Ban in Turkey does little to discourage online gambling

And major betting companies continue to challenge bans by pointing to EU principles

The weekend saw the publication in the Sunday Zaman publication of an interesting article on Internet gambling, and the fight which European betting groups are waging against a government ban on the pastime imposed in 2006.

The ban included playing online gambling games and made it illegal for firms to provide these services to Turkish citizens under domestic law. Turkish banks and credit card companies were also enjoined not to facilitate transactions with Internet gambling sites.

One company resisting the ban is the publicly listed Swedish online gambling operation Betsson. Speaking to the Sunday Zaman, Turkish legal expert Gökhan Ahi said that despite the law clearly stating that it is illegal to play or provide online gambling, firms like Betsson continue to evade Web filters to provide Turkish citizens with access to games.

For Betsson, circumventing filters and continuing to provide services to Turkish residents are risks worth taking, the article points out - over 26 percent of its considerable revenues come from Turkey, according to a report by Goldman Sachs.

Swedish analyst Martin Arnell said that shutting down Turkish operations could make a serious dent in Betsson's earnings and share prices, due to the significant amount of online business that it continues to attract from the country.

The large UK online gambling company Sportingbet is another player in the Turkish online market, despite clashes in 2008 (see previous InfoPowa reports) which saw two of its employees detained by police. Although the company has scaled down its Turkish operation, it is still active in the market, claims Arnell

“They could be saying and reporting that they are leaving, but they are still there,” the analyst told Sunday Zaman, which noted that the company's SuperBahis website was still online and accepting bets for football matches.

Betsson argues that its Turkish activities are completely legal according to European Union principles of free movement of goods and services, even though sources both in the government and the gambling sector have expressed a contrary opinion.

In its year-end financial results, however, Betsson, in reference to Turkey’s anti-online gambling regulation, states, “According to legal experts, the [Turkish] law is in breach of EU law and less conformable with the association agreement between EU and Turkey.”

Arnell disputes this, claiming that Turkey is not yet an EU member, and that Betsson therefore has no legal backing for providing services to Turkish citizens. “They know that the authorities think that what they are doing is wrong,” Arnell stressed.Fredrik Rüdén, the CFO of Betsson’s administrative office in Stockholm, argued that Betsson could provide gambling products to Turkish citizens because its gambling operations are run from Malta. He stressed several times that Betsson has no physical presence in Turkey and that what they were doing was legal.

When asked if Betsson, much like SportingBet, would gradually close up their virtual shop, Rüdén continued to affirm that what they are doing is legal. “If we had operations in Turkey, then we would consider [closing].” When reminded about the two SportingBet employees who were arrested after coming to Turkey for vacation and then asked about whether he would come to Turkey, he hesitantly replied with, “I am not sure if I would do that.”

Sunday Zaman reports that the Turkish Information Technologies and Communications Board (BTK) went after Betsson’s site and banned access, but Betsson evaded the filter by continuously changing IP addres
ses, making it nearly impossible for the authorities to stop access.

"At the time of writing, Betsson had added the digits 509 to the end of its URL," Zaman reports. "Ahi stated that this number would change constantly: 'When the BTK would block 310, they would default to 309, and if that was blocked, they would quickly change to another number.'

"Ahi reiterated the difficulty for the Turkish authorities to block such sites due to the complexity of the Internet and stated that companies like Betsson would do whatever is necessary to make sure that their illegal and enormous revenues are not hindered by technological barriers. Even with the banking restrictions, Ahi
noted that gamblers increasingly use one-time-use debit cards that can easily be used on these Web sites without much difficulty."

Although Turkey is currently in the accession period, it is not yet a full-fledged EU member.

