Indonesia Establishes Task Force to Combat Online Gambling

Indonesia is establishing a task force that involves multiple ministries and agencies to address the issue of online gambling. The country is seeking assistance from Interpol for cross-border cases related to the matter.

A recent statement from Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (known as Kominfo) highlighted that last year, computer servers in the Philippines and Cambodia were found to be facilitating online gambling services targeting Indonesian citizens. According to data from Indonesia's Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK), approximately 3.2 million Indonesians engaged in online gambling last year. The majority of these individuals, about 80 percent, were gambling with amounts below IDR100,000 (equivalent to US$6.16 currently).

The news, which was originally reported by Bernama – Malaysian National News Agency, also mentioned the challenges faced by Indonesia's Financial Services Authority (OJK) in restricting access to international transaction accounts and the communications ministry's struggles in blocking problematic servers located overseas.

The newly formed task force, overseen by Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, will bring together the communications ministry, financial authority, financial reporting centre, and the police to address online gambling issues. The task force aims to monitor digital spaces, manage accounts, handle fund flows, and conduct arrest and investigation activities.

Hadi Tjahjanto, the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Security Affairs, expressed deep concerns about the growing problem of online gambling, particularly instances involving schoolchildren.

Indonesia has launched a task force to tackle the growing prevalence of online gambling within the country, with an estimated 3.2 million Indonesians actively taking part in this form of entertainment. Data compiled by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) indicates that 80 percent of online gamblers in Indonesia bet amounts lower than Rp100,000, contributing to an approximate Rp 327 trillion underground gambling market estimated for 2023. Hadi Tjahjanto, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, attributes the surge in online gambling to the widespread availability of mobile devices and the shift towards online slots as popular alternatives to conventional betting options like credit and cash markets. Follow the latest updates on Indonesia's endeavors to combat illicit online gambling and the primary factors fueling this growing trend.

Blocking Hundreds of Websites and Apps

Indonesian government has blocked access to 886,719 pieces of online gambling content over five years since July 2018. Minister of Communications and Informatics Budi Arie Setiadi stated that they halt access to 1,500 to 2,000 sites and various applications daily, including gaming apps like Higgs Domino Island. This app, downloaded 50 million times, is among the banned ones. Gambling is illegal in Indonesia, with strict penalties for players and organizers. Setiadi highlighted that online gambling platforms generate significant profits, with one site like Higgs Domino Island reportedly making up to 2.2 trillion rupiah monthly, equivalent to US$150 million. He pointed out the detrimental effects on society, emphasizing that even children are lured into these activities.

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