Turkey reopens plan to privatize Milli Piyango

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The government of Turkey is once again attempting to privatize its national lottery, the Milli Piyango, several media outlets have reported.

Turkey seeks new tender for national lottery privatizationThe country’s Privatization Administration said Friday that it will start taking initial bids for the new tender on Aug. 15, according to Reuters. Interested parties, however, must apply for pre-qualification by July 14.

Friday’s announcement confirmed the comments made by Finance Minister Naci Agbal, who told reporters early this week the government is planning to award licenses for Milli Piyango, aka the National Lottery Directorate. The licenses will be effective for 10 years.

This isn’t the first time the country has tried to privatize its lottery, to no avail. Two years ago, a consortium that includes Scientific Games initially won the rights to operate Milli Piyango for a decade, but the consortium couldn’t arrange the necessary funding due to the Turkish lira plummeting in value at the time.

The consortium asked for more time, but Turkey decided to just award the concession to runner-up bidder ERG-Ahlatci, a joint venture between jeweler Ahlatci and Turkish company ERG. However, the joint venture, which was run by the Turkish Lottery Holding, also failed to make the payment on time.

Agbal said they already revised the tender specifications in order to “attract more bidders than the previous tries.”

According to the finance minister, the transfer of operational right was one of the issues in the previous tender, which was why they made sure that the new tender will be prepared as a “private law contract.”

Agbal explained that the tender will still be held on a dollar basis, but investors will now have the option to pay using local currency. In addition, the pre-deposit payment, which originally makes up 40 percent of the contract value, has been reduced to 20 percent.

Agbal said winning investors can also add new games, but they will have to be approved first by the National Lottery Directorate.

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