Indonesia steps up crackdown on online gambling-Xinhua

Indonesia steps up crackdown on online gambling

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-20 21:02:15

by Dames Alexander Sinaga

JAKARTA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia has stepped up measures to fight online gambling as the number of transactions suspectedly related to gambling activities is increasing across the country.

Gambling, both online and offline, is illegal in the Southeast Asian nation. Participants and organizers of a gambling event can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a 25-million Indonesian rupiahs (about 1,500 U.S. dollars) fine.

Meanwhile, those distributing online gambling software can face up to six years in prison and a 1-billion Indonesian rupiahs (about 60,000 dollars) fine.

Recent findings of the country's Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center showed that online gambling activities in Indonesia that took place in the first quarter of 2024 reached a combined transactional value of more than 600 trillion Indonesian rupiahs (about 36.4 billion dollars).

The number of people involved in online gambling activities has reached 3.2 million, center spokesman Natsir Kongah said in a recent online discussion, adding that mostly youths and people from low-income households were engaged in it.

He said that the number of transactions suspectedly related to gambling activities has been increasing in recent years. His office recorded some 11,000 online transactions in 2022 and some 24,000 online transactions in 2023.

In the January-May period this year, some 14,000 online transactions were recorded, he said.

"All these figures have shown that our problems related to online gambling are very worrying," Kongah said, adding that some 5,000 bank accounts suspectedly related to online gambling have been temporarily blocked.

The funds were also detected to have flowed out of Indonesia to other countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia.

According to a recent report from the Ministry for Communications and Information, more than 2 million online gambling sites have been blocked with the use of artificial intelligence systems and cyber patrols. However, online alternative gambling sites continue to appear. Authorities continued to ramp up search for those operating and promoting such sites.

In response to the alarming situation, President Joko Widodo established a special task force on June 14 to eradicate online gambling activities across the archipelago.

The move came following a recent report from authorities that some online gambling activities were linked to money laundering.