Turkey’s Hard-line Stance on Online Casinos Attacked
By Jon Young
One of the most respected lawyers in EC law has attacked Turkey’s hard-line stance on Internet gambling, describing the new draconian measures against operators as “a disproportionate and misguided challenge to the constitutional principles of free trade enshrined in EU law.”

According to the recently proposed “Government Bill regarding Application of Amendments on Certain Laws with Law on Arrangement of Book Making on Football Contests”, all operations of gaming companies, domestic or foreign, without authorisation from the Turkish government, offering gaming services on the Internet, face imprisonment from two to five years together with draconic fines. To promote, facilitate or participate in these activities are also strictly prohibited and criminalised.

Attorney Dr. Ola Wiklund, Attorney at Wistrand Law Firm, Stockholm and an Associate Professor at Stockholm University, is one of the foremost commentators on egaming law.

“The Bill sets up the most authoritarian gaming regime in the Western World. The Bill rests primarily on financial considerations and state purse concerns. The Turkish government wishes to make a pre-emptive strike against private gaming companies who offers considerably more favourable terms for the consumer by way of better odds and higher return rate,” said Dr Wiklund.

“The Turkish State wishes to adopt through the State controlled operators (notably Iddaa) an aggressive and expansive policy with a view to increasing the State’s income from gambling. It is astonishing that this policy also allows the private shareholders of the State controlled undertakings to benefit. This would be wholly unacceptable within the EU.”

“It would be deplorable if it will create an obstacle for the ongoing integration process between Turkey and Europe,” he concluded.

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