Publication date: 28 Nov 2022
All gambling is officially banned in Turkey. The authorities have abandoned tax collection in favor of monopolizing gambling: the only online betting shop is owned by the state. However, ardent Turkish gamblers are not satisfied with this: they want to bet and play on all the casino and betting sites where it is profitable and interesting to do so. 3SNET’s new review compiles all the information on how to promote online betting and gambling in Turkey.
How is betting and gambling regulated in Turkey?
In February 1996, all gambling was suddenly banned in Turkey following a scandal* related to the murder of a gambling tycoon.
Since 2007, a separate Law № 7258 on Betting and Gambling in Football and Other Sports Competitions prohibited any operation of online casino and betting sites.
*Why was gambling banned in Turkey? The Turkish-Kurdish conflict erupted in the mid-1990s, during which the Turkish authorities needed to cut off the financing of criminals from illegal activities (drugs and casinos). One of those involved in the conflict between the state and the mafia was businessman Ömer Lütfü Topal. The entrepreneur, who in 5 years had risen from cafeteria owner to “casino king”, by 1996 owned a network of gambling establishments across the country. In the summer of 1996, he was shot dead; more than $1 billion was found in his accounts. Since his casinos were accused of distributing drugs and laundering illicit profits beyond their control, the Turkish authorities decided to ban gambling activities entirely.
The only exception to the ban now is the state-owned gambling company IDDAA, a bookmaker. It operates under the control of legal entity Spor Toto which is the official Turkish Sports Council. The BC’s website accepts bets on 9 sports: football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, MMA, snooker, handball and ping-pong.
- Until the sudden shutdown of all the casinos in Turkey, their revenue to the budget was about 1 billion dollars a year. Therefore, state authorities soon thought about controlling and reopening offline casinos. Now the land-based segment of casinos in Turkey is limited to a special gambling zone. It is located in the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). There are about 25 land-based casinos at various hotels. Officially, they can only be visited by tourists; entry is denied to residents of Turkey. According to different sources, these gambling establishments bring about $600 million to the country’s budget annually.
Such a point-by-point authorization of gambling in Turkey (the only bookmaker and a land-based gambling zone) has led to the impression among Turks that gambling and betting activities in Turkey are completely legal and safe. They see that gambling and betting works and prospers, there is advertising and accessible institutions. Players have no desire to check casino and betting sites: if there is a site, one may play.
What gambling is allowed in Turkey?
There is a punishment for gamblers and organizers in the Turkish profile law on gambling: from three to five years. Gambling and betting “abroad or over the Internet” is punishable by up to six years’ imprisonment. Persons making money transfers in connection with betting or gambling activities can go to jail for 3 to 5 years. Various fines range from 5,000 to 25,000 liras
The same punishment is specified in Article 228 “Providing Place and Opportunity for Gambling” of the Turkish Criminal Code (2004 edition). If the offence is committed using information systems, the prison sentence increases to five years.
How much money is made on the Turkish gambling market?
According to the Statista service, the online sports betting market in Turkey was worth $348 million in 2018. According to an August 2022 forecast by experts, betting volumes will rise to $921 million by 2026.
The most profitable among sports is football, with bookmakers earning more than $97 million on it in 2019, with FIFA taking the lead ($38.6 million). The online football betting market in Turkey is expected to exceed $215 million by 2026.
In 2019, the largest online sports betting revenue in Turkey was generated by web applications and amounted to almost $244 million. However, mobile sports betting apps are predicted to surpass the web segment by 2026. Bookmakers are expected to earn $486 million a year using mobile.
Line-in-play was the largest segment of the Turkish online sports betting market, with revenues of almost $121 million in 2019. Fixed-odds betting was second in terms of revenue at around $86 million.
Casino and bookmaker advertising rules in Turkey
The Turkish law on betting and gambling organization specifies that advertising and promoting illegal gambling and sports betting is punishable. Promotion of betting and gambling in Turkey can result in one to three years in prison.
How are unlicensed casino and betting sites blocked in Turkey?
Internet regulation and censorship in Turkey has been in place at the state level since 2018. According to Twitter, Turkey is the world leader in censorship.
According to the Electronic Communications Law (ECL) and the Internet Act, ISPs are responsible for the content provided to Turkish audiences.
The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) oversees the implementation of bans and regulations. ICTA is responsible for monitoring the domain name and registered e-mail system, regulating internet content and combating cybercrime.
