The growth of international online betting has had serious political implications. Particularly, Muslim governments that ban gambling are finding themselves undermined by online betting sites that have easy global access. Although Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries that has legal forms of betting, its policies and regulations remain strict, which limits options in choosing the best Turkey betting sites.
Legal Issues Surrounding Online Betting in Turkey
Although Turkey is part of the European Union, it does not adhere to the Union’s policy of e-commerce equity. In 2006, Turkey launched a campaign against Internet gambling. This campaign made it illegal for companies to advertise their gambling services to Turkish residents. It furthermore implemented laws making it illegal for banks to process transactions related to Internet gambling and made it illegal for Turkish citizens to access international online gambling services.
Problematically for the Turkish government, Turkish law enforcement doesn’t have jurisdiction to prosecute internationally-based Internet betting companies for offering services to Turkish residents. This was exemplified in 2008 when Turkey detained and attempted to prosecute two employees of Sportingbet (a United Kingdom based Internet gambling company that was offering services in Turkey) while they were traveling through the country on vacation. The employees were eventually released due to lack of proper jurisdiction. Turkey has since asked Britain to extradite 3 Sportingbet employees. Britain has refused.
Attributes of a Turkish Betting Site
Technically, the only legal form of Internet gambling in Turkey is a state-owned sports betting organization called IDDAA. Sports betting, particularly soccer, is hugely popular in Turkey. In this sense, choosing the best Turkish betting site is quite simple, as there is only one legal option.
On the other hand, illegal online betting in Turkey is flourishing. The laws preventing banks from processing online gambling transactions as well as the laws preventing Turkish citizens from accessing international gambling sites aren’t enforced. Furthermore, Turkey garners very little international support in their gambling restrictions, particularly since they don’t conform to E.U. trade regulations. In fact, Turkish customers compose a significant percentage of the world’s online gambling market.
With this lack of law enforcement in mind, choosing the best Turkey betting site really comes down to whether or not you’re willing to break the law. The safest and perhaps best choice is the IDDAA, which for many is sufficient, but for others doesn’t cover enough betting options. At any rate, using illegal betting sites that are within Turkey’s jurisdiction will certainly cause legal friction. If it is the case that taking the risk of using international sites within Turkey is a serious option for you, then the regular decision making procedure should apply in determining which sites are good and which are not – financial status and betting options are amongst the most important factors.
Although Turkey’s gambling laws are more lenient than nearly every other Muslim country, online gambling is heavily regulated and restricted in most cases. Despite this, illegal gambling continues to flourish in Turkey due to lack of enforcement within the Turkish population. It is also due to the lack of jurisdiction regarding internationally based online betting companies. For this reason, choosing the best Turkey betting sites depends on whether or not you’re willing to break the law.
Gambling and sports betting are strictly regulated in Turkey. The country outlawed brick-and-mortar casinos in 1997 and then followed that up with an online betting ban in 2007. The government takes a number of steps to prohibit all forms of betting except for the national lottery and a limited form of sports betting offered by the state-authorized IDDAA.com and its subsidiary websites such as Sportoto and Bilyoner.
IDDAA properties are the only websites that offer anything resembling legal sports betting in Turkey, but their options are severely limited. Even so, these two sites earn a lot of money for the government every year. The government is determined to protect its monopoly to the point of censoring the internet of foreign gaming sites, criminalizing players who visit unauthorized betting sites and blocking financial transactions to known gaming websites.
Despite the government’s harsh stance toward online betting, players from Turkey continue to visit foreign gaming sites to this day. It is no secret that foreign companies offer better odds, more gaming options and a better overall experience. As much as the government would like to shut down all non-authorized gaming websites, it has so far been unable to eradicate online betting, casino games and poker.
The Turkish gambling market is a tough one to crack due to its strict restrictions. A good number of big-name European/UK sites left the market altogether and no longer accept Turkish customers. A limited number of international websites do continue to accept players from Turkey and even support the language.
At one point, it was estimated that Betsson.com derived more than a quarter of its revenue from Turkey. Betsson later sold its Turkish operations to 17Bets10.com, and that website continues to focus on the Turkish market today.
In 2008, the Turkish government showed its determination to fight unauthorized gambling when it arrested two employees of Sportingbet while in holiday in Turkey. Their connection to Sportingbet’s Turkish operation, Superbahis, was enough for the government to order their arrests. They were later released, but Sportingbet significantly scaled back its Turkish operations after that event.
Players face potential fines for placing bets online at any website other than the two websites authorized by the state. It has so far been impossible for us to find an example of someone actually being charged for placing bets online, but the risk is real. Turkey has proven it is determined to funnel citizens only to sanctioned forms of online gaming.
In addition to targeting players and websites, the Turkish government orders internet service providers to block access to known gaming sites. Back in 2014, CalvinAyre.com noted that 110 online betting websites have been blocked by local ISPs.
The government also orders financial institutions to block financial transactions to and from unauthorized Turkey betting sites. However, payment processors such as Paykwik and Paykasa are able to facilitate payments for Turkish customers.
Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing betting remains a popular pastime in Turkey as one of the few forms of real money gambling allowed in the country. Horse racing betting sites are not permitted to operate inside Turkey, but physical racetracks may accept wagers from spectators. Foreign gaming websites that continue to operate in Turkey do offer a variety of online horse racing wagers for all customers.
Local racetracks charge a total takeout rate of 50% that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to win over the long term. However, a 2012 article published in the Washington Post reported that Turks wagered the US-dollar equivalent of $1.49 billion on races back in 2011. The high commissions have so far failed to deter horseracing fans from wagering large sums of money on races each year.
The Jockey Club of Turkey (TJK) is responsible for managing all aspects of horse racing. Its duties include supervising races, organizing events, improving breeding, improving infrastructure and improving training. If you can’t make it to a track, the TKJ publishes a list of authorized off-track betting (OTB) agents here.