TURKEY TO ATTACK ONLINE GAMBLING ? - Saturday 12th of March 2005

According to the Turkish daily news the burgeoning Internet gambling industry in Turkey could face legislative difficulties in the months ahead. Government ministries and other organisations are to launch a campaign to fight online gambling and betting, by blocking Web sites, following credit card transactions and introducing new taxes

 

The number of illegal gambling and betting sites on the Internet is increasing day by day, says the report. Committees composed of various Turkish state ministries, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), universities, Internet service providers and various non-governmental organisations are pursuing efforts to combat such sites, reports the Anatolia news agency.

 

Related units are working to fight illegal gambling and betting sites through introducing legal sanctions. In this respect, it has been decided that certain clauses would be added to a draft bill that seeks to reorganise the Turkish National Lottery Administration's (MPI) structure.

 

Under the bill, the MPI will be in charge of undertaking arrangements on and oversee ???virtual??? betting games and lottery draws. Furthermore, those violating the new decrees will face fines and imprisonment.

 

One of the courses of action the MPI will be responsible for, in coordination with relevant committees, is to block access to illegal gaming and betting sites over the Internet. Similarly, advertisement of such sites from other sites on the Internet will also be considered illegal, in an attempt to decrease their business.

 

And unspecified but *related* committees are proposing that people gambling online could be tracked through their credit card transactions. It has been determined that $2 million is spent on online gambling through credit card transactions in Turkey. Whilst some factions want criminal sanctions, banks believe that such an approach would not be in conformity with the law as it presently stands.

 

Turkey's General Directorate of Revenues is adding more pressure by preparing a new bill that would place taxes on online gambling and betting sites. A top official from the directorate, noting that credit cards and money orders are being used in this "illegal activity", said, ???Banks and other administrative institutions will add the ???lottery tax' to any activity related to online gambling.??? The official said that although the current lottery tax is around 10 percent, the one applied on virtual games will be twice this rate.

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