Providers are obliged to block websites at the request of ICTA as well as provide the regulatory authorities with various information about the traffic. In other words, the Turkish government can block any resource without a court decision, as has happened at various times with the social networks Facebook* and Twitter, the video service YouTube and the electronic encyclopedia Wiki.
*Facebook is banned in Russia.
Also, Internet Law №5651 forbids posting online information about any gambling opportunities, as well as accepting sports betting without a license (in Turkey’s case, any site except the IDDAA). Websites with such information will be blocked. Anyone can report a violation of the law on a special website called “Illegal Content Notification”. Here the ICTA directorate also informs how to block access from a URL, from a domain name or from an IP address.
The “Request access to a website” section, where you can check whether a site is on the list of blocked sites, does not work.
As in many other countries, with so many chaotic blockings, the local population has effectively mastered VPNs and is free to access any blocked sites.
The Turkish authorities are making sufficient efforts to block access to online casinos and betting sites. Nevertheless, as often happens on the Internet, such vigorous activity still gets minimal results. According to the Freedom of Expression Association (IFÖD), more than 42,000 websites were blocked in Turkey in 2019, of which around 31% (18,689) were gambling and betting sites.
In comparison, more than 4.5 million illegal gambling websites were tracked in Russia in 2022, according to the Unified Gambling Regulator.
How to attract Turkish audience to betting and casino sites?
The Republic of Turkey is a state in South Asia with a population of over 83 million people. As of 2022 (ISO standard 3166-1), Turkey is the 19th most populous country in the world.
What is the right way to promote betting and gambling in other Asian countries? Read all about it in the 3SNET Reviews:
- Online gambling is legal in Tajikistan: how to promote it?
- How much can be made from gambling in Kazakhstan?
- Bookmakers and casinos in Uzbekistan: Not allowed, but very tempting
The HDI (Human Development Index) is very high, above 0.82. Since 1 July 2022, the minimum wage in Turkey is 5,500.35 Turkish liras (about 301.63 euros). The average wage in Turkey is 10,000 lira a month (33,000 Russian roubles, or about 524 euros). At the same time, official unemployment is about 11-12%, about 4 million people are employed unofficially.
The majority of the population is Turkish (about 75%). There are also many other indigenous people living in Turkey: Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Greeks, Kurds, Tatars, Arabs. In 2022, there was an active resettlement to Turkey of Russians* and Ukrainians.
*In the third quarter of 2022 alone, according to the Russian Federal Security Service, 2.1 million citizens left for Turkey.
Turkey is officially a secular state. However, the majority of the population practices Islam, there are also large Christian (mostly Orthodox) and Jewish communities.
The official (state) language is Turkish.
The national currency is the Turkish lira (TRY).
According to Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority, the total number of broadband access subscribers in the country amounted to 89.5 million in the second quarter of 2022.
A total of 70.5 million people has mobile internet access.
Moreover, the “tourist” factor of Internet penetration in Turkey has to be taken into account. Both visitors and locals have free Wi-Fi in most cafes, hotels and dormitories, airports and train stations.
There are 3 cellular operators in Turkey: Vodafone, Turkcell, Turk Telekom. 2G services are available all over the country (except desert). 4G services are available in all major cities.
Peculiarities of creatives for advertising in Turkey
Turkey is a traditional Muslim country with its own characteristics of culture and behavior. It is important to know them in order to be able to attract the local target audience.
- Sports betting has been cited as one of the causes of unemployment in Turkey. According to officials, Turks prefer to bet and hope to win, only to “not do physical labour”.
- Logically, with an average standard of living, Turks gravitate towards the trappings of a beautiful rich life: gold and jewellery, watches, expensive cars, smartphones, travelling in pleasant company.
- Like most people, Turkish people love presents: bonuses, promotions, free bets.
- Turkey is a secular country, although even irreligious Turks try to “sin” (i.e., betting and gambling) as little as possible during the holy month of Ramadan. The same is true of other Muslim holidays.
- Meanwhile, gambling activity increases on national holidays: Youth and Sports Day, Republic Day, National Independence Day and Turkey’s Children’s Day. A day off, bright celebrations with parades and fireworks, as well as a good mood make the inhabitants relaxed and amenable to new entertainment.
- Turkey is a hot, southern country and its people are emotional and thirsty for excitement. Show them the joy of the game as well as the winnings and they won’t pass them by. As a consequence of this heightened emotionality, Turks love dynamic pictures: the wheel of fortune, opening prize boxes, the ringing of coins and applause.
