Indonesian Treasury Banks Funds in Nationwide Gambling Clamp-Down – Arrests Made


President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) signed Presidential Decree 21/2024 into force on June 14th, underscoring the Indonesian government’s unwavering commitment to stamping out online gambling.

The decree establishes the Online Gambling Eradication Task Force and intensifies recent efforts to halt illegal gambling on the archipelago.

Indonesia, population 275.5 million people, has a thriving betting market, with an estimated 2.37 million regular gamblers.

Although all forms of gambling are illegal, and punishable by up to four-years in prison, in 2023, gambling transactions amounted to a staggering 127 trillion Rupiahs, the equivalent of £613 billion, reported the south-east Asian nation’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

The new decree empowers the country’s financial institutions to monitor and seize unclaimed “suspicious account funds”. It also supplies officers to drive enforcement efforts, targeting operators and consumers in what is becoming a major crackdown.

Blocking Access

The Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information, Budi Arie Setiadi, has formed the country’s new Online Gambling Eradication Task Force using officers from the National Armed Forces and National Police Force.

The task force continues a series of recent initiatives to curb gambling in the country, which has seen the blocking of almost one million gambling sites in the last six-months.

Gambling in Indonesia is largely considered a threat and a source of social harm and is illegal under Article 303 of the country’s criminal code.

Pocketing the Proceeds

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Hadi Tjahjanto, has said that as part of a coordinated effort, suspicious bank accounts have been put under surveillance and are being monitored for gambling transactions.

He added that the task force would block these transactions, working upstream with providers to prevent gambling payments.

According to Tjahjanto, Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center is already monitoring some 5,000 accounts.

Any suspicious findings are sent to Indonesia’s Criminal Investigation Agency and then shared with the account holder, who is given 30-days to claim their account. If they do not claim the account, the funds go to the national treasury.

Arrests

On Wednesday morning, The Jakarta Globe newspaper reported the arrest of seven social media influencers and 19 gamblers for online gambling offences.

Since April, Indonesian forces have made 464 arrests and confiscated over 67.5 billion rupiahs in cash (approximately £3.63 million), 500 mobile phones, 36 laptops, 257 bank accounts and 98 gambling accounts.

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