Turkey, where the East meets the West. Although officially a secular state with over 70million inhabitants, the vast majority of Turks are practicing Muslims. As a religion with a very low tolerance for gambling, recent times have seen a stringent and prohibitive measures taken by governments in power to limit betting activity. The Turkish stance seems somewhat paradoxical given that the country has an active application in process to join the European Economic Community, a community characterised by free trade and no religious barriers. Is there any way for Turks to strike a bet on the internet in the current climate? Yes! Tusrkish people can bet online, although as you will see below, their options are limited. Read the full guide before signing up to any betting sites.
Land based casino gambling was initially legalised across Turkey in 1983. However, Turkish citizens were banned from the live gaming areas of the casinos, with the casinos primarily in place to attract tourist money. In 1995, the law changed and Turkish people were free to use the gaming tables. Just two years later, somewhat surprisingly, the newly elected Islamic Welfare Party passed a new law which meant that all of the 78 nationwide casinos had to be closed. Whilst citing money laundering and other criminal activity as justifiable reasons, it is widely believed that the new legislation was based upon religious and moral grounds.
Slowly but surely, the Turkish government implemented a string of different laws and regulations which reduced betting activity. This culminated in the outlawing of all online gambling in 2007, apart from through the state owned sports betting company IDDAA.
Whilst other countries in and around Europe have outlawed online gambling, or confined the market to a state-owned monopoly, none appear to have aggressively targeted companies and individuals who flaunt the laws as much as the Turkish authorities. In the past five years, over 130 online gambling sites have been shut down by the Turkish National Lottery.  In 2008, the Turkish authorities arrested two Sporting Bet employees, whose company was facilitating online gaming in the country.
Initially, the threats of the Turkish government were not enough to deter some major international bookmakers from accepting Turkish citizens. Publicly listed Swedish firm Betsson were unperturbed by the potential risks involved, especially as the Turkish market was extremely lucrative – making up more than 26% of their revenue. 
However, in the summer of 2013, legislation was proposed in Turkish parliament, which planned on imposing fines of up to £180,000 on players using illegal betting websites. Under the proposed new laws, unlicensed companies and payment processors, banks and advertisers were also in the firing line, facing hefty fines and potentially prison sentences for facilitating or promoting illegal online activity. This seemed to alter the attitude of the European bookmakers, with many withdrawing their services to Turkish clientele.
Firms No Longer Offering Services To Turkey
None of the bookmakers listed below are now prepared to take on Turkish customers:
Bet At Home
Interestingly, the William Hill site is offered in Turkish and there is a drop down option for Turkish customers on the sign-up page (most sites don’t offer this), but once selected, the customers are informed that they are not eligible for an account.
One of the few foreign firms who do provide their services, are TempoBet. Based out of Curacao (a long way from Turkey), this firm are extremely popular with Turkish citizens, and they avoid a permanent banning of their website, by altering their IP address and changing which site customers are directed to on a regular basis. For instance, on one particular day, tempobet22.com was used.
Three Turkish bookmakers; ForvertBet, Artemisbet and SuperBahis all continue to operate in spite of the illegality of their actions. Again they constantly change their IP address and domain name, adding numbers to their company name to prevent their sites being blocked. These companies offer sign up bonuses, live support and a plethora of markets, including in play. However, we recommend sticking with the sites recommended in the table above.
Turkish firms typically offer a wide range of options when it comes to customers funding their accounts. Bank transfers, Visa and Mastercard, Ukash, Speedcard and Wester Union can be used with SuperBahis. FovertBet offer additional e-wallets such as NETeller, WebMoney and Skrill.
With the Turkish government actively pursuing and prosecuting individuals and banks who participate in online gambling with unlicensed firms, bank transfer and debit/credit card payment seem a risky proposition and online e-wallets offer a little disguise on account activity.
Turkish citizens are absolutely fanatical about their football, with Besiktas, Fenerbache and Galatasaray regularly represented in the top European competitions. Galatasaray were the last team to win a notable trophy, scooping the 2000 UEFA Cup and the European Super Cup. Recent injections of cash have attracted marquee names such as Frank Ribery, Roberto Carlos and other famous players to the country. Alongside watching football, the Turks love to bet on it too. On the Forvetbet website, the Turkish Super Lig is listed as the most popular market, with the English Premier League second.
Basketball and volleyball have also had increased participation rates since the turn of the millennia. The Turkish Basketball League (TBL) is a professional league with 16 teams. There are three separate divisions so participation and interest in the sport is high.
Horse racing has been and remains to be a popular sport in Turkey. The equine industry is big in the country, with thousands of horses bred each year. The Derby is held at Veliefendi in Istanbul and regularly attracts foreign raiders from the UK & Ireland, with prize money usually exceeding £300,000. As the Turkish Jockey Club is a non-profit organisation, it has escaped the stringent regulation that applies to other betting activities. The trackside pari-mutuel is big business and in 2010 was estimated to have seen a half a billion turnover.
Citizens in many countries who impose tight regulations are able to ignore the law without much fear of consequence. However in Turkey, the live threat of prosecution makes betting online a more dangerous activity. The clear intent the Turkish authorities have displayed in policing the law, has scared off most of the major foreign operators, who have ceased offering their services to Turkish citizens. The future is not completely bleak for those in Turkey who wish to freely have a bet online; Turkey have long been in discussions to join the EEC and it is likely that they would only be granted acceptance if they relax their laws and enable a freer trade environment.