Which are the leading online betting sites in Turkey?
Take a look at our table with the best online bookmakers for Turkey.
While Turkey is officially a secular state, most of its citizens are Sunni Muslims with strongly held religious beliefs. In recent years, the government of the country has been steadily leaning more towards following Islamic (or Sharia) law. This has led to the country cracking down on all forms of gambling, which is viewed as Haram (forbidden) by the Qu’ran.
Officially, there are just nine “casinos” in the whole of Turkey, despite it being a nation of close to ninety million inhabitants. Unofficially, even this is misleading. These so-called casinos are, in fact, nothing more than bookmaker shops. They simply offer limited sports betting and a place to buy tickets for the official state lottery.
Interesting facts about betting in Turkey
- Casino gambling was legalized in Turkey in 1983, but Turkish Nationals were prohibited from entering the gaming areas of these new casinos! Tourism was becoming a major contributor to the Turkish economy, and the country felt that allowing casino gambling would be a surefire way to attract more Western tourists.
- This law was relaxed in 1995, allowing Turks to use the gaming tables in their own country for the first time. However, this was a controversial decision as hardline conservatives already felt that casinos should never have been permitted within the country in the first place.
- Within less than a year of this change to the law, Turkish Businessman and multiple casino owner Omer Lutfu Topal was brutally murdered. Omer was nicknamed “The Casino King”, and many of the more religious Turkish citizens believed his involvement in spreading casinos and gambling throughout their country amounted to blasphemy.
- Less than two years later, a newly elected government formed by the Islamic Welfare Party passed a new law that closed down all 78 casinos operating within the country. Sports betting continued to be allowed in some capacity. Still, new laws and regulations have continued to be introduced ever since. Further limiting the rights of Turkish citizens to participate in a betting-related activity.
- Suppose you choose to gamble at an offshore site. In that case, you are expected to log and report your winnings to the tax authorities anyway. It is unclear whether you could then be prosecuted for trying to do the right thing by paying your taxes!
- In 2009, it was estimated that a quarter of Swedish gambling firm Betsson’s revenues came from its operations in Turkey. This suggests that gambling is much more popular in Turkey than some would have you believe!
Gambling Legislation and Laws
Online gambling was specifically forbidden throughout Turkey in 2007, except for a state-owned sports betting company known as IDDAA. Despite the ban, many operators continued to operate in the country until 2017. That is when a series of tougher penalties came into force. The majority of online bookmakers no longer offer their services to Turkish customers.
The IDDAA does now offer online casino gambling too. As with all monopolies, the lack of competition means little incentive to offer gamblers a good deal. As such, the odds offered by this organization are extremely poor. Many Turks do choose to use the service, though, rather than break the law.
Whilst several online casinos claim to be legal in Turkey, the only ones who are truly legal are all part of this IDDAA setup. However, they offer identical services and odds. Below, we have listed a few of the last alternatives that are still participating in the Turkish market.
Top online betting websites in Turkey
Take a look at our top recommended betting websites for Turkish customers:
Competition between Operators
The government monopoly and a low number of alternatives give all of these companies little reason to compete too heavily with each other. They are all taking a major risk by being in the country in the first place, after all. Despite this, 1xBet, 22bet, and BetWinner all offer sign-up bonuses as well as offering free bets to their regular customers.
Promotions such as these are generally not offered by the IDDAA because they are incompatible with the teachings of the religion. Whilst some things can be said to be open to interpretation. However, the whole concept of a bonus is particularly problematic for believers.
For those who do wish to gamble, there is no question that the international betting sites listed above offer a better deal than the IDDAA. Ascertaining which offers the best value of the three is a little more difficult to do without proper access to their websites.
Bonuses from Turkish Bookmakers
Many sites offer a small no deposit bonus to new players as an incentive for signing up with a new online casino or sports betting site. As ever, though, the primary draw is the deposit match bonuses. These seem to be in the region of 100% up to around €100-€150 for the online sites we have discussed here.
Free spins and reload bonuses are sometimes offered for players of Turkish online casinos, too.
Betting features and Options in the Turkish Bookmakers
Online sports betting has been revolutionized over the past decade via a series of innovations that largely began at Bet365 and quickly spread out from there to other operators. Some examples of these features would be:
Most of these advanced features are now commonplace at all online sportsbooks, although unsurprisingly, the IDDAA is the one place where some of these features are currently missing!
Available Payment Methods
If you wish to place bets with any operator other than the state-controlled IDDAA, you need to be very careful about how you choose to deposit and withdraw. The Turkish Government actively pursues and prosecutes both individuals and banking companies that facilitate illegal online gambling.
A nationwide Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) has been set up to oversee and block transactions to and from international betting sites. This makes bank transfers and debit/credit card payments all but impossible, but some other options do exist.
The largest e-wallets Skrill and NETELLER, do not currently accept Turkish customers. However, WebMoney, ecoPayz, and Jeton are all still available at present. Prepaid cards, including Paysafecard, are an ideal option for depositing. But withdrawing using these cards can sometimes be problematic.
Mobile Betting in Turkey
Smartphone betting is available via both the IDDAA controlled sites as well as 1xBet, 22bet, and BetWinner. This is one area in which Turkey does not currently lag behind other countries. Sports betting is particularly well served for Turkish bettors, although this is not the result of any particular effort on the part of the IDDAA or the international gaming sites.
Adobe’s Flash Software was officially dropped from the internet in December 2020, which forced a hard deadline on all providers of online gambling software by which they needed to update their software platforms. This forced all websites that used streaming video or interactive content to update their services or risk having their services become inaccessible.
