ECONOMY

Turkey presents bill to overcome sports betting court veto

ANKARA (Reuters) -The Turkish government has submitted a bill in parliament to overcome a court veto and allow a government agency to contract sports betting to private companies, the parliament’s press bureau said yesterday. Turkey’s top administrative court blocked a government decision this week to contract Turkish sports betting to Greek lottery systems provider Intralot’s Turkish subsidiary Inteltek. Public agencies, but not private companies, are allowed under Turkish law to manage sports betting, the court said. Intralot shares fell 14 percent on Monday after the ruling, but have since recovered some ground. The government submitted the bill on Tuesday to parliament to overcome the court veto and it is expected to be passed as the government has a majority in parliament. The bill authorizes the state Youth and Sport General Directorate, which oversees national lottery Spor Toto, to manage sports betting and contract them fully or partially to private companies. Inteltek last year won the right to exclusively manage sports betting for Turkey’s Spor Toto until 2012, but the decision was contested by competitor GTech. The Turkish sports betting market is estimated to have grown 50 percent to $2.7 billion in 2006 from $1.8 billion in 2003, when Turkey first held a tender.