A recent decision by the Constitutional Court lifts a
legislative ban on table football in Turkey. The court held that
the provision does not serve the necessary public needs of a
democratic society. It noted that the prohibition was introduced in
the 1960s, to address social conditions which have now changed.
Accordingly, the court held that the provision breached principles
of fairness and equity and struck out the aspects relating to table
In its decision numbered 2015/58 dated 23 December 2015, the
Constitutional Court cancelled the provision in the Roulette,
Pinball, Table Football and Similar Games Tools and Machines Law
numbered 1072 ("Law"), which prohibits having a table
football station in public places, as well as operating, smuggling
into Turkey, or producing such stations, even if the station is not
used with the intent of making income.
In the case at hand, the first instance court considered a case
against suspects who allegedly had a table football system in their
workplace. The first instance court believed that Article 1.1 and
1.2 of the Law to breached fairness and equity principles, so
requested the Constitutional Court to cancel the articles aspects
relating to table football.
The Constitutional Court cancelled these aspects, on the basis
that the provision does not serve the necessary public needs of a
democratic society and therefore it breaches principles of fairness
and equity. The court noted that:
In a state of law, the Legislator has
discretion over crimes and penalties, provided that it complies
with fundamental constitutional principles.
The Law's preamble states that
the prohibition was made based on the social conditions which
existed at the date of enactment, in the 1960s.
Technological developments mean that
mind-developing and talent-based games are now played for fun.
Pursuant to Police Duties and Powers
Law numbered 2557, businesses can obtain license for these games,
provided there is intention to generate income or gamble.
Gambling is no longer included in
Turkey's Criminal Law, but rather is now considered to be a
misdemeanour under the Misdemeanours Law numbered 5326.
The businesses which have these table
football systems are under government control and audit.
If a legislative prohibition
contradicts principle for the state of law, the related penalty
will automatically also be un-constitutional.
Please see this link for full text of the Constitutional
Court Decision (only available in Turkish).
Information first published in the
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