Turkey Looks to Rein in Crypto-Based Online Gambling


Local Turkish media is reporting the Turkish government is looking to trace crypto transactions going through the most popular Bitcoin exchange sites in the nation as a way of shutting down Bitcoin gambling websites. Part of the reason for the push is to enable Turkish authorities to generate more budget receipts (IE tax them more).

Taxing In Times of Turmoil

Military tensions between Turkey and Syria are escalating at the moment. That’s an ongoing political issue plaguing both countries. Perhaps a bigger problem affecting both Turkey, Syria and Bitcoin gambling businesses at large is the coronavirus outbreak that’s currently taking the world by storm. It’s the reason the stock market is seeing some of its biggest losses since 2008 and the price of Bitcoin is moving sideways.

Couple these tumultuous conditions with Turkey’s newfound desire to curb unregulated betting and it’s obvious the country is picking exactly the right time to try and bring down Bitcoin gambling sites and specifically targeting profiteers that continue to make money under the table and keep it out of the hands of the nation’s government.

More on Turkish Legislation

While many gambling enthusiasts around the world taking betting online for granted, the reality is many countries frown upon it and make it more difficult to access sites. Online gambling in Turkey on the other hand is strictly prohibited.

Now, the Turkish governing body that oversees financial crimes in the country, called Masak, is actually drafting up legislation that will block both local and foreign websites facilitating Bitcoin gambling, making it considerably more difficult to put wagers down in the first place.

Trying to Recoup Revenues

Masak and other governing bodies in Turkey relating to technology and telecommunications are working together to push legislation forward in the nation’s parliament. Early findings in the research of these bodies suggest the country is missing out on between $350-$400 million Turkish Lira in tax revenue. That’s the equivalent of approximately $64 million USD.

Current restrictions have been in place since 2018 and it’s estimated that Turkey has seen more than $1.6 billion USD in revenue funnel into its coffers across not just Bitcoin gambling sites but also traditional fiat gambling platforms since that time.

Hayrettin Kurt of the Financial Crimes Investigation Board says that the country currently levies fines ranging from $10,000 to $43,000 Lira, which is worth approximately $7,000 USD per violation. That may or may not be a lot of money to a Bitcoin gambling operator depending the size of the website.

Nearly Impossible to Stop Cryptocurrency

Veteran Bitcoiners and gamblers alike aren’t seeing what’s happening in Turkey right now for the first time. The reality is governments are chasing Bitcoin with new regulations on a regular basis. The good news is trying to stop a decentralized technology in its tracks is virtually impossible. That’s gamblers need not worry about the future. As more and more governments take aim at exchanges and gambling operators, more and more innovators are finding ways to give these businesses and the citizens of the countries they operate in access to liquidity and more importantly, access to the freedom to choose.

So while the Turkish government and others like it continue to crack the whip in search of more tax revenues, gamblers will continue finding ways to indulge in their risky behaviors in search of a big win. That will always be true whether the casino is of the brick and mortar variety, online, centralized, decentralized, uses cash, chips or cryptocurrencies.

Let the arms race continue, and the winnings go to those willing to continue taking chances.

Jack Choros byline

Jack Choros

Jack first invested in Bitcoin in 2016 and continues to gamble with it to this day. He loves the Toronto Raptors as much as he loves cryptocurrency. Jack’s work has appeared on ESPN Radio, Yahoo Sports, OddShark.com and many cryptocurrency related publications, namely BTCGG.com.

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