On the 10th August 2020, Google announced that they had officially hired a head of US sports betting, a move that aims to fill a newly-created role that sees the tech giant looking to get a slice of the lucrative real-money gambling (RMG) app business in the United States.
The announcement revealed that Niall MacKenzie – Google’s former Senior Agency Lead – had been promoted to Head of US Betting last month. Mackenzie has been with Google for more than five and a half years and his promotion looks to be a part of Google’s next venture – this time targeting real-money gambling products to Americans, as states gradually loosen and relax laws surrounding online gambling.
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Helping Operators Publish Regulated Ads
A major part of MacKenzie’s role will see him working directly with US operators (that is, those offering Americans betting and online gambling facilities) to ensure that they meet Google’s newly-updated requirements for running RMG ad campaigns on Google.
In the past, Google has chosen to take a military-like stance when it comes to real-money gambling, with even well-regulated markets like the UK finding themselves having to adhere to strict rules imposed by the tech giant. However, now that the US has all but legalized online sports betting (and, in some states, online poker and online casinos too) it looks as though Google are keen to start cashing in.
Along with working with operators, MacKenzie will also be helping build the case for US-targeting operators to launch RMG apps on the US Google Play Store. According to reports, the first real-money apps are looking set to be launched later this year, although specific time-frames and whether the number of apps will be capped or not remains to be determined.
A Major Step In The Right Direction For US Gambling
For decades – literally – gambling in the United States has been overshadowed by draconian laws, laws which were, effectively, overturned by the US Supreme Court in a landmark decision last year. Because of this, it’s likely that we’ll see US operators following a similar approach to that taken by online gambling operators in the UK and Europe who spend a significant amount of money on advertising campaigns every single month.
Speaking with EGR, MacKenzie said:
“It took Chris [Harrison] and team five years to do this in the UK which at the time was a comparatively well-established and regulated market. My role is to ensure that we are offering the best possible experience to operators and users in the US where online RMG and DFS products are regulated.”
According to Google’s announcement, MacKenzie will also be helping to develop “premium partnerships with industry stakeholders”, with the aim of establishing opportunities across all of Google (Alphabet’s) brands. This includes their video and streaming platform, YouTube. He’ll also be working alongside the Google Cloud Platform team to help betting operators develop stronger, more lucrative partnerships.
MacKenzie has a solid track record at the tech firm, and back in 2015 he spent some two years as a Google manager for betting and gambling products in EMEA and the US; during this time, he worked directly with a number of operators and large-scale gambling advertisers, running RMG ads in other regulated markets around the world. He’s clearly a suitable candidate for the role.
He noted: “I’ve always stayed close to the EMEA gambling team and with my experience in the sector as well as the US, coupled with our ever-increasing focus on the US RMG industry, this was a logical next step for not just my career but also for Google.”
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