Google removes alleged £1m search engine 'penalty' on gambling site

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Google, the internet giant, has lifted alleged search engine penalties on an online betting group that could be worth millions of pounds to the business.

Media Corp, for reasons chief executive Justin Drummond claims he has never fully understood, saw one of the firms in its portfolio, www.gambling. com, drop in 2007 from the top spot to around 100th when users searched for the term "gambling". Mr Drummond estimates that this cost the company about £1m-a-year in post-tax profit.

Media Corp bought the website for £11m in 2005 and announced a £2.7m post-tax profit the following year. The business had already been hit by restrictive US internet gambling laws introduced in 2007, but the alleged penalties exacerbated the problems.

Mr Drummond said that the penalty appeared to be lifted on Friday morning. The news marks the end of a busy week for Media Corp. It acquired Malta-based poker group Purple Lounge for approaching £500,000 on Tuesday.