Indonesia vows to crack down on 'blood-sucking' online gambling

By Reuters   June 14, 2024 | 08:06 pm PT
Indonesia has shut down more than 2 million websites offering illegal online gambling services, the communications minister said on Friday, saying the activity was "sucking the people's blood dry".

Online gambling is prohibited in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, but last year more than 3 million Indonesians engaged in an activity estimated to be worth nearly US$20 billion, or about 1.5% of gross domestic product, government data showed.

"We're waging a universal war against online gambling," Communications Minister Budi Arie Setiadi told Reuters in an interview.

"Online gambling is so concerning, it's sucking the people's blood dry," said Budi, adding that online gambling undermined family finances and often weighed most heavily on women.

"This is a phenomenon that's just the tip of the iceberg."

The issue has drawn more public attention in recent months due to a flurry of incidents.

Last week an Indonesian policewoman set her husband on fire due to a gambling addiction that she said had left them struggling financially, according to media reports.

Two months ago, the military said one of its officers had committed suicide due to mounting online gambling-related debts.

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