- Services and tourism account for the bulk of the economy (more than 50%). Therefore, many Turks have a decent command of foreign languages (English, German, Russian) and understand the value of other currencies (Euro, Dollar, Rouble). Also, during the non-tourist season, Turks have a lot of free time, which they enjoy spending at online casinos and betting shops.
What means of payment do Turkish players choose?
It is a criminal offence under Turkish law to facilitate the transfer of payments to sports betting or casino sites.
However, worldwide payment systems such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, MIR and UnionPay are free to use and accept deposits to betting and casino websites (through payment providers). Players can use e-wallets such as Skrill, PayDo Wallet, Jeton Wallet, Perfect Money, Stick Pay Much Better.
The country also has a Troy system, created by 13 local banks and backed by the government. In fact, Troy is Turkey’s national system. In 2020, Turkey was the leader in the number of bank cards issued per capita (2.6 cards per person).
Local payment systems popular with Turks include Papara, PayFix, Maksi, MPay.
In the spring of 2021, Turkey banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. This led to the closure of a number of Turkish crypto exchanges. But due to the impossibility of control by Turkish authorities, the world leaders – Bitcoin, Litrcoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Ethereum, ZCash and several dozen more – are successfully used as a means of payment on betting and casino sites.
Which are the most popular sports in Turkey?
The most popular sport in Turkey is football. The Turkish national football team regularly takes part in all major world competitions. There are four professional leagues, the Turkish Cup and the Turkish Super Cup are held every year.
The popularity of the sport and individual athletes can be judged by the popularity of their social media accounts. For example, according to Statista, footballer Mesut Özil had the most searched sports Instagram account in Turkey in July 2022, with more than 24 million followers. Turkish sports club Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe’s Instagram accounts ranked second and third respectively, racking up a total of more than 11 million and 7.9 million subscribers.
The top five popular sports in Turkey (after football) include volleyball, basketball, handball and athletics.
“The indigenous Turkish sport is wrestling, primarily kirkpinar. During the bout, wrestlers lubricate their bodies with oil, hence the second name of the competition is “wrestling in oil”. The Annual Tournament of kirkpinar has been held in Edirne since 1346. It is the oldest continuously held and most legitimate sporting event in the world.
In the summer of 2022, acroyoga became popular in Turkey. It is a sport with elements of acrobatics and yoga. For instance, popular Turkish actor Ibrahim Çelikkol (TV series “Kus Uçusu” and Siyah Beyaz Aşk, the film Drunk on Love (2022)) performs acroyoga.
The annual Istanbul Marathon is the world’s only transcontinental marathon run of 42.195 km, certified World Athletics Elite Label Road Races. The route of the marathon crosses the Bosphorus Bridge. In addition to the classic marathon, the competition program includes a 15 km run, as well as a mass non-competitive 8 km fun run. Anyone may take part in the race (entry fee about 45 euros), prize for 1 place amounts to 20,000 dollars.
In 2022, Turkey hosted the World Bocce Championship. Bocce is a ball game similar to bowling or petanque. Almost all tourists on Turkish beaches are familiar with it.
There are lots of contests for all levels in Turkey all the time! If you want to constantly attract new users and not miss out on important sporting events, use the 3SNET Sporting Events Calendar!
What are the most popular websites in Turkey?
According to SimilarWeb statistics for October 2022, the most visited websites in Turkey in the gambling category are nesine.com, tjk.org and fullhdfilmizlesene.pw. Millipiyangoonline.com and iddaa.com were also in the top five in terms of visitors. The same sites lead in the “sports betting” category, with bilyoner.com adding to them.
In the “casino” category, thaudray.com, gammatrix.com, adanaatikhaber.com, spinomenal.com and evo-games.com are the most interesting for the Turkish audience.
Among the search engines popular among Turks in October 2022, google.com and google.com.tr, yandex.com.tr and yandex.ru are leading. Music.youtube.com is in fifth place.
The most popular social network is Twitter. It is followed by Facebook and Instagram (banned in Russia), Whatsapp and Tiktok.
There are many advantages for the promotion of online betting and gambling in Turkey! Mainly, it has an active and gambling audience. The amount of money spent on betting and gaming clearly shows that bans, penalties and blockages do not work well! Turks are willing to play and bet on sites that focus on interesting offers and quality of service. The 3SNET network has prepared a list of offers from casinos and bookmakers waiting for quality traffic from Turkey!
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