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    "Marko Csokasi and Nick, I am going to try to explain this as simply as I can and show you proof. Below is in detail steps of exactly what I did, and when I did it 1. I opened up an account with Oshi.IO casino. I went into my account to retrieve the bitcoin deposit address as supplied by you guys. This address is 3JciXUmXr4oAQJxRrL51sbKNmEwM7D9g1B 2. I made a deposit of 4 BTC into this address. The transaction ID for that is here As you can see , the deposit happened at 2016-10-08 2:06:23 and was first seen during block ID 433378 The first confirmation was seen at block 433379, which took 2 minutes for the first confirmation to happen. So it was 1st confirmation at 2:08:15, 2 minutes after I made the deposit.It now also has 2314 confirmations, so this definetely has gone through to you. 3. I proceeded to play blackjack, I was up for 1 round then lost half of my money, before finally breaking even again. I thought I better come out break even before I lose all my money. 4. I then made withdrawals for my 4 BTC out in alot of small increments. This withdrawal was done to 1GjEDytM5bKKYtcrYrrd4oDYMyryCCaQev. The first withdrawal transaction ID is here As you can see, the request time was 2:25:34 and was confirmed right away, so my withdrawal request was done 17 minutes after the first confirmation had happened. This is noted in block433382, so from my deposit until my withdrawal request, it would of had 3 confirmations. 5. After abit of time the gambling got the better of me and I decided to retry my luck. I made the deposit of 4 BTC again, This is the transaction ID for it at 4:33:47 by the network, abit over 2 hours of my first deposit. This one took 61 minutes for first confirm, it was first seen in block 433392 and 1st confirmed in block 433400.It now has 2294 confirmations. 6. I went back to the blackjack table and played, I was up and down. I first tried to withdraw when I was up to 5.5 BTC but it said "Still awaiting confirmation of your deposit" So I continued playing. I got up to 6.6 BTC and tried again. This time I was able to. I then withdrew 2 BTC (4 x 0.5 BTC withdrawals)The first one is here Its receival time is 5:47:10 and took 7 minutes to confirm. So 14 minutes had passed from first confirmation till my withdrawal. 7. I thought I dont want to waste anymore time making these small withdrawals as I had to go, so I made the bulk withdrawal for 4.6 BTC. That is when you closed my account.   Now, I do not own any blockchain explorer sites, the blockchain explorers display data that is neutral and its information is confirmed several times world wide. You would need 51% of the network hash power to be able to control it to your will, this I do not have nor does anyone or any mining groups. If I did I would be stealing billions from Chinese exchanges, not a couple of bitcoins from an online casino. You guys say I am the scammer but please tell me exactly where in the steps I have done wrong. Where is the scam? Have I left anything out that I have done? So according to this, I have deposited 4+4 Bitcoins which you have received, and sent off and used somewhere. This is proven in the blockchain ledger. While I have only received 4+2 Bitcoins from you guys. So I am the one down 2 bitcoins + whatever I won. How are you saying that I have scammed you guys 2 bitcoins? The maths do not add up. Nick you keep saying I have done a double spend attack, but the blockchain ledger has fully confirmed that my transactions are legit. My transactions have not been flagged as double spend, are you saying that the ledger is wrong? Here is what an example of what a double spend attack looks like It clearly says at the top "Warning! this transaction is a double spend. You should be extremely careful when trusting any transactions to/from this sender. 184253214"That has 0 confirmations while its double spend attack "184253214" has 1 confirmation. You can click on it and see for yourself. This is what a double spend attack is, when the same bitcoin is being used to two different addresses. Where has this occured for my transactions? Also a few points on what you have said "Nick Garner here (CEO and founder of Oshi Bitcoin Casino) . Just on his point about returning the initial deposit, we have only seen one actual deposit of four Bitcoins. A double spend attack is explained in detail here" - No you have not only seen one actual deposit of four bitcoins, the blockchain ledger has proven I have sent you 2 lots of 4 as proven above. Anyone can check this information for themselves. "This person withdrew a total of 6.6 Bitcoins, therefore in fact they have profited by 2.6 Bitcoins through their double spending scam." - No see you are mistaking what you think are facts again, I withdrew 4 + 2 so a total of 6. Again, this is proven on the blockchain. Not 6.6 "Just on a personal note, I don't get why this person is being so persistent when the facts prove so conclusively that they perpetrated a double spend scam. :-( " - Please show the facts, I have shown you what a double spend attack looks like, and this is nothing like that. I have proven to you that there were many confirmations and time had passed before I made my withdrawals. As in the link you provided, Double-spending is the result of successfully spending some money more than once. Bitcoin protects against double spending by verifying each transaction added to the block chain to ensure that the inputs for the transaction had not previously already been spent.I have not spent the same bitcoin successfully more than once, I sent you 8 different bitcoins, which have all been confirmed succesfully, and confirmed over 2000 times in fact. You guys say I am spreading inaccurate claims and trying to make you look bad, well anyone that is familiar with bitcoin and its blockchain ledger can see for themselves. All the addresses are there, they can verify the information I have provided. No double spend attack has taken place. You claimed I made withdrawals before the first confirmations of my deposits happened but I have proven otherwise. 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