Gambling has been around for centuries and is said to be an integral part of ancient culture. Historical accounts show Indians and Greeks played dice games before 400 BC. Meanwhile, the oldest dice unearthed was believed to have existed in 1300 BC.
Unsurprisingly, many adults worldwide confess to having gambled at least once in their lifetime. And with online casinos being as accessible as ever, it’s easier to place bets using mobile devices, even if you’re in Indonesia, for example.
Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, with 87% of its 281.8 million people practicing the religion. Despite the strict Islamic laws against such a pastime, a few can circumvent the regulations to access online casino slots games and other virtual betting sites, particularly those operating offshore.
This article discusses important things to know about accessing online casinos in Indonesia.
Gambling Is Illegal In Indonesia
As briefly mentioned, all forms of gambling, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual, are prohibited in this predominantly Muslim country. Betting is as bad as alcohol consumption because it’s highly addictive. Both are considered ‘haram’ or forbidden, according to Islamic beliefs. As such, you won’t find physical casinos or lottery betting stations in the country.
Historically speaking, lottery and other gambling activities were ordered closed and declared unlawful in 2012 after the government declared a nationwide ban. There are reports of illegal gambling operations that allow casino slots, bingo games, and sports betting. Still, they aren’t sanctioned by the government.
Frequent arrests have been conducted against suspected online gambling operators, who stand to spend up to five years in jail. The government has continuously launched raids and similar operations to arrest gambling ban violators.
How Some Manage To Access Online Casinos In Indonesia
While appearing in brick-and-mortar casinos and engaging in sports betting are out of the picture, some betting and gambling enthusiasts turn to virtual sites for entertainment. Since the total ban on gambling activities took effect in 2012, the government has likewise been planning to block its residents from accessing online websites. It has yet to be implemented, though, temporarily giving a bit of leeway for non-Muslim citizens of Indonesia to play real money slots online and enjoy potential payouts.
Because online gambling and betting sites operate in areas outside of Indonesia, and the government has yet to ban access to these sites, they will accept registrations from Indonesian-based players.
The Indonesian Gaming Market
Despite the total gambling ban, online casinos and sports betting are two of the most popular activities in Indonesia. TGM Research conducted a recent survey and discovered that 38.4% of Indonesians participated in sports betting in the past 12 months. In addition, 20.7% of participants placed their bets online or through apps. The survey likewise discovered that 11% of Indonesian online bettors prefer games of chance, including online casino games, lotteries, and numbers games.
While a formal study of the demographics of Indonesian bettors has yet to be conducted, various sources have insinuated that, besides non-Muslims, young adults, particularly millennials and Gen Z-ers comprise the majority of Indonesian bettors. These individuals are tech-savvy and use their mobile phones to access online betting sites.
Indonesian Casino Games
A market research firm projects a continuous hike in revenues from the Indonesian casino games industry. In 2022, the sector earned USD$ 27.62 million, which is expected to reach almost USD$ 31 billion this year. While significantly smaller than the billions earned from the biggest gambling markets, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, it’s still a notable figure considering the prohibition.
Similarly, illicit gambling arcades, bingo halls, and sports betting rings are said to be operating in different cities, including tourist destinations. Illegal sports betting activities are often organized in person for Indonesia’s most popular sports events, including Pencak Silat and Sepak Takraw. On some occasions, Indonesians also place their bets on cockfighting.
While raids and arrests happen often, many illegal land-based gambling activities sprout in some locations. Note that Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic nation and comprises over 18,000 islands, of which only a third are inhabited. Its capital, Jakarta, is home to almost half the country’s population, making law enforcement challenging.
Punishments For Getting Caught
Like in other Muslim countries, the penalties for violating Indonesian laws can be harsh. Because gambling is considered a criminal offense under Article 303 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, violators are subject to hefty fines, imprisonment, or both.
Light punishments may include public caning, while moderate to heavy and repetitive offenses could result in imprisonment for up to six years. A maximum punitive fee of up to USD$ 700,000 also awaits persons who commit grave gambling violations.
Indonesian Authorities Don’t Issue Licenses For Online Casino Sites
Because all types of gambling are prohibited in the country, it stands to reason that Indonesia doesn’t issue licenses for virtual gambling operators. To ensure the website is legitimate, Indonesian players must examine the site for certifications from global regulatory agencies such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.
These organizations regulate the industry by ensuring that gambling services operate within their jurisdiction, that all games are fair, and that underage players aren’t allowed access. There is no licensing body for US-based online gaming sites, though.
Tips for Playing at the Best Online Casinos In Indonesia
If you want to take the risk and access an online casino and betting site while in Indonesia, choosing a reputable platform is in your best interest. Besides certifications from recognized licensing agencies and regulatory bodies, you can check the following essential elements:
- Language: The site should allow you to adjust the language based on location. Doing so lets you understand the game’s mechanics and the site’s terms and conditions.
- Sign-In Bonuses: Some online casino sites offer better bonuses like free spins, low bets, and high payouts.
- Security: The site must also be secure, with its uniform resource locator (URL) starting with https and a padlock icon visible on the address bar.
- Payment Modes: The site must accept diverse payment methods for convenience.
- Customer Support: A reputable site must focus on the customer experience by being present across all contact points.
Occasional and novice players can likewise look for sites that offer various games to let them choose the titles they’re most interested in.
This article doesn’t seek to push Indonesians to violate the law; it only aims to educate potential online casino players. If this resonates with you, consider the discussion above before signing up. Once you’ve decided to sign up or register, set a budget for betting, and don’t chase your losses. Learn when to stop and remember that playing is supposed to be fun.