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A dangerous entertainment: Gambling

HDN | 7/5/1996 12:00:00 AM |

After the opening of foreign owned hotels, Turkey has become a gambling paradise which is now experiencing the reality of casinos. The question remains as to whether gambling -- to which some people are seriously addicted -- is entertainment, an innocent habit, or a dangerous illness. The decision, as ever, belongs to you.By Hakan Aslaneli Multicolored, brilliantly illuminated settings. Elegant staff walking in the hall with the happiness of doing their job perfectly. Those who are hungry can get

  • After the opening of foreign owned hotels, Turkey has become a gambling paradise which is now experiencing the reality of casinos.
  • The question remains as to whether gambling -- to which some people are seriously addicted -- is entertainment, an innocent habit, or a dangerous illness. The decision, as ever, belongs to you.By Hakan Aslaneli

    Multicolored, brilliantly illuminated settings. Elegant staff walking in the hall with the happiness of doing their job perfectly. Those who are hungry can get whatever they want from the open buffet, or they can drink whatever they want from the bar. All these services are free as soon as you pass through the door.

    This door, opening on to a joyful world, can also take people to their ruin or death. The most important characteristic of this door, that has opened the way to the failure of many businessmen, is that it is almost impossible to close once the key has been turned. The dangerous habit behind this door is called gambling.

    This dangerous game, starting as a form of entertainment and excitement first, is in reality an illness according to psychologists. This illness described as the satisfaction of feeling of gaining money, can become an addiction like a drugs. The initial hesitant step into this colorful, brilliant world can be soon transformed into a run.

    The treatment that is used for this illness is linked to the level of the illness and to the person who is ill. In some cases it is known that treatment in clinics can be recommended. Those who are caught in gambling illness are known to enter a psychological depression, to be excluded from society and to be happy and to feel good only while gambling. This is a reality confessed by the gamblers themselves.Gambling in Turkey

    In Turkey men and women generally gamble separately. Men play games such as poker, bezique, okay and the Turkish card game 51 for large amounts of money in coffee houses, even though it is illegal to do so. Turkish women prefer to play a card game called "konken" at home parties, especially in rich quarters of Istanbul such as Nisantasi, Tesvikiye, Levent, Etiler, Bebek, Atakoy and Yesilkoy. It is also known that gambling takes place at many social facilities active as foundations. The Sixth Article of the Turkish Law Code submits the gamblers and those who conduct gambling houses to the same punishment, that being six months prison. But this punishment is generally converted by the courts to minimal fines, often less than the stakes being played for.Luxury gambling: the casinos of Turkey

    After the opening of foreign owned hotels, Turkey has become a gambling paradise which is now experiencing the reality of casinos. Even if a law is in force to determine conditions of entry, no one seems to respect it. Three years ago, casinos where only tourists could enter by showing their passports were forbidden to Turkish citizens. But with the continuous changes of government, this law has lost its force and anyone can now enter a casino whenever they want.

    Some casinos, which have an age limit of 24 with a pass card, completely neglect this obligation, and the number of casinos in five-star hotels and holiday resorts is increasing daily because of the large sums of money their owners can make.

    Sudi Ozkan, the owner of Princess Hotels and Casinos, is known as the "Casino King" in Turkey. Starting with one center, he now has 20. While being the manager of the Istanbul Movenpick Hotel's casino, he bought the hotel and changed its name to the Princess. Now no one knows the amount of money he has gained from these ventures. It is also known that Ozkan, who is trying to stay away from the press, also owns many casinos abroad.

    The second most important name in the gambling world after Ozkan is Omer Lutfu Topal, known by the nickname "limping Lutfu". His name has often been mentioned in relation to various crimes. Topal, the owner of Emperyal casinos, is still being investigated by the police. It has been suggested that many casino owners have links to the criminal underworld.

    It is thought that a casino, requiring many electronic machines, costs at least $5 million.

    In these luxurious casinos games ranging from Roulette to Black Jack are played, and even if the number of people who are able to get rich from these games is very limited, the habit of gambling is growing every day at full speed. But the question remains as to whether gambling -- to which some people are seriously addicted -- is entertainment, an innocent habit, or a dangerous illness. The decision, as ever, belongs to you.

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