June 20, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Angel Hristov

Indonesia Will Not Provide Social Aid to Online Gamblers

President Jokowi said that the government has ruled out the option of subsidizing struggling gamblers as politicians argue that this would exacerbate the issue

Indonesia President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) announced that the government would not provide social assistance to online gamblers. During a Wednesday address, following an irrigation inspection, he firmly confirmed that the country will provide no aid to those harmed by online gambling practices.

“No aid,” the president said, emphasizing his conviction.

Several days ago, Muhadjir Effendy, coordinating minister for human development and culture, had suggested that social aid could be exclusively available to the affected family members but not to the gamblers themselves. He said that online gambles must be treated as criminals.

However, Jokowi implied that the government has decided to refrain from providing social aid to the families affected by online gambling. This drastic decision comes amid concerning gambling harm rates that have even led to murders.

For context, online gambling is illegal in Indonesia. Participation in such activities constitutes a crime.

Many Agree That Gamblers Violate the Law

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) was among the first to oppose the plan to provide assistance to gamblers’ families, arguing that this would indirectly subsidize the gamblers themselves.

In an earlier statement, Gurnadi Ridwan, researcher at FITRA, said that such aid could actually exacerbate the issue. He proposed to instead create more job opportunities for the Indonesian people.

Nailul Huda, director of digital economy at the Center of Economic and Law Studies Celios chimed in, saying that online gamblers know they break the law and, because of that, do not deserve social assistance. Huda further noted that online gambling causes state loss, hurting the Indonesian economy.

Not everyone was so cynical in their opinions, however, as sociologist Asep Suryana highlighted the psychological nature of gambling addiction, reminding others that gamblers are not always able to think about the consequences of their actions. According to Suryana, the state has a responsibility to intervene and provide struggling gamblers’ families with aid, allowing them to live decent lives.

Indonesia Has an Online Gambling Problem

As mentioned, Indonesian authorities recorded a number of gruesome deaths over the last few months, believing them to be tied to online gambling.

This included a woman who burned her husband alive after he spent his salary on gambling and a number of gambling-related suicides.

Indonesia has been introducing ever-stricter measures in hopes of tackling the issue. Both organizers and players face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $1,500. Software providers, on the other hand, risk 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $60,000.

In May, Indonesia created a multi-agency task force that is responsible for collaborating with Interpol to keep online gambling in check.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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