Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Johnny G Plate, announced that the authorities would do everything possible to block and remove online gambling sites. Plate said that while the department has the tools, it takes a lot of legwork to verify whether these types of systems are legitimate.
Over 500,000 illegal sites have been blocked since 2018
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has blocked access to 566,331 sites related to online gambling. Of these, 118,320 sites were blocked in 2022 alone.
While talking about the regulation of the industry, Plate noted that blocking sites is not the only way the ministry is ensuring that it stamps out online gambling. It also relies on digital literacy. This way people are not affected by the negative content.
Earlier this year, Listyo Sigit Prabowo, the country’s national police chief, issued an order to stamp out online gambling. More recently, the authorities shut down a syndicate responsible for running 5 gambling sites – Senarbet, KingKoi88, Goldmain, Winlab88 and Bsbox.
About 15 electronic game organizers have been rooted out so far, but Plate said the mission was difficult. According to him, for each site closed by the authorities, many others appear in its place.
Central Java Police arrested 34 people on suspicion of gambling
In two raids last Thursday and Friday, Central Java Police arrested 34 people suspected of engaging in illegal gambling activities. Six of them are rumored to have run an illegal online gambling ring in Bojongsari district.
Ahmad Lutfi, the chief inspector of Central Java Police, said one of the suspects developed his skills in Cambodia and used them to run the illegal network in Purbalingga, a regency in Bojongsari district.
Additionally, there are rumors that many high-ranking officers, including former Home Affairs Chief Inspector General Ferdy Sambo, are linked to illegal gambling activities. National Police Spokesman Dedi Prasetyo was asked about the rumours, to which he replied that the police have always been adamant about eradicating gambling, alcohol, drugs, gangs and everything another type of “social disease”.
As Indonesia tightens its gambling rules, surrounding counties are open to legalizing it. In late 2021, Thailand showed interest in opening casino resorts as many see the industry as brimming with potential. A survey conducted by the Casino Committee of Thailand in July found that more than 80% of respondents actually support the legalization of gambling in the country. Cambodia is also among the countries open to gambling as it recently renewed 70 gambling licenses in a bid to revitalize the industry.