June 14, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Indonesia Looking to Stop Illegal Gambling Following Disturbing Murders

Indonesia’s president has announced the country would step up its crackdown on online gambling following a series of gruesome murder cases tied to the activity

As a result of a disturbingly large number of gruesome murder cases allegedly connected to online gambling in the last few months, Indonesia has announced it would increase its efforts to put an end to illegal gambling.  

The reported deaths were reflective of the challenges that anti-gambling enforcement is currently facing in the country. 

President Widodo Urges Indonesians to Steer Clear from Gambling

President Joko Widodo, who will pass on his responsibilities to president-elect Prabowo Subianto in the fall, announced the new crackdown on the activity that has already triggered important economic losses and social harms.

Widodo asked Indonesians to avoid engaging in any type of gambling whether offline or online.

“It’s better if you have good fortune, you have money, you save it or use it as business capital,” he explained in a video that he posted to his social media accounts.

Similarly, the president asked for support from all public figures, including religious leaders and the general public with the monitoring of others. 

Widodo urged everyone to “report if there are any indications of online gambling” while making it clear how difficult curbing gambling is because of its “cross-border nature.”

The National Armed Forces to “Take Firm Action” Against Gambling Staff

The Indonesian National Armed Forces’s commander, Agus Subiyanto, reassured lawmakers earlier this week that he would “take firm action” against any staff member who has been involved in online gambling.

The announcement came in the context of the frightening number of deaths and suicides that have been connected to online gambling in the country, including the case of the East Java policewoman who burned her husband, also a police officer, alive after she discovered he spent their bonus salary on online gambling instead of buying supplies for their twin babies.

The army also announced one of its officers in south Sulawesi embezzled 876 million rupiah ($53,000) of his unit’s money to fuel his addiction.

Several gambling addicts have also reportedly ended their own lives because of their gambling debt. The list includes a navy member in Papua who owed a total of 819 million rupiah ($49,000) to the bank and his friends.

Last December, a national police counterterrorism squad member received a life sentence in prison for taking the life of a driver to steal his vehicle.

Before that, he used his brother’s money on online gambling instead of purchasing a used car as his sibling had requested. 

A police officer in Bali also allegedly pawned 11 rental cars last year alone to fund his gambling habits. 

Gambling, Punished with 10 Years in Prison and a $1,500 Fine 

The country punishes both players and gambling organizers with up to 10 years in prison as well as a maximum fine of 25 million rupiah ($1,500). 

Online gaming software distributors can be slapped with six years in prison and a 1 billion rupiah ($60,000) fine.

In May, Indonesia set up a multi-agency task force that will be responsible for collaborating with Interpol to take control of online gambling.

Between July 17, 2023, and May 21, 2024, the communications ministry managed to block more than 1.9 million pieces of online content that were advertising gambling. 

Similarly, around 5,000 e-wallets and bank accounts suspected of being used by online gamblers were also blocked. 

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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