Indonesian Government Moves to Ban Online Casinos

In a statement released earlier this month, the Indonesian government has announced that it will move to ban all forms of online gambling, including free lotteries and door prizes as well as online casinos.

In a seminar hosted by state radio station RRI, informatics applications chief Ashwin Sasongko said that the Social Affairs, the Religious Affairs, Communications and Information Technology Ministries will all be working together to effect the ban.

‘We will ask the Social Affairs Ministry to assess whether the services provided are indeed online gambling or merely online games. Should that ministry decide that something is an online gambling websites, we will ban the URL,’ he said.

Casino blog sites report that companies have been using the free lotteries licenses granted by the Social Affairs Ministry to operate gambling websites instead. Gambling is considered to be (haram) unlawful according to Islam and is prohibited. Greenpeace Indonesia has recently come under fire for receiving indirect funding from Greenpeace Netherlands, which receives donations from the Postcode Lottery. The NGO has been asked to close its office by protesters.

The move to ban online gambling by removing access to websites echoes a similar, unsuccessful attempt to ban pornography in February 2012, where the government announced that it had shut down one million websites with pornographic content. Indonesians, who reportedly gamble billions of rupiah every day, can still access online casinos and other gambling websites that are hosted overseas.