The joint venture between Italian gaming operator Sisal and Demirören Group, the Turkish media conglomerate, won the tender to obtain the Turkish national lottery concession Milli Piyango, which secures the operating rights for the next ten years, in the middle of a cloak of doubts and criticism.
After completing the bidding process, the Turkish sovereign wealth fund (TVF) had announced the day before that the Turkish-Italian joint venture Sisal-Sans presented the best offer.
State asset manager Turkey Wealth Fund (TVF) said in a statement that Sisal-Sans made a minimum annual tax offer to the treasury of TRY9.32bn (£ 1.37bn / $ 1.67bn / € 1,490 million), for the operational rights of the Turkish lottery of 2020.
In the capital of the joint venture, Demirören owns 51% of the shares through its subsidiary Sans Digital, while Sisal has a 49% stake. Demirören is a powerful media holding company of the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet and the CNN Türk television channel.
In explaining details of the bidding process, TVF said that
“in the evaluation process, the net present value, the minimum revenue commitment and the minimum commission rate that the operator will receive on these revenues, as well as the experience, were taken into account, the financial suitability and the technical infrastructure criteria of the participants “.
The offer submitted by Sisal-Sans could not be exceeded by its rivals in the bid. At the end of the Sazka process, International Game Technology Group and the joint venture between Doğan Online, the Turkish internet service provider and Intralot, withdrew their offers, because TVF decided to increase the annual contribution figure from TRY 7.5bn to 9.5bn.
This is the second most important concession that Demirören Group obtains in less than a year in Turkey. A few months ago had won the operating rights of the Turkish sports betting monopoly Iddaa, by participating in a tender with his joint venture Şans Girişim, in partnership with Scientific Games, the American gaming and betting service provider.
Scientific Games will provide a tool for turnkey sports betting, both for retail and online bets, which will be implemented in more than 5,300 points of sale.
Scientific Games is committed to supplying the hardware and software of the central system, also of the terminals and terminal software. It will also provide maintenance, along with a risk management solution that will support the retail operation, according to the terms of the contract.
SG becomes the key partner of the Joint Venture by serving as an exclusive provider of instant games and at the same time providing retail terminals, as well as an instant ticket validation system.
The Sisal operator, meanwhile, recently won a tender in its Italian betting market, which ensures a nine-year contract to operate the SuperEnalotto lottery game, as well as other national totalizer games. Sisal has been operating this game since it was released in 1997.
Doubts and monopolistic concerns
The concentration of the lottery and sports betting monopolies in Turkey in the hands of Turkish media giant Demirören Holding has raised concerns and criticism in some sectors that question the bidding process for considering them suspicious.
One of them is Faik Öztrak, legislator of the opposition Popular Party of the Republic, who accused JV Sisal-Sans of having won the tender without opposition and criticized the manner in which the call was made and the selection process.
The Iddaa tender had originally been won by Inteltek, the JV between Intralot and Turkcell, but was declared void and subsequently executed with a single bidder. The second tender was challenged by Demirören, who ended up keeping the contract.
Öztrak announced to Ahval News that the details of “this single participant tender” will be reviewed. “It really makes you think that all of Turkey’s gambling is now concentrated in the hands of a company.”