Additionally, more than 60% of all internet access is now performed using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Desktop computers and laptops are fast becoming the preserve of enthusiasts and businesses. So it makes little sense for any company offering a recreational activity via the internet to fail to update their software so that it functions properly for users of these devices.
Like all other forms of online gambling, online casinos are prohibited in Turkey except for those operated and run by the state-controlled IDDAA. The IDDAA does offer online casino gambling nowadays, but the selection of games on offer is poor, and it is clearly not a priority for the organization.
The international sites do much better in this regard, and any gaming provider who allows their software to be offered under a Curacao license can usually be found on these online casinos. As we discussed further up in this article, sites such as BetWinner even have Live Casino and Poker games available, and top-tier providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, BetSoft, and Thunderkick are even available as well.
Leading Sports for Betting in Turkey
Football remains the most popular sport amongst Turkish gamblers. This is unsurprising as the sport is wildly popular throughout the country. The country is home to several world-class teams, including Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and Galatasaray. They all play in the nations own elite Süper Lig as well as being regular competitors in top European competitions such as the Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
Basketball is another hugely common target for Turkish bettors, as the country’s second most popular team sport. The country has its own Basketball Super League (BSL) with 16 teams and is one of the few leagues outside of the USA where the NBA regularly scouts for up-and-coming talent. Turkish Basketball is even popular with bettors in other countries, too. Live streams of the games can be found on some of the largest international bookmakers far outside of Turkish borders, a true testament to the high quality of Basketball played within the country.
Volleyball is a niche sport in some countries but is a common recreational activity amongst many Turks and throughout much of the Middle East in general. The domestic Efe League sees lots of betting activity, and the individual teams have been very successful in Europe-wide Volleyball competitions. Unfortunately for Turkey, their National team has not been so lucky.
- Horse Racing
Horse Racing is popular with gamblers around the world, and Turkey is no different. Betting on horse racing has been allowed in the country for some time, with track-side bets being legal as far back as 1953. Whilst the Turkish Derby doesn’t quite attract the same level of interest as the British Grand National or Cheltenham meets, prize money usually exceeds the $400,000 mark.
The profile of a Turkish bettor
An interesting question regarding Turkish Bettors might be, who is the primary market? Is it primarily ex-pats, or are there a large number of non-practising Muslims also taking part as well? Online gambling is illegal in large parts of the USA, but the risks associated with participating in the practice are low. Few prosecutions have resulted from US online gambling, despite the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the theoretical risks and penalties associated with doing so.
This is not the case in Turkey. The threat of prosecution for breaking gambling-related laws is very real in Turkey, particularly for businesses and financial institutions that are assisting players with making bets.
What is clear is that the majority of Turkish Bettors are participating in the activity via the state-sanctioned IDDAA despite the poor odds and lack of promotions and other incentives. The winds of change do regularly blow in Turkey, though, so perhaps things could improve if the country begins to move back towards its secular heritage at any time in the future.
Is online betting legal in Turkey?
Yes, but only via the state-owned sports betting company the IDDAA. All other forms of Internet gambling are expressly prohibited, and those caught engaging in such activity are liable to receive some of the harshest penalties in the world.
Are there any taxes for Turkish players on their winnings?
Yes, all forms of gambling winnings are taxed in Turkey. The rates are set at 5% for sports betting, 7% for horse racing, and 10% for all other games of chance. Players are responsible for calculating and paying their taxes, including any tax payable for bets placed with overseas gambling companies.
Can I open an account and play in TRY?
Most sites that offer Turkish citizens the ability to play will usually allow them to place bets in Turkish Lira (TRY) to make it easier for players to understand how much they are betting. Try to avoid actually converting between currencies, though, whenever you are given the option, as a charge will often be levied for this.
Are there any betting restrictions for Turkish players?
As detailed above, online gambling is prohibited unless you choose to play via the state-controlled monopoly, and even in-person betting is restricted to a handful of licensed venues. Payments to foreign-owned gambling companies are blocked where possible and prosecuted later if detected. In short, almost everything to do with betting is restricted to some extent in Turkey.
Which is the best foreign betting site that accepts Turkish players?
We like 1xBet the best, but all three of the sites listed in our section “Top online betting websites in Turkey” near the top of this page are trustworthy and offer much better odds than the state-owned monopoly. There may be other sites too, but please exercise caution when depositing money with online casinos from inside Turkey – ensure the site you are using is regulated by a trustworthy authority, use a VPN to hide your traffic, and never, ever use your debit or credit card to purchase casino chips.
Is it true that the Turkish Government has blocked players from using Bitcoin to gamble online?
It is certainly true that there was a major campaign in the Turkish media suggesting that the government intended to use their newly formed Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) to prevent the use of Bitcoin for online gambling. It is unclear how the Turkish Government believes this can be done. Even if they do, second-generation cryptocurrencies such as Monero that offer complete anonymity will prevent any such attempts to block online gambling in this manner.
Sports betting in Turkey is highly regulated, and the state-controlled monopoly makes it very difficult to regularly make a profit if you want to stay on the right side of the law. As the first country in the world to prosecute individual players for participating in unregulated online betting, it is very difficult to recommend getting involved in online gambling unless you are extremely proficient in using VPN software and purchasing and trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Turkish citizens who still wish to get involved in sports betting should be sure to use only the state-owned sports betting sites operated by the IDDAA unless they are comfortable with the possibility of being prosecuted and served a penalty of up to $700.