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Online gambling offline in Turkey as government clamps down

Online gambling has been in Turkey for some time now but the Turkish government are taking action against the spread of illegal online gambling and betting sites in Turkey. Fines and even imprisonment will be imposed on those caught in violation of the online gambling prohibitions. Advertising of online gambling sites have also become illegal. Turkish citizens who do participate in online gambling will be traced via credit card transaction.

This is indeed not good news for the online gambling industry and could very well spell the end of online gambling in Turkey. Earlier this year, 2 employees from the popular online sports betting website, Sportingbet, were arrested. A further 37 employees of the online gambling business have also been arrested.

It seems though despite the recent misfortunes of Sportingbet in Turkey, it is determined to keep operating in Turkey. Turkey is its 3rd largest market. Andrew McIver, the chief executive of Sportingbet says that the charges of money laundering, organised crime and tax evasion is “a load of tosh” and he is hoping to get the right judge to prove the company’s point. So far, the 2 employees have been allowed a visit from their families but charges have not been brought.

There has been widespread protest against the ban on internet sites, websites critical of the Turkish goverrnment, have banned themselves by posting “Access is Denied” on their home pages. Critics have said that these steps by the Turkish government is an affront to the freedom of speech rights.

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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