The Turkish government is preparing to initiate a two-year plan designed to crush illegal gambling within the nation. Among the regulations currently under consideration by the Turkish government are measures intended to prevent the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illegal gambling activities.
The Turkish State Will Introduce Harsh Punitive Measures for Those Caught Involved in the Illegal Gambling Industry
Reports have revealed that Turkey is preparing to initiate a two-year long crackdown on illegal gambling, including a focus on trying to “prevent the use of alternative spending methods, such as Bitcoin, ethereum and ripple, for illegal gambling activities”
Turkey’s new gambling offensive will be implemented by the Interior and Justice Ministries in partnership with the Police Department and the Revenue Department. The departments will establish a designated task force that will comprise representatives of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Revenues Department, Financial Crimes Investigation Council (MASAK), and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), and will be headed by a special prosecutor. The BDDK will be tasked with preventing the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit gambling activities, among other duties.
The Turkish state will introduce harsh punitive measures for those caught involved in the illegal gambling industry. Organizers and intermediaries who profit from illicit gambling will be forced to forfeit their income, and houses in which unlicensed gambling is taking place will be temporarily seized. Large fines will be introduced for shops such as internet cafes that facilitate their customers accessing illegal online gambling websites.
The BDDK is expected to monitor banking and credit card records as a measure to detect individuals who are engaged in such activities. The search engine habits of Turkish citizens will similarly be tracked. Websites and media outlets that advertise gambling sites will be shut down, and anti-gambling propaganda will be distributed throughout internet cafes.
It Is Likely That the Nation-Wide Offensive on Illegal Gambling May Drive Much of Turkey’s Underground Gambling Industry Toward Bitcoin
Turkey’s offensive against illicit gambling comes at a time of growing recognition that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies pose unconventional challenges to traditional gambling regulations. Calvin Ayre, the founder of Canadian gambling and entertainment company, Bodog, recently stated that cryptocurrency may be making gaming regulations “less relevant’, describing bitcoin as “eat[ing] the online gambling industry.”
Turkey has seen record-breaking P2P bitcoin trading volume in 2017, with commentators citing the falling value of the Lira and last year’s exit of Paypal from Turkey as driving demand for bitcoin. It is likely that the nation-wide offensive on illegal gambling may drive much of Turkey’s underground gambling industry toward bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption in a bid to bypass the surveilled Turkish banking system.
Despite recognizing the challenges that bitcoin and cryptocurrency based online gambling sites may pose to Turkey’s bid to crack down on illicit gambling, Turkey has not developed legal classifications or regulations for virtual currencies. The absence of a legal apparatus pertaining to bitcoin may obfuscate the prosecution process of those alleged to have profited from illegal gambling activities.
Do you think that the Turkish government will be able to prevent citizens from using cryptocurrency to access illicit gambling websites? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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