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Turkey Online Casinos – Our Top Picks for 2020

Turkey

It’s quite a unique mix of tradition and modernity that makes Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, a regional power that serves as something of a bridge between the Middle East and Europe. This nation may be home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, but the country isn’t thought of as an Islamic nation in the way many others are. The government is secular, and the people here draw on a large number of ethnic and cultural traditions. 

The mix of secular traditions and Muslim values has meant that gambling has been treated very differently at various points in the nation’s history. While the recent past saw an expansion of casino gaming, the balance has since shifted towards prohibition, and today there is little in the way of gaming either in land-based or online forms.

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State-Owned Firm Dominates Online Landscape

Online casinos in Turkey are treated similarly to land-based gaming under current laws. This means that what is legally available is generally controlled by the state.

In fact, all online gambling is prohibited with the exception on the state-owned IDDAA, the sole provider of sports betting in Turkey. This is great for those who prefer to bet on soccer or other sports, but not so satisfactory for those who want to play at the best online casinos.

The government has repeatedly made it very clear that they would like to keep foreign operators out of the market. 

In 2006, a new law made it illegal not only for groups to offer casino games in Turkey, but also for individuals to play them. Further efforts have taken a tact similar to those in the United States and other countries, making it illegal for Turkish banks to authorize payments to and from gaming sites.

Despite all of these efforts, there are still many offshore operators who market their real money casino games to players in Turkey. With no regulatory framework in place, they simply allow Turkish punters to sign up for accounts if they want to. This is something numerous people in the country have taken advantage of for many years following the new legislation - which was implemented in 2007. However, recent crackdowns have seen the Turkish government increase its efforts to try and limit, or at least to dissuade citizens who play at international online casinos.


Turkey Online Casino Payment Methods

When it comes to payment methods, there are a few popular methods. While debit and credit card payments used to be the most popular method, when banks started to be investigated for allowing payments made to unlicensed foreign casinos, many ceased allowing such payments and money transfer. This leaves online casino players with two alternative payment methods.

Cryptocurrencies

Turkey is responsible for a large percentage of cryptocurrency payments in Europe, and this is echoed in the world of online gambling in Turkey. 

Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency cousins are not considered to be money by the Turkish government, which means that buying, selling, trading, and most importantly, spending of cryptocurrencies is not regulated. This provides a loophole for real money gambling that many players take advantage of.

Ecopayz

Ecopayz is another popular choice for Turkish online casino players. This eWallet keeps banking information safe and avoids banks discovering the movement of money to sidestep the potential blocking of payments. Other eWallets such as Skrill are used, but these can often result in certain bonuses (apart from no deposit bonuses in Turkey) being unavailable to players. 


Software Developers at Turkey Online Casinos

With many international operators still providing their services to players in Turkey, there are no shortage of gaming options, including titles from the top developers in the industry. The majority of online casinos in Turkey use a selection of the following software packages:

  • Microgaming – Microgaming provide a wide range of slots, the top titles from this developer include Game of Thrones (and recent sequel Game of Thrones Power Reels), and progressive jackpots such as Mega Moolah.
  • NetEnt – NetEnt are one of the best-known software developers in the world. While best known for slots such as Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst, and a collection of progressive jackpots like Mega Fortune, online casinos in Turkey also offer the table and card game suite from NetEnt. 
  • Playtech – Players can enjoy Playtech’s casino games online in Turkey, with an impressive live casino suite, and some of the best progressive jackpot slots around, namely the expansive Age of the Gods series.
  • BetSoft – BetSoft are known best for the playful nature of their games. The likes of Birds and Greedy Goblins provide entertaining graphics and exciting and innovative gameplay features.
  • Barcrest – While Barcrest have a host of entertaining games for Turkey online casino players, it is the Rainbow Riches series that stands out as the jewel in the developer’s crown. 

The 2017 Crackdown and 2019 Raids 

While looking for a new partner for the state-run sports betting services the Turkish government also announced the country’s biggest crackdown on illegal gambling services in early 2019. The Cybercrime Division Branch of Istanbul’s Security Directorate carried out numerous simultaneous raids involving over 5,000 officers in nearly 50 Turkish provinces. 

These raids were not to do with online gambling services provided by international operators nor did were they targeting players. Instead, they were a result of the government uncovering numerous illegal gambling operations being carried out in the country behind fronts of cosmetic companies, travel services, and other businesses. This front was thought to be worth well over $500m.

