The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says strict controls and checks imposed on online payment systems have led to a 60% reduction in transactions involving betting and gambling.
Mehran Moharramian, who serves as deputy CBI governor for modern technologies, said on Tuesday that the bank had introduced sweeping measures to screen and block payments related to betting and gambling since 2019.
“Surveys suggest that gambling and betting transactions have been lowered by 60% as a result of these measures,” said Moharramian in a briefing with reporters at the CBI headquarters in northern Tehran.
Iran has an outright ban on any form of betting and gambling and people involved in such activities could face jail terms of up to two years.
However, illegal networks based in countries like Turkey have lured Iranians into illegal betting and gambling schemes in recent years, leading to calls on the government to impose stricter controls on online payment systems that allow criminals running those networks to funnel funds to their personal accounts.
Moharramian said that the CBI had detected nearly 8,500 point-of-sale (POS) terminals that had been transferred to other countries, adding that more than half of those POS terminals were deactivated between November 2019 and April this year because of suspected links to betting and gambling activity.
The official said that more than 11,000 online payment gateways and 20,000 debit cards had also been blocked because of similar suspicions.
He said the CBI would introduce additional measures to increase the safety of online payment systems in Iran, including more controls and limits on the use of debit cards for transfer of funds between the gamblers.