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New guidelines: Gambling ads on Telegram?

The messenger service Telegram has been offering advertisers the opportunity to place ads since the end of last year. However, the company seems to be sending contradictory signals in doing so. According to news website Yoju, the officially Dubai-based company classifies gambling as undesirable advertising content. At the same time, interested parties would have the option to have their advertisements explicitly displayed in the context of "betting and gambling".

Advertising on Telegram: 10 million euros in 12 months

In recent research, the platform netzpolitik.org deals with the new advertising offers within the messenger Telegram. Since November 2021, the WhatsApp alternative offers the possibility to play so-called "sponsored messages" in channels with more than 1,000 subscribers.

The general conditions, however, are said to be quite complex. Telegram requires a minimum upfront payment of 2 million euros to "secure and maintain high content quality". Half of this amount will be deposited as a kind of security.

The instant messaging service Telegram was founded in 2013 by the Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov and is said to have over 500 million monthly active users worldwide. According to Pavel Durov, the funding has so far come from his pocket.

Forbes magazine lists the 37-year-old as the 112th richest person in the world, with a real-time net worth (as of 9 February 2022) of the equivalent of around EUR 15.1 billion.

In New Zealand, Telegram is criticised because users can use the service largely undisturbed for radicalisation and the dissemination of content relevant to criminal law.

If the customer terminates the cooperation prematurely or without investing 10 million euros in ads on Telegram within 12 months, the company retains the million euros.

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In addition to the language in which the maximum 160-character messages would be displayed, the advertiser could also determine the context in which the ad would appear. 

No-goes for Telegram ads: gambling and bodily fluids

However, it seems unclear who the "Betting and Gambling" option is aimed at. Operators of online casinos and co. are, in any case, not allowed to address their target group via an ad.

Telegram explicitly lists gambling as "prohibited content" in its advertising guidelines. 

Gambling: Telegram sends different signals

With its advertising guidelines, Telegram follows the line of other major online platforms in dealing with gambling. However, there is at least one significant difference. YouTube and Twitch, for example, classify gambling content as a generally advertising-unfriendly environment. Accordingly, such streams and videos are excluded from monetisation and thus do not earn their operators any money via the platform.

In contrast, Telegram also does not allow direct gambling advertising but explicitly presents gambling content channels to advertisers as an advertising environment. Although those responsible declare that the advertising money flows into "infrastructure and developers' salaries", it is unclear to what extent channel operators could earn cash with official Telegram advertising in the future.

According to Yoju, the Messenger service's new advertising offer has not met with much response from German-speaking advertisers so far. It remains to be seen whether and which companies will also specifically address users interested in gambling via Telegram in the future.

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