Jakarta (ANTARA) - With the number of online gambling victims continuing to mount, the Indonesian government has officially declared war against the practice.

Considering the detrimental effect of online gambling on the community, the government has prepared a special weapon to eradicate it, namely Presidential Decree Number 21 of 2024 on the Online Gambling Eradication Task Force, which was signed by President Joko Widodo on June 14.

The online gambling eradication task force has been formed based on the decree. The task force is meant to spearhead efforts to eliminate online gambling, from upstream to downstream.

The task force led by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Hadi Tjahjanto, comprises personnel from the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, National Police, National Defense Forces (TNI), Attorney General's Office, Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), and other institutions.

After the decree was signed, Tjahjanto and the task force personnel held their first meeting on June 19 to discuss concrete steps to weed out online gambling.

The formation of the task force has been deemed essential as online gambling has become a serious issue requiring prompt resolution. From unemployed people to civil servants, many people have gotten trapped in online gambling due to the lure of making money quickly.

According to data from the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, even children under 10 have been indulging in online gambling.

As per records, 2 percent, or 80,000 online gambling players, are aged under 10. Furthermore, those aged 10–20 years make up 11 percent, or around 440,000 of the total.

In the 21–30 age group, the number has reached 520,000, or 13 percent of the total. Meanwhile, in the 30- to 50-year-old age group, the number has reached 1.64 million, or 40 percent of the total.

Then, among people aged above 50, the number has reached 1.350 million, or 34 percent of the total.

The ministry has recorded that among the upper middle class, the average value of online gambling transactions ranges from Rp100,000 (around US$6.07) to Rp40 billion (around US$2.42 million), while among the lower middle class, it is in the range of Rp10,000 to Rp100,000.

Therefore, the task force is currently seeking to save people who have become addicted to gambling. In addition, many online gamblers have fallen into the trap of online loans.

Online gambling is prohibited in Indonesia as per Article 27, Paragraph (2), of Law Number 1 of 2024 concerning the Second Amendment to the Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law.

According to Article 27, Paragraph (2), "every person who intentionally and without right distributes, transmits, and/or makes accessible electronic information and/or electronic documents that contain gambling content" will be said to be violating the rules.

In the article, "distributes" refers to sending or distributing information or electronic documents to many people via electronic systems.

Meanwhile, "transmits" pertains to sending electronic information and/or documents to other parties through electronic systems.

Further, "makes accessible" refers to all efforts, apart from distributing and transmitting, that can make other people access such information.

In other words, public figures or other parties who deliberately promote online gambling on social media can also be prosecuted under the law.

Those who violate the rules will be subject to up to 10 years' imprisonment and/or up to Rp10 billion (around US$607,288) in fines, as regulated by Article 45, Paragraph (3), of Law Number 1 of 2024.

Duties of the task force

At the office of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs in Jakarta on June 19, Tjahjanto and gambling task force personnel outlined some big tasks that must be completed in one to two weeks.

One of the tasks is eradicating online gambling by closing online game credit top-up services at mini-markets.

This has been a concern for the task force because there are several online games that are affiliated with online gambling practices. Thus, online game credit top-up services are deemed one of the things that are driving the rise of online gambling in society.

For this measure, village-affiliated non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) of the TNI and the police's security and public order officers (Bhabinkamtibnas) will be the main drivers in the field. They will inspect mini-markets and ask them to close such services.

At the same time, the task force will also coordinate with mini-market companies regarding efforts to close the services.

So far, the task force has data on around 4,000–5,000 bank accounts that are actively involved in online gambling transactions.

The data will be handed over to Polri's Criminal Investigation Agency so that transactions made via the accounts can be investigated. The agency will then freeze those accounts and announce them.

If, within 30 days, no one admits ownership of the accounts, then the agency will hand over the funds in the accounts to the state.

Thereafter, the agency will investigate the owners of the accounts to identify the main operators of the online gambling sites.

So far, the task force has identified a new mode that is being used by the community for gambling transactions, namely the trading of bank accounts.

This practice is closely related to online gambling because the accounts that are traded are used to keep the money won from gambling.

In this mode, perpetrators approach people and ask them to open bank accounts online with the promise of rewards. The people are required to submit their personal documents, such as ID cards and family cards, for this purpose.

The perpetrators then hand over those bank accounts to parties who trade those accounts so they can be used for online gambling transactions.

The task force has deployed Babinsa and Bhabinkamtibnas to detect bank account trading activities and disseminate information regarding the risks of online gambling.


The discourse on blocking several social media platforms is also currently being discussed widely by the public. The blocking will be carried out by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics because several social media sites are suspected of contributing to the spread of online gambling and pornographic content.

One of the platforms that has been warned about by the ministry is Telegram.

Communication and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that his ministry has sent the first and second warning letters to Telegram.

However, since it has not given a response, the ministry will send a third warning letter as the last warning. If Telegram does not respond, the ministry will block the platform.

According to data released as of January 2024 by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, around 800,000 online gambling websites have been blocked by the government.

Meanwhile, in the period from July 17, 2023, to June 13, 2024, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics has removed 2,945,150 items of online gambling-related content.

Indeed, eradicating online gambling in the digital era requires commitment and hard work. However, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics is optimistic that the online gambling task force will be able to eradicate online gambling, which has claimed many victims in the country.

Related news: Indonesia to block access to online gambling platforms
Related news: Govt to freeze bank accounts linked to online gambling

Editor: Anton Santoso
Copyright © ANTARA 2024