Indonesia cracks down on online gambling, restricts access to illegal websites

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Informatics, commonly abbreviated as Kominfo, has restricted access to over 800,000 forms of online gambling content. The Ministry, led by Budi Arie Setiadi, who assumed the position after the former minister left in May 2023, looks over communications, information affairs, and internet censorship in the country.

As per media reports, the Directorate General of Information Applications of the Ministry of Communication and Information shared data that shows that access to 805,923 forms of gambling content had been disabled. This is achieved through IP addresses, blocking websites, and even restricting payments.

Setiadi said: “This achievement is equivalent to the accumulation of online gambling content blocking that has been carried out over the previous five years. Kominfo collaborates with various stakeholders in eradicating online gambling. We are working with the Financial Services Authority, telecommunication, and internet service providers, and digital platforms.”

Kominfo has restricted access to 596,348 sites and IPs, 173,134 Meta platforms, 29,257 file-sharing platform accounts, 5,993 Google and Youtube platforms, 367 X (Twitter) platforms, 170 Telegram platforms, 15 TikTok platforms, 8 App Store platforms, and 1 Snack Video platform. More than 5,000 payment methods were also tracked and restricted as part of the initiative.

Gambling was banned in Indonesia on November 6, 1974, which restricted casinos, poker rooms, sports betting, and bingo. Despite the ban, a rise in gambling was seen in the country as various online sites accept Indonesian registrations.

Late last year, 2023, the Ministry noted that it would evaluate the effectiveness of Instruction No. 1 of 2023, which concerns online gambling. Setiadi issued the instruction on September 14th, 2023, as a follow-up to related laws aimed at preventing and eradicating digital content related to gambling. These also call for sanctions for those found participating in or promoting gambling.

At the time, Settiadi reaffirmed the government’s commitment to addressing this issue due to the potential “direct adverse impacts” on society.