Turkey’s new sports betting management contract has been awarded to a consortium that includes Scientific Games Corporation.
Last month, Turkey’s government announced a tender for a 10-year contract to manage and expand the operations of the state-owned Iddaa-SporToto sports betting business. Among the criteria that interested bidders were asked to submit was how low a commission they intended to claim as their own.
On Wednesday, Turkish media reported that Sans Girism OGG, a consortium involving Scientific Games and local conglomerate Demirören Group – which is controlled by Turkish Football Federation chairman Yildirim Demirören – had submitted the lowest bid, expecting a mere 0.2% of sports betting revenue.
The next lowest bidder was the Inteltek partnership, which offered a 0.5% commission rate. Inteltek, which includes Greek lottery and betting giant Intralot and local telecom operator Turkcell, was awarded the previous 10-year SporToto contract in 2008, for which it received a 1.4% commission.
Inteltek originally bid the same 1.4% commission while Sans Girism bid 2.1%. Following the opening of these two bids, the companies were given a 30-minute window in which to revise their bids. Inteltek responded with a rate of 0.5% but Sans Girism’s cutthroat 0.2% proved the winner.
Bids by two other firms – Baltech Investment and Best Gaming – were rejected by the state body overseeing the tender for unspecified reasons.
Critics from Turkey’s main political opposition party CHP had suggested it was improper for Demirören to participate in the tender due to the conglomerate’s interests in football and broadcasting and its ties to the Turkish government. Regardless, the awarding of the contract will become official in five days following the approval of SportToto president Bunyamin Bozgeyik.
This isn’t Sci-Games’ first attempt to crack the Turkish market. In 2014, the company was part of a consortium that won a tender to run the state-owned Milli Piyango numeric lottery business but Sci-Games walked away from the deal the following year after its local partners proved unable to raise the necessary funding.
Turkey’s strict laws limit local gamblers to the two state-owned lottery and betting businesses. Two weeks ago, Turkish authorities launched their latest crackdown on unauthorized gambling operators, calling it the largest such operation in the nation’s history.