Gambling, Gaming and Betting in Turkey

We advise gambling, gaming and betting clients on a range of compliance issues relating to betting and gaming operations, including issues arising under the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and other anti-corruption laws, and under antitrust/competition, consumer protection, VAT and gaming tax, anti-money-laundering and data privacy laws.

Gambling law Turkey

Gambling, Gaming and Betting in Turkey

Gambling is defined as a game undertaken with the aim of earning money, where the profit and loss depends upon chance (TPC art. 228). Gambling may might be categorised as land-based and online gambling.

Consumer protection, in particular the prevention of gambling addiction and protection of minors and other vulnerable persons, the channelling of players towards the regulated market, the guarantee of an orderly and fair gambling offering, combatting of fraud and other gambling-related crimes as well as the protection of the integrity of sports are the statutory objectives of Turkey gambling regulation. 

Offence of gambling

Providing an environment or the means for any form of gambling (whether land-based or online) is prohibited by the Article 228 of the Turkish Criminal Code(hereafter TCC). Accordingly, any person who provides an environment or the means for gambling is sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of one year to three years and a judicial fine of not less than two hundred days. The penalty to be imposed is increased by one fold where an environment or means is provided for children in order to gamble. In the event that the act of providing environment or the means for gambling is committed using electronic data processing systems, the offender is sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to five years and a judicial fine of a thousand to ten thousand days. Where the offence is committed in the course of the activities of a criminal organization, the penalty to be imposed is increased by one half. Legal entities are subject to security measures for involvement in gamling offences.

In addition the Article 228 of the TCC, roulette, pinball and slot and other similar gaming machines are classified as special forms of gambling and are banned under the Law Regarding Roulette, Pinball and Gaming Machines. 

Gambling law

Turkish gambling law is only applicable, if there is a gamble in the first place. According to Turkish gambling law, gambling only occurs when a fee is required for the acquisition of the chance of winning a game, while the decision about winning the game depends wholly or mainly on chance. The decision about winning a game is presumed to depend on chance, if the decision is based on the uncertain occurrence or outcome of future events.

Gambling debts

Gambling debts are not enforceable in Turkey since they are considered “debts of honour”. However, once gaming debts are settled, they are not reclaimable.

Use of cryptocurrencies

In a gambling context, blockchain technology is most visible to Turkish players in the form of cryptocurrencies and there are gambling companies who offer Turkish players the use of cryptocurrencies on their sites. There is, however, no gambling-specific regulation regarding blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Turkey.

Gaming

Gaming (Şans Oyunları) is governed by the Decree No. 320 regarding National Lottery Administration and Regulation on Supervising Games of Chance. Gaming is defined as games played for a cash prize (such as lottery, numeric games and instant-win games). Three categories of gaming may be identified as;

  • Lottery (Piyango): This is a game of chance played by numbered raffle tickets which represent a chance to win a pre-determined cash prize on a given drawing date.
  • Numeric games (Sayısal Oyunlar): These are games of chance played by guessing at the outcome of a draw of certain number of shapes, letters or numerals to win a cash prize.
  • Instant- win games or sweepstakes (Hemen-Kazan): This is a game of chance played by scratching off tickets to uncover certain number of identical numbers, amounts, shapes, designs (or alike) to win a cash prize.

Betting

Betting (Müşterek Bahis) is the action of risking money, possessions, time, or something else on the outcome of something, such as a game or race. Individuals involved in betting risk losing something, depending on the outcome of, for example, a horse race. However, they also have a chance of winning something. The most common types of betting may be stated as;

  • Sports betting (Müşterek Bahis): The Sports Betting Regulation defines sports betting a game played by betting on the outcome of a local or international sports event with the possibility of winning a pre-determined percentage of the revenue (hasılat) raised as the prize.
  • Horse race betting (Müşterek Bahis): The Horse Race Betting Regulation defines horse race betting as a game of chance and skill played by betting on the outcome of any kind of local or international race, competition, sports event or certain event or position with the possibility of winning a pre-determined quantity, amount, rate or multiple of the revenue (kazanç) raised as the prize.

Differences between betting and gambling

One might say that in betting, the person placing a stake has a better idea of what might happen than in gambling. In other words, gambling relies on pure luck while betting can benefit from research. For example, if you bet on the horses, you can study the past performances of the horses, jockeys, and trainers. You can also find out what kind of terrain each horse prefers. Some horses, for example, prefer soft terrain. Therefore, if it has been raining, it is more likely to do well. With gambling, on the other hand, you have no idea what the outcome will be. In a casino, for example, you don’t know what number will come up next on the roulette table.

Representation of companies and operators

Bıçak is a Turkish law firm which specializes in the representation of companies and operators on all issues of gambling, gaming and betting law. In Turkey, there are mix set of rules for gambling, gaming and betting transactions.

We believe that Bıçak’s global gambling, gaming and betting practice provides our clients with a unique offering. Leveraging our thorough understanding of the sector, we handle our clients’ most important and complex corporate, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate transactions, litigation and disputes work, regulatory and compliance matters and other legal challenges.

Compliance issues

We advise gambling, gaming and betting clients on a range of compliance issues relating to betting and gaming operations, including issues arising under the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and other anti-corruption laws, and under antitrust/competition, consumer protection, VAT and gaming tax, anti-money-laundering and data privacy laws.  The firm acts as special counsel to compliance committees, providing proactive advice and support.  We also represent betting and gaming clients in connection with governmental and regulatory inquiries, investigations and litigation in Turkish jurisdiction.

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