s one example of poor placement from the Mail Online.

Apologies to anyone from SpreadEx; this is a genuine screenshot. The juxtaposition of ad and editorial speaks for itself:

Google’s ad network is incredibly far-reaching, with millions of potential placements available. Digital publications offer A LOT of reach.

So it’s important to know where your ads are appearing.

In the coming months there’s an increased risk to those not using brand safety measures rigorously: your ad will appear next to a news article like the one above.

Brand safety

At Receptional, we suggest four pillars of brand safety for the Google-based clients we work with:

  • Check your use of digital content labels: By default your ads will ‘display everywhere’. Make sure your advertising team has clear guidelines on where you want your ads to appear
  • Exclude all sensitive content: Regardless of the Gambling Act Review, you don’t want your brand appearing next to stories about tragedy and conflict
  • Check your inventory types: In this case, there’s no need to change Google’s settings. ‘Standard’ inventory will work well, providing you’re following our other guidelines
  • Add negative keywords: specifically to your display campaigns.

You can let Google know about the types of content you DON’T want your ads appearing alongside.

You do this by adding negative keywords to your campaign. Your ads won’t appear alongside content that mentions those keywords.

To help, we’ve put together a list of topical negatives.

And, with so much news around the gambling act review coming up, it’s worth adding these negatives to your display campaigns right away. Topical negatives for 2021:

  • Gambling act review call for evidence
  • Gambling act review
  • Gambling act review UK
  • Gambling legislation review
  • Gambling act 2005 review
  • Government gambling act review
  • Gambling act review consultation
  • Gambling act review DCMS
  • Review of gambling act
  • Review of gambling act 2005
  • Gambling act review terms of reference.

We suggest you take a similar approach with both Google and Facebook campaigns.

Responsible gaming messaging

Finally, a top tip for your responsible gaming messaging:

Ensure your messages are likely to display in your ads.

You can see they’re highlighted in our ad.

We suggest adding your message to the top line of your search ads (by adding them to your Path 1 and 2, for the technicians amongst you), so you’re not sacrificing relevance and increasing the cost you pay for each click.

What next?

There is much uncertainty around the outcome of the Gambling Act Review.

As marketers we want a fair and responsible regulatory regime. And, while we await the government’s white paper, we can play our part in promoting responsible gaming, while protecting our brands.

For more insights into consumer behaviour in the gaming sector, download our eBook: How to best use PPC in 2021 to acquire high-value gamers.


gaming industry
paid search
Gambling industry
regulated category
Digital Marketing