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Creating a successful online casino business — a guide for Turkish investors 2024

May 26, 2022
13 min

Gambling in Turkey is a highly regulated activity, with land-based casinos and online iGaming businesses and participation both being completely banned. The only exceptions to this mandate are the state-run lottery, called “Milli Piyango”, and the state-owned sports betting company, the IDDAA. So, with all this in mind, what are the options for Turkish investors and entrepreneurs wanting to enter the iGaming space and target international players? Is it even possible? We are pleased to tell you that it is, however, you have to understand all of the steps and be prepared to take some risks in order to create a successful iGaming business. Read on to see what we suggest.

Turkish gambling market overview

The main argument from the government against allowing commercial gambling enterprises to operate within Turkey is specifically to prevent money laundering. This issue had been a problem historically when land-based casinos were still legal in Turkey up until 1998 when they were banned.

So, whilst the nation has disallowed legal avenues for iGaming and gambling to exist, these measures have certainly not quelled Turkey’s appetite for it. For example, in 2009 it was estimated that 25% of Swedish gambling firm Betsson's revenues came exclusively from Turkish players. So even with government protocols in place to crack-down on online gambling, it’s not dissuading Turkish players from participating.

Anyway, this is a moot point essentially, and we suggest that you don’t focus on creating a business aimed at Turkish players because of the legal issues involved; it’s just better to be aware of the situation than not.

As mentioned, it’s clear that creating a legal online casino or iGaming business in Turkey aimed at Turkish players is impossible. However, if you are able to think ‘outside of the box’ then you will soon realize that as a Turkish entrepreneur or investor, you are still legally allowed to create an international business using a gaming license from another country.

It’s better to not worry about whether Turkish citizens can participate or not at this stage, as your focus should be upon targeting international players who reside in nations where online gambling is completely legal. In fact, we would recommend that you don’t specifically focus on Turkish players at all, because the Turkish authorities could penalize both you and the players that use it in Turkey.

Now that you understand the landscape for gambling and iGaming in Turkey, we can move on more important matters, such as how you, as a Turkish citizen, can legally and effectively create an international online gambling business.

Six steps for starting an online casino business as a Turkish investor

So, now you are beginning to consider the international possibilities for your business, we can discuss a step-by-step framework for creating one. Before we go over the steps, we want to underline that this entire process requires: patience, enthusiasm, risk, business acumen, and of course, a substantial financial commitment.

If you are willing to apply all of this then you will certainly be well on your way to creating a successful business. We’ll lay out the steps briefly below and then go over them in more detail afterwards:

1. Obtain a gambling license

There are a plethora of gambling licenses available worldwide. Some of the most popular regions to obtain gambling licenses for Turkish investors include: Curacao, Malta, Isle of Man, Alderney, Gibraltar, Kahnawake, Belize, etc.

The costs, locations, application processes, length of licensing period, types of gambling activity, and areas that these licenses cover are all vastly different from one another, which is why a lot of research is involved. One thing that gambling licenses do have in common is that they require in-depth explanations regarding their pros, cons, and application process.

Out of the six steps we have listed here, the gambling license application itself is probably the most important and most in-depth discussion.

Which jurisdiction should I get a gambling license in?

The jurisdiction you choose will be based on the pros and cons of the license that is specific to your business. To help you decide, we have covered many various locations’ licenses in-depth on our website, which we encourage to spend some time researching. You can see more locations by clicking here.

In particular, we often advise Turkish investors to obtain the Curacao license above all others as it is fairly easy to obtain, is cheaper than other licenses, and it covers a wide range of countries where you can operate in.

How much do gambling licenses cost?

Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer to this question. Licenses are all different and encapsulate a lot of different conditions, clauses, and other layers of payment.

The length of time licenses cover can often vary too. For example, most licenses are valid for just 1 year, however, licenses from Gibraltar last for 5 years.

The renewal prices of licenses can also vary enormously too. Some jurisdictions will want to know your annualized net gaming yield before offering you a renewal.

There’s also the application processing time to think about too. Some jurisdictions, such as The United Kingdom, can take up to 16 weeks to process. Other jurisdictions will require a nonrefundable deposit payment upfront before they process your application (regardless if you are approved or not). Some jurisdictions can even offer you a temporary license that you can use for a limited amount of days only, but at a much lower cost.

Some jurisdictions may seem to offer a low-cost license, however, they will also require many elements of certification, verification, and testing of your games and software. All of which will be priced individually and not included in the initial application fee.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when calculating the prices. The best course of action is to sit down with a notepad and carefully calculate the total prices of different regions that interest you, along with their individual pros and cons too.

Thankfully we have saved you a lot of the legwork by focusing on a variety of areas offering premium licenses. To learn more about gaming licenses in other regions, click here.

2. Register your company in the jurisdiction of the license

This step is closely related to step 1 as you will (normally) need to register your business in the same location that the license covers. For Turkish investors, the key takeaway is that you will not be registering your business in Turkey, because that is not legal nor allowed.

