Gambling in Turkey

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Gambling in Turkey is highly regulated. Turkey banned casinos in 1998, and it banned non-state online gambling in 2006. A state lottery (Milli Piyango) and betting services exists, however, and has some online gambling, and illegal gambling continues to persist.

History[edit]

Gambling horses were originally legalised in 1984, and casinos in 1990. New restrictions were introduced in September 1996, including limiting opening hours to 8 hours per day and requiring winnings to be paid by cheque.[1] These followed the July 1996 assassination of "casino king" Ömer Lütfü Topal.[1] A law banning casinos (partly because of accusations of money-laundering) was unexpectedly announced[2] and approved in December 1996[3] and (following legal action against it) took effect on 11 February 1998.[4] However, illegal casinos continue to exist.[5] At the time of the ban casinos were a $1bn industry employing around 20,000 people.[6] Sudi Özkan, another "casino king" with 20 casinos, left the country for a time, and was accused of siphoning nearly $700m to Switzerland "off the books, eventually returning after making a deal with the Turkish tax authorities.[7][8]

Online gambling was banned in 2006, but the measures to ban it have had limited success. In 2009 it was estimated that a quarter of Swedish firm Betsson's revenues came from Turkey.[9] In 2013 the Turkish Parliament planned to increase penalties for those using online gambling as well as those enabling financial transactions in relation to online gambling.[10]

References[edit]