Indonesia's President Wants to Eradicate Online Gambling

Indonesia's determined stride toward eradicating online gambling has been significantly bolstered by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. He has issued a directive to form a comprehensive task force whose sole function will be to keep all online gambling out of the country.

Indonesia President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in a public appearance. (Source: Getty Images)

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This decisive move underscores the government's commitment to combat online gambling activities that have been flourishing in the digital realm. All forms of online gambling are illegal in Indonesia.

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The task force, chaired by Hadi Tjahjanto, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, is a testament to the seriousness with which the Indonesian government is approaching this challenge. It is part of a broader, systematic crackdown on online gambling that has seen the Communication and Informatics Ministry take down 1.9 million online gambling sites since July 2023.

President Jokowi's directive for the task force to implement concrete steps in eradicating online gambling is a clear indication of the government's strategy to address the issue from multiple angles. The task force is expected to pursue breakthroughs without delay, aiming to dismantle the entire online gambling ecosystem in the country. This includes tackling the issue from upstream to downstream, ensuring that all facets of the online gambling operation are disrupted.

The task force's mandate extends beyond mere content removal. It is tasked with creating a significant impact on the handling of online gambling, setting benchmarks for success, and ensuring that online gambling transactions decrease.

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An Uphill Battle

The Communication and Informatics Ministry, under the leadership of Minister Budi Arie Setiadi, has been at the forefront of this battle. The ministry continues to use significant resources to take down online gambling sites and coordinate with financial institutions to block thousands of bank accounts and e-wallets associated with online gambling activities. This financial blockade is a critical component of the comprehensive strategy to suffocate the funding channels that sustain these illegal operations.

Furthermore, the ministry's coordination with digital platforms such as Google and Meta has resulted in significant changes in gambling-related keywords and the removal of new keywords associated with online gambling. This collaboration is crucial in preventing the spread and accessibility of online gambling content.

With a comprehensive approach that targets the entire ecosystem of online gambling, Indonesia is setting a precedent in the fight against digital crime. However, the task force faces a monumental challenge, given the ease with which new sites can be created. These create greater risks for Indonesians and offer no protection in the event the illegal platform goes dark.


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