The government of Turkey is launching a new campaign which goal is to completely solve the problem with illegal gambling in the country. The offensive, which is planned to span over the next two years, will help put an end to illicit activities with its measures and solutions.
The specifically designed range of measures will help put an end to all underground operations and gambling activities. It will affect both land-based gaming hubs and gambling websites which need regulation, provided by the Interior and Justice Ministries in collaboration with the local Police Department and the Revenues Department. The first step in the two-year plan for improvement of the gambling situation in Turkey is raising the awareness among the public with an informational campaign.
Focusing on children and teenagers, it will make clearer the negative impact gambling has on both society as a whole and on the individual. In addition to that, the nationwide plan has in itself a certain range of conditions for the punishments which would be imposed in the case of illegal gambling operations. The team will be overseen by a special prosecutor and it will be composed of members of the Turkish financial crimes unit (MASAK), while the banking regulation agency (BDDK) and the communication technologies authority (BTK) will also participate in the crackdown.
In 1998 land-based casinos were banned in Turkey, followed by a 2006 ban on online casinos. This, of course, left the country with the only legal option of gambling participation limited to the national lottery and the SporToto, which is a sports betting outfit run by the state. As a part of the intervention campaign, the government is planning, gaming platforms and brick-and-mortar gambling operators would be investigated by the National regulatory authorities if there are any signs of unauthorized activities going on. For the venues which have been operating illegally, hefty jail terms could be given, since this is a case of violation of the law.
Among the wide variety of measures in the two-year plan, are the amendment of the current legislation, Internet monitoring, curbing gambling both real-life and cyber payment services, banning gambling advertisements, increasing the awareness of gambling as a problem, and punitive fines levied on illegal online operators. To further increase the control over gambling participation, people who access online gambling pages via their smartphones will be contacted with an SMS by the Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority. This is a preemptive measure which aims to stop them from entering such web pages in the future.