|Two UK-based employees of online sportsbook and casino operator Sportingbet were detained last week in Turkey along with a number of people related to the firm’s Turkish facing business, Superbahis.|
In a statement to the stock market, the online gambling provider revealed that Turkish officials had detained a number of people related to Superbahis, particularly from its former marketing partner in the region, Maslin Properties. However, numerous media outlets have speculated that the detained Sportingbet employees were Turkish nationals visiting the country on holiday but the firm stated that it had received no formal clarification of events from authorities and declined further comment.
Sportingbet is one of the few operators that did not withdraw from the Turkish market following a crackdown on online gaming in March of last year that saw the Government pass a law banning the provision of Internet gambling by foreign firms. This legislation was seen as an attempt to protect the partly State-owned gambling company IDDAA and, mindful of the clampdown in America the year before, payment processor Neteller pulled out along with operator Bwin.
Sportingbet stated that taking bets from Turkey is legal because its computer servers and customer service operations are based in Guernsey and Dublin and reaffirmed its intention to carry on taking wagers from customers in the country. But, the London-based company emphasised that the importance of its Turkish business was in decline as the nation represented only 14 percent of its net gaming revenues for the previous quarter compared to approximately 26 percent for the previous period.
“In order to build a more balanced geographic risk profile for the business, the group has, over recent months, been gradually reducing its reliance on this market,” read a statement from Sportingbet.