Intralot loses Turkish sports betting contract

1 March 2019

Intralo and TurkCell's Inteltek has lost out in a tender to run Turkey’s sports betting monopoly Iddaa, with the new ten-year contract awarded to a joint venture between Scientific Games and Turkish conglomerate Demirören Group.

The SporToto State Organisation confirmed on February 28 that it had approved the bid from Sans Girisim, comprising Scientific Games and Demirören Group, which is active in the energy, media, retail and education sectors, to operate Iddaa. Sans Girisim's contract begins later this year, and runs to 2029.

Sans Girisim has won the right to provide a central betting system and a risk management solution for fixed-odds and pari-mutuel betting at retail locations throughout Turkey.

SporToto announced last month after an initial tender process it would choose between the two bids, and has now plumped for the company that pledged to take the lowest commission. Sans Girisim offered to receive a 0.2% share of all sports wagering revenue, with Inteltek – a joint venture between Intralot and Turkish mobile phone operator Turkcell - offering 0.5%.

After the confirmation of the award, Demirören chairman Yildirim Demirören quit his position as chairman of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

In a statement on the TFF website, Demirören said: "I have made this decision regarding the job I have carried out with pride and honour until today, to not leave any space for dispute and to cast a shadow over my tenure before the Turkish and world public.”

Despite the resignation, critics in Turkey have suggested Demirören’s domination of the media – it bought national newspaper Hürriyet and TV station Kanal D last year - and closeness to the Erdogan regime could have  influenced SporToto’s decision.

SporToto stated when it launched its Iddaa tender process in January that it aims to generate 17bn Lira (£2.4bn/€2.7bn/$3.1bn) in revenue from the offering’s first year in operation.

Inteltek, established in 2001, has served as the exclusive provider of fixed-odds and pari-mutuel betting since 2004, and secured a new, 10-year contract in 2008. It then extended the deal by a year in August 2018.

Over the past 11 years, SporToto has seen its share of the country's sports betting market grow to 56%, with turnover rising to $3.5bn.

SporToto is one of only two legal gambling operators in Turkey, alongside national lottery operator Millî Piyango İdaresi.

Within hours of the news being announced, Intralot chief executive Antonios Kerastaris stepped down from his role. He has been replaced by the supplier's founder Sokratis Kokkalis.