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Profile of Current Sports Betting Industry in Turkey

sports betting onlineA recent market report in Turkey indicates that online sports betting sites (bahis siteleri) have been experiencing increased participation among Turkish citizens between ages 18 and 50 years old. Apparently, sports punters in the country prefer betting odds quoted by offshore-based gambling sites, over the offers of IDDAA, the government-owned sport betting company.

Actually, IDDAA is the only site officially authorised to offer sports betting services and products in Turkey. Placing bets on sports markets and their offers is well tolerated by the authorities since sports betting is considered skill-based, which stands opposed to luck-based casino gambling.

Yet the general consensus among local gamblers is that the odds pitched by IDDAA are on the low side and limited to a few betting markets. The IDDAA is the only licensed bookmaker recognised by the Turkish government yet its selection of betting markets is limited to only 7 choices, namely: football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, tennis and the array of Olympic sports events.

football athletes in turkeyNevertheless, IDDAA covers the competitions of international football leagues, being the most widely followed sports of the gambling industry. The international leagues covered by IDDAA include the English Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Super Lig, Serie A, and other world famous football confederations.

When in search of better odds, local gamblers check the sports betting sites highly recommended by reviewers, who looked up some of IDDAA’s offers for the forthcoming football matches. It was found that payouts of the only licensed betting site in Turkey averaged at only 77%.

Since the country has a large population of young and tech savvy gamblers, they prefer to access offshore online bookmakers who operate via the Internet with minimal risks of being detected by Turkish authorities. Moreover, the market report also indicated that in light of the country’s accelerating economic growth, Turkish sports enthusiasts have greater disposable revenue to use in indulging in optimised sports betting activities.

Specifically, the recent research online gambling report estimated that as many as 7 million Turks currently participate in online sports betting. The projection in terms of revenues is that Turkey’s online sports betting sector will hit as much as $921 million by 2026 ,owing to the growing interests on betting products of offshore betting sites.

Overview of Turkey’s Gambling Laws

Although betting on horse races and casino gambling were previously allowed, the gambling laws subsequently introduced and implemented in 1996 prohibited gambling in any form. In 2003, the government came out with a sports betting platform called IDDAA, to cater to the online sports betting interest of Turkish punters.

However, the gambling monopoly introduced by the government through the IDDAA as a measure to control the growing prevalence of gambling activities in the country, resulted in limited success. That was due to the entry of international bookmakers by way of remotely operated betting sites using Internet networks.
As a result, the Turkish parliament passed a gambling law in 2006 that specifically prohibits online gambling. Yet advancements in technology allowed punters to continue accessing offshore betting platforms that enabled them to engage in gambling undetected.

In 2013, the Turkish parliament amended the anti-online gambling law by increasing the penalties and punishment on those found guilty of using the online gambling services of offshore betting sites.