Turkey readies measures to combat illegal gambling

HAZAL ATEŞ
ANKARA
Published
Current fines imposed on illegal gambling are far from punitive, with businesses that host gambling activities usually escaping with a slap on the wrist.
Current fines imposed on illegal gambling are far from punitive, with businesses that host gambling activities usually escaping with a slap on the wrist.

The government is currently considering a range of measures to stop illegal gambling, including seizing the proceeds of such activities and issuing steep fines on shops allowing internet gambling

The government is in the process of initiating a nation-wide offensive against illegal gambling. The two-year plan under consideration will introduce several regulations that will allow authorities to better tackle illegal gambling dens and internet gambling sites.

The plan will be implemented by the Interior and Justice Ministries in coordination with the Revenues Department and the Police Department. While an awareness campaign targeting teenagers and children will outline the many negative effects of gambling, authorities will also discourage the purveyors of such criminal activities through punitive measures.

The first step will be the establishment of a team, headed by a special prosecutor, with members from the Financial Crimes Investigation Council (MASAK), Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Revenues Department and Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) and other relevant agencies.

Those organizers and intermediaries who are found to have profited from illegal gambling will forfeit their income. Houses, where illegal gambling takes place, will be temporarily seized by the state.

Shops like internet cafes that allow customers to access illegal gambling sites will receive huge fines. The use of credit cards or banking transactions that allows illegal gambling will be prevented through measures that will be implemented by the BDDK. The same agency will also prevent the use of alternative spending methods, such as Bitcoin, ethereum and ripple, for illegal gambling activities.

The BTK will send SMS's to citizens who access illegal gambling sites. The Interior Ministry will hang posters at many internet cafes or coffee houses telling customers that gambling is illegal.

Internet pages that broadcast TV shows and pornographic material as a cover to advertise gambling sites will be shut down. Any advertisement that encourages gambling will be banned. The public will be invited to alert authorities if they see any overt or covert advertisements for gambling.

Search engines will also be monitored, and users who are directed to gambling sites through adverts will be warned.

Authorities are also studying ways to close all the legal loopholes that allow the reopening of illegal gambling houses despite being repeatedly closed down.

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