Scientific Games Signs Decade-Long Deal with Turkish Government
Scientific Games, a multinational US-based casino equipment and gaming solutions company, has won a major contract with Turkey’s state-owned sports betting company IDDAA. It will provide mobile and land-based sports betting technology to the Turkish government for the next ten years.
Turkey has the largest state-owned sport betting market in Europe and is among the top three in the world. Seems like Scientific Games has scored itself a lucrative deal.
Scientific Games and Demirören Group Partnership
Scientific Games will be working in a joint-venture with Turkish conglomerate Demirören Group. Known as the Şans Girişim, which means ‘Chance Initiative’, the venture will provide ready-to-use sports betting technology to about 5,300 retail outlets across the country. Also, as a part of the decade-long deal, Scientific Games will give IDDAA central system hardware, software, terminals, maintenance, and risk management.
Demirören Group is one of Turkey’s biggest companies. It owns gas stations, real-estate, and media platforms.
Scandal Around Şans Girişim
However, the Şans Girişim deal is controversial in Turkey. The joint-venture deal with Scientific Games was approved by the state-owned IDDAA this week but there is some political opposition. The main opposition party, CHP, is critical of the deal because of Demirören Group’s chairperson Yildirim Demirören’s links to government and media interests.
According to the Hurriyet, a major daily newspaper Demirören owns since last year, he was also head of the Turkish soccer governing body. He resigned five days ago from that position to avoid a conflict of interest. He was then able to make the sports betting deal with Scientific Games and the IDDAA possible.
Erdogan Tough on Online Gambling
In Turkey, the IDDAA is the only entity licensed to offer any form of gambling in the country. This includes sports betting. Turkey was one of the first countries in the world to have a black market for online gambling. It was also the first to target individual players rather than the operators. Furthermore, in recent years, President Recep Erdogan’s government has intensified its fight against black market gambling. He’s given sweeping powers to a task force made up of Turkey’s financial crimes unit, police, communication technology authority, and banking regulation agency.
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