The Turkish Telecommunications Directorate and the National Lottery have shut down a staggering number of 139 online gambling establishments over the past five years. The websites were breaking Turkish gambling laws against real-money online wagering.
The National Lottery also lodged complaints against other 457 websites over the same period, but so far, no legal action has been taken against them.
Turkey outlawed land gambling facilities in 1997. Internet gambling was banned in 2006. The National Lottery formed a special taskforce called the Games of Hazard Department to fight illegal internet gaming and launched several high-profile media campaign against Turkish internet casinos.
Since 2006, several attempts were made by Turkish authorities to stop illegal online gambling activities in the country. According to a new regulation, it is illegal for a foreign-operated gambling company to target Turkish citizens. The regulation is also trying to prevent Turkish banks from processing any internet gambling related transactions.
In the fight against illegal online gambling, the Turkish Telecommunications authorities blocked several IP addresses and forced ISP-s to blacklist websites to prevent gamblers from reaching an online casino. In turn, players started to use proxy serves or utilizes new DNS services. Foreign online gambling was accessible from internet cafes all around the country.
At this moment, there are no legally-licensed internet gambling websites in Turkey country, however, some foreign operators such as Betsson and Sportingbet still target Turkish gamblers. Many Turkish players fall victim to rouge casinos and other unapproved operators.
Lottery and football betting in Turkey are extremely popular. Milli Piyango group runs local lotteries, Iddaa runs local sports betting businesses. Several operations run online sportsbooks in Turkey for Iddaa, but it seems their services are not enough for the Turkish gamblers. Even when it is illegal, many Turkish bettors use foreign sites or put their wagers in the enormous underground gambling industry of the country.
The issue seems to concern not only the authorities, but some religious people as well. Istanbul mullahs insisted that online gambling is punishable by Muslim law, and strict measures must be taken against it.