The Turkish government have today announced the start of a two-year national legislation-led offensive against illegal gambling operators in the country.
A range of new measures are being considered including: amendment of current legislation, internet monitoring, curbing gambling payment services (including cyber currencies), banning gambling advertisements, increasing the awareness of problem gambling and punitive fines levied on illegal online operators.
Under a three-pronged attack led by the Turkish Interior and Justice ministries in coordination with the Treasury and police departments, national regulators will investigate gaming platforms and venues to determine if they are operating illegally, with hefty jail terms being given to those deemed to be breaking the law.
According to reports in the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper, members of the Financial Crimes Investigation Council (MASAK), Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Revenues Department and Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) will also participate in the crackdown.
The multi-agency team will be headed by a “special prosecutor” whose identity has yet to be confirmed.
In addition, individuals who access illegal gambling websites through their smartphone will be contacted via SMS by the country’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority, which it is hoped will prevent them from doing so again in the future.
Gamblers in Turkey are currently only able to gamble legally via the Milli Piyango lottery and the state-run SporToto sports betting service, with many individuals choosing to cross the border into neighbouring Georgia to gamble in casinos operating there.