Indonesia Takes Action Against Online Gambling Websites

Indonesia is cutting off access to websites linked to online gambling operating out of Cambodia and the Philippines. The Ministry of Communications has directed telecommunications providers to block access to these gambling sites indefinitely.

Why the Crackdown?

Online gambling is illegal in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Despite the ban, around 3.2 million Indonesians, mainly teachers and housewives, engage in online gambling. The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center reported that the total transactions related to online gambling reached 600 trillion rupiah ($36.5 billion) by the first quarter of 2024.

State officials are increasingly worried about the spread of online gambling. This concern has grown due to high-profile cases involving crime and suicides caused by gambling addiction and debts. President Joko Widodo has responded by forming a police task force to clamp down on illegal online gambling operations. He has also urged religious and community leaders to report any gambling activities.

Measures Taken

Last year,tThe Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information joined forces with telecoms providers to ban access to gambling content. Since, Indonesia has already shut down more than 2.1 million illegal online gambling sites. Additionally, authorities dismantled three online gambling syndicate sites valued at 1.4 trillion rupiah. The government has also warned platforms like TikTok, Google, and Meta about displaying gambling ads, threatening fines if these ads continue.

Regional Battle Against Online Gambling

Southeast Asian countries are struggling with the rapid spread of online gambling. This spread is often linked to fraud, human trafficking, and other illicit activities. The Philippines has banned online cockfighting, a popular form of gambling. Meanwhile, Singapore is investigating some of its major banks for alleged money laundering connected to online gambling.

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