These raids were part of a huge national crackdown that started in 2017 and ran through the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

The crackdown has seen all attention turn to international providers. While there have not yet been any moves towards clamping down further on offshore companies providing games in Turkey, all eyes are on the government’s next moves to see if any action will be taken.


SG Partners Up for National Sports Betting Services

After a well-documented hunt for a sports betting partner, it was Scientific Games that ultimately won. This saw the developer launch a joint venture in late 2019. 

The fixed odds betting market in Turkey is one of the largest in the world, so this was a big coup for Scientific Games. SG Gaming is also the official partner for the Turkish National Lottery. 

This gives the company not only two lucrative contracts in the country, but also, one would assume, first call if foreign operators are allowed to start offering casino games online in Turkey. 


State Operates Legal Turkey Casino Options

Gambling in Turkey hasn’t always been so hard to find. Back in 1990, the country started licensing casinos, with the industry providing as many as 20,000 jobs in the country. But after concerns of money laundering and corruption in the industry began to intensify, the government began considering restrictions on the resorts in an attempt to reign in their practices.

The final straw may have been the assassination of Omer Lutfu Topal, a man known as the “casino king,” in July 1996. By September, the venues had been limited to opening for just eight hours each day, and all winnings were to be paid out by check as a part of the new anti-money laundering regime. 

Predictably, these reforms didn’t sit well with casino owners, who saw them as an extreme overreaction that threatened their businesses. For months, operators engaged in negotiations with government officials over the future of the industry, with just about everything on the table: how many resorts there would be, where they could be located, and how much they would be taxed.

Given the ongoing discussions, it came as a surprise to many when on December 17 of the same year, the national government announced that all casinos would eventually be closed. With rumors that family members close to members of parliament being involved in the murder quashed, officials said that the bigger issue was that most of the revenue from the resorts was coming from local bettors, not the foreign tourists and high rollers they had hoped to recruit.

Casino owners fought back against this measure, and they managed to stay open for more than another year while legal battles proceeded in the nation’s court system. The courts decided to side with the with the government, and the final resorts closed on February 11, 1998.

Today, virtually all of the authorized gambling in Turkey is controlled by state-owned firms and the most popular way to wager money is through the state-run lottery. Parimutuel wagering is also allowed on horse races throughout the country.


Anti-Gambling Sentiment is Popular, At Least Publicly

Given the current social and political climate in Turkey, it seems unlikely that expansion will come to the gaming sector in the near future. With conservative Islamists currently holding power in government, betting is one of many social ills that are broadly condemned, and the public seems to be in line with that view.

While a 2014 poll found that 80 percent of Turkish adults found gambling to be morally unacceptable, it seems as though there is still plenty of gambling going on, suggesting that there’s plenty of underground play going on. Police raids on illegal card rooms and other venues are still common, and many locations that have been shut down later reappear with names designed to make them appear more respectable. Hefty prison sentences as a result of the 2019 raids, may put a stop to this practice, or at least slow it down substantially.

None of this bodes well for the future of online gaming in Turkey. Although the state-owned site may continue to operate, it is unlikely that attempts to ban foreign sites will prove particularly effective. A more substantial move towards regulation seems unlikely, meaning Turkish players who want to play their favorite betting games online will likely have to continue doing so in the shadows.

Turkey Casinos Online FAQ

The only legal gambling sites available in Turkey are those run by the state, but many international casino operators have decided to provide games and services to players in Turkey due to a lack of regulations. Find out more about online casino games in Turkey in our country-specific guide with all the up to date information, recommendations, and tips to play.

Not all online casinos are equal, and some are less safe than others. Our online casino reviews will help you to ensure that your chosen casino will keep you and your money safe and secure. Our best tips would be to always join licensed casinos and read their playing terms carefully so you know what awaits once you start playing.

The best online casinos in Turkey are those that offer a range of games, have a variety of payment methods, and tempting offers and promotions. Top of the range security and prompt customer service is also a must in all our recommended sites. Check out the list of the best online casinos that we’ve put together, and make your choice.

Seeing as most banks in Turkey will not allow payments to be made with debit or credit cards, the more popular alternative to use with the local Turkish Lira are e-wallets such as Ecopayz and Skrill. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are also very popular in Turkey and are unregulated and legal. Terms and conditions may apply for certain payment methods.

Legal gambling options in Turkey are quite restricted to those that are provided by the state - the national lottery and sports betting through the IDDAA. Slots and other casino games are currently not legal. However, this hasn’t stopped players from gambling at online sites, and neither does it stop international operators giving these Turkish players the chance to do so.

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