Scientific Games Signs Massive, Decade-Long Deal to Provide Sports Betting to Turkish Government Monopoly

Posted on: March 5, 2019, 02:25h. 

Last updated on: March 5, 2019, 02:25h.

US casino equipment and gaming solutions giant Scientific Games has won a major contract to provide land-based and mobile sports betting technology to Turkey’s state-owned sports betting company, IDDAA, exclusively, for the next ten years.

Scientific Games
Yildirim Demirören, chairman of Scientific Games’ domestic partner, resigned as head of the Turkish Football Federation over the perception of a conflict of interest on the IDDAA deal, but questions remain about his links to the government. (Image:

Turkey, a country of almost 80 million people, is the largest state-owned sports betting market in Europe and among the top three in the world.

As part of a joint-venture with domestic conglomerate Demirören Group, SG will provide its turnkey solution across at least 5,300 retail outlets throughout the country. It will supply IDDAA with both central system hardware and software, terminals, maintenance, and risk management.

Demirören is one of the biggest companies in Turkey, owning gas stations, real-estate, and media, including several TV, radio stations, and newspapers. The joint venture will be known as Şans Girişim, loosely translated as “Chance Initiative.”

Turkish Soccer Conflict

Şans Girişim won the bid three weeks ago, but the deal was sealed this week with the agreement of IDDAA. However, politicians from Turkey’s main opposition CHP party have criticized the contract due to Demirören Group chairman Yildirim Demirören’s media interests and links to the Turkish government.

Demirören was, until five days ago, also head of the country’s soccer governing body, the Turkish Football Federation. He resigned in order toprevent any shadows and debates in Turkey’s public and the international arena,” paving the way for the sports betting deal, according to Hurriyet, a major daily newspaper he has owned since last year.

For long a beacon of secularist democracy forming a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, Turkey has experienced democratic backsliding under President Recep Erdogan, who has been criticized for political purges, imprisonment of opponents, and the curbing of press freedoms, while increasing his executive powers.

Tough on Illegal Operators

Turkey was one of the first countries in the world to become a true black market for online gambling companies, passing a law in 2007 to prohibit their operations. In 2013, it became the first country in the world to target individual players with prosecution, rather than just operators.

IDDAA is the only entity licensed to offer sports betting, or any form of online gambling. The government has recently intensified its fight against the black market, giving a task force composed of the country’s financial crimes unit, banking regulation agency, communication technologies authority, and police force sweeping new powers to target websites and internet cafes that facilitate illicit gambling.

This includes preventing financial institutions from processing online gambling transactions and the seizing of the incomes of gambling operators and employees.