Three upcoming gambling events in Turkey

Article by Rob van der Gaast

The present political turmoil in Turkey will not stop three huge major gambling events which are planned for this year. Of course there is the European championship football, for which the national Turkish squad has been qualified. And this event will create very good times for the bookies, worldwide and in particular for the Turkish Iddaa sports football betting.

Above that the privatization of the National Lottery will happen and the tender for operating the Turkish sports betting for a period of 10 years will take place.

The only sports betting – with the exclusion of horse betting – is Iddaa, which means ‘bet’. Iddaa began operating in April 2004 and became an instant success. This weekly fixed betting game can be played on more than a hundred football matches of world football leagues!

The sales performance of Iddaa is impressive, reaching USD 988 million in 2005 and USD 1,443 billion in 2006 from USD 167 million in 2004. Spor Toto’s market share, which was 9% in 2004, expanded to 42% in 2006. Market research in the fourth quarter of 2006 confirmed national brand awareness of Iddaa, indicating 99% throughout the target group (males interested in football from ages 18 to 45 in Turkey). The average number of coupons played per week has become 8,500,000 to an average of 3 million players.

Iddaa’s presence has also vastly enlarged the gaming market in Turkey. The total gaming turnover in Turkey amounted to USD 3,4 billion as of December 2006, reflecting a current market expansion of 32%. Now there are over 4,000 points of sale.

Bilyoner is providing a legally integrated electronic gaming platform owned by regulated enterprises in Turkey. These games include Spor Toto, Iddaa, TJK Horse Racing and Milli Piyango (National Lottery). Currently the company’s shareholders include Turktell Bilişim Servisleri, Intralot S.A. and Tek Elektronik. Turktell has a 55% interest in Bilyoner, Intralot has a 25% interest and Tek Elektronik holds the remaining 20% interest. By the end of 2007, had over 700,000 unique subscribers.

Internet usage of Turkey

Population (2007 est.) 75,863,600
Internet users (Sept 2006) 16,000,000
% population (penetration) 21.1 %
% users Europe 4.6 %
Usage growth (2000-2007) 700.0 %
Broadband Internet connections (Sept 2007) 3,236,700


Since gambling operators in general are not very eager to show their key financials on M‑gambling, we will highlight some developments and results of Turkish mobile betting. Mobile Iddaa is managed by the Turkish company Pozitron and General Manager Firat Isbecer provided underneath information:

”The mobile channel of the official online bookie of Iddaa,, a java-based downloadable mobile application, started operating in September 2005. So far there are four versions developed.

The first version started from September 2005 till June 2006. The Iddaa coupons that were made were sent via SMS packages. The application had more than 30,000 download requests during the first soccer season with approximately 100 active ‘distinct’ users daily by June 2006.

The second version was from June 2006 till November 2007. Iddaa coupons were sent through GPRS/EDGE connection, bringing very low data cost and higher customer gain. The number of requests reached 80,000 by the beginning of 2007– 2008 soccer season. In April 2006, USD 160,000 worth bets were placed through Mobile Iddaa with 300 active ‘distinct’ users per day by October 2007.

The third version from November 2007 till now brings a better user interface and a live scores function is included. Ready to bet coupons are included as well and the version has more games and features. By March 2008, there were 750 active ‘distinct’ users per day.

The fourth and last version also includes horse racing games. The new devices are Blackberry, Samsung and Motorola. The version has live scores, match results, more games and horse racing results.”

Firat Isbecer expects USD 500,000 per month turnover from the application in June 2008. The expected number of active ‘distinct’ daily users is 1,200 and the expected average number of bets per day (June 2008) is 2,800.

Highest numbers – March 16, 2008 – One day record

27,000 daily operations (balance check, bet, balance history, coupons, live score queries)

25,000 USD worth bets were placed

1,000 active distinct users

4,220 live score queries

2,450 number of bets placed

Turkey has 61,109 million subscribers in total, or an 86.57% penetration rate (September 2007).

Mobile network operators of Turkey

Rank Operator Technology Subscribers (in millions) Ownership
1 Turkcell GSM, GPRS, EDGE 35.4 (December 2007) TeliaSonera (37.09%), Cukurova Group (27.05%),
Alfa Group (13.22%)
2 Vodafone GSM, GPRS, EDGE 15.709 (September 2007) Vodafone (100%)
3 Avea GSM, GPRS, EDGE 10.0 (December 2007) Turkish Telecom (81%), Türkiye İş Bankası (19%)

Two Gambling Reports on Turkey, the gambling research and analyst group working from Istanbul and Amsterdam, launched two new reports on the Turkish gambling industry. Turkey, with its young population and 72 million inhabitants, will see the privatization of the National Lottery and a very interesting sports betting tender process this year.

In Turkey it is not always easy to get the necessary information to be able to make the right business decisions. Therefore, that already works for nearly ten years in the Turkish gambling industry, produced two in-dept reports with over 40 pages each with tables and illustrations:

Privatization of the National Lottery: Milli Piyango;
Fixed Chance Betting Tender.