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.


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]