Much like the license itself, the specific costs and processes needed to do this are different in every location. You don’t necessarily need to reside in the country where you register your business, but being able to access it is something to carefully consider, especially when it comes to time zones and communicating with a gaming licensing authority.

3. Analyze market demands for your target audience

Research, research, research!

The more research and planning you do, the greater chance you will have of your business being a success.This means that you will need to think very carefully about your target audience, the language you use to market to them, the games that your audience prefers to play, your marketing budget, future business expansion, hiring future support teams and future members of staff. There is a lot to research across a multitude of different areas.

With so much to think about when creating a successful online gambling business, the best advice is to not leave anything to chance. Create budgets for everything, including unforeseen expenses and areas for future growth. Most importantly, research your target audience. If you don’t understand their needs you will not be able to serve them effectively.

4. Create a brand concept and marketing strategy

This step is where you will need to apply all of your creativity and business acumen.

In some regards, this step should really be your first port of call, as you will need a business plan (including a name) before applying for the license. You will definitely need to have completed this step before you can embark on steps 5 and 6 that’s for sure.

Even if your business plan begins its life as just a few handwritten notes on a napkin, it’s important to flesh out your ideas and obviously research any potential names you come up with against any existing competition. Hiring professionals for business advice is never a bad idea either, especially when it’s a niche topic such as SEO or Social Media marketing.

5. Obtain software to create a web-based platform

Think of this step as the foundation of your online casino business, because without it, you cannot add games, PSPs, or any other kind of functionality for players. It’s just like building a house, you’re not going to get anywhere without a good foundation.

This might sound quite straightforward, however, there are a lot of factors to consider when creating any kind of website that offers online gambling, iGaming, and secure payment services. The services you offer not only need to be secure for your business, but also for the players.

Also, depending on the licensing jurisdiction you choose, your online gambling platform will also need to pass various operational tests and be certified as compliant legally. As a general rule of thumb, the better quality the gaming license is, the more stringent the certification tests will be.

6. Integrate games, payment systems (PSPs), and online support teams

It’s easy enough to understand that without games, PSPs, and online support, that your business will be going nowhere.

Choosing these services is where your prior research comes in. You will need to research your markets and choose both games and PSPs that the market appreciates and supports. If you choose a payment system that is blocked in your target region then you will be doing zero business there. The same goes for choosing games or languages that the region does not want or understand.

This may all sound quite obvious, but without researching first you could waste many months of work and funds on a project that’s going nowhere. So choose wisely and do as much research as you can. Don’t be afraid to hire professionals to support you, it’s what they’re there for.

Turkish online gambling FAQs

If it’s illegal to run a gambling business in Turkey, how can I own one as a Turkish citizen?

Can you launch an online casino by yourself?

Why do you need a gambling license to start an iGaming business?

How long does it take to create an online casino or iGaming business?

I would prefer to run my online casino in Turkish language and offer it to Turkish customers. Is that legal?

What’s the most popular online casino game?

How can Slotegrator help?

For Turkish investors and entrepreneurs, applying for a gaming license in any jurisdiction is a complicated process. Much like any legal application, the best course of action to ensure that you do not waste time or funds, is to employ the help of experts to assist you with the application, which as you should know by now is just the beginning of your journey.

There are many other stages in the long road to owning a successful iGaming business, and we are happy to provide solutions covering all aspects of the process. Rest assured, we have successfully applied for hundreds of applications in numerous jurisdictions since our founding in 2012.

As long as you have the vision for creating your own iGaming, online casino, or sports betting enterprise, then Slotegrator can help you with any stage of your journey.

Whether it’s legal expertise, software partners, marketing assistance, or overseeing the entire launch; we have proven solutions ready for you to launch a successful iGaming business.



  • C
    Christina Libars
    January 10, 2024
    Hi, My name is Christina, I represent Legal Pilot company. We have a client who would like to obtain a gambling license in Turkey (and register a company there). Could you please advise the following 1) How much does the process of company registration and license obtaining cost? What are the official fees? 2) What is the cost of company maintenance and legal support for the second year? 3) Do we need a local director? 4) Is the physical office required? 5) The cost of accounting, audit, etc. Please note that we need a B2C and B2B license. We need detailed information about your services so we could cooperate because the process is urgent. Thank you in advance. Look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Christina
    Petr Stehlik
    Petr Stehlik • Lawyer
    January 10, 2024

    Hello, Christina! Thank you for your inquiry. Gambling in Turkey is a highly regulated activity, with land-based casinos, online iGaming businesses, and participation both being completely banned. So, creating a legal online casino or iGaming business in Turkey aimed at Turkish players is impossible. 

    However, you are still legally allowed to create an international business using a gaming license from another country. We often advise Turkish investors to obtain the Curacao license above all others as it is fairly easy to obtain, is cheaper than other licenses, and it covers a wide range of countries where you can operate in. 

    We are pleased to offer our assistance in obtaining a Curacao license. We have contacted you via email and provided all the necessary information about this license.

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