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Indonesia - online gambling regulations

Published by Niki | August 13, 2020

Gambling in Indonesia

Indonesia has one of the largest populations, comprising of over 240 million people. It is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is also considered the world’s largest island country, consisting of more than 14,000 islands. Much like in Malaysia, the majority of the population is Muslim (around 85%), which has a profound impact on all laws regarding gambling.

Over the past few years, online gambling has become a massive thing in most countries. Players are curiously flocking towards online casinos before being fully aware of what the legal ramification might be.

Indonesia specifically is one of the countries where you can run into a lot of trouble for gambling. And if there are loopholes in their laws, they generally are very quick to fix them. In this guide, we’ll take a look at their history with gambling, the current laws and regulations as well as what could happen when someone is caught taking part in the act of online gambling.

Online gambling regulations in Indonesia

History and laws on gambling in Indonesia

When you look at Indonesia now, you wouldn’t think that nearly 700 years ago there were forms of card and coin gambling games played on the streets. The main reason for this was that there was a lot of Chinese influence at the time, and it is a well-known fact that the Chinese love to gamble. With the Chinese influence strong in the country for a very long time, the love for gambling spread. Unfortunately, in the 14th Century, the country became much more serious about religion, which is not a bad thing for those of faith but was a bad thing for the gambling industry in general.

Such a big country with the 4th biggest population has the possibility of creating a very lucrative gambling and online gambling market. For religious reasons, however, this has been prohibited. Over the years the battle between religion and gambling has continued, and while it is still an ongoing battle, stricter laws have been implemented on gambling in Indonesia.

In the 1960s the gambling laws were very relaxed and citizens were able to partake in these activities. But in 1973 the government took a stand and reverted to religious traditions, which resulted in all gambling permits being revoked. The country thus went from tolerating and allowing gambling to being completely against it.

At present, any form of gambling is considered illegal in Indonesia. While the legalities are in place with the country following Sharia Law, there are still some who partake in online gambling and other forms of gambling. There’s not much that can be done to stop citizens from taking part in gambling activities, but the harsh reality is that there are severe punishments waiting for those who are caught.

Because these laws are the subject of so much protest, there is hope that at some point the country will consider opening up to the idea of gambling once more. Unfortunately, at this point, it seems like more of a dream than a reality. In fact, Indonesia is rated as one of the 8 most difficult countries of the world to gamble in. Punishments for those caught in the act of gambling include imprisonment of up to 10 years as well as public beatings.

Tighter restrictions and more attempts to ban online gambling

The Indonesian authorities have managed to come up with a way to end all illegal online gambling in the country. The Communications and Information Ministry, Social Affairs Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry believe that together they’ve come up with a great idea that will completely eliminate illegal gambling.

This includes blocking all online gambling sites, which has been done in various other countries too, as well as enforcement of the current laws. Sites that do have to license in the country will be investigated to see if they’ve stuck to the laws and have only been providing simplistic games. If not they will be blocked. Furthermore, all sites running free lotteries will be blocked in the same way as illegal online gambling sites. In the past years, there have even been cases where the government has imprisoned tourists for participating in online gambling within Indonesian borders.

Are online gambling winnings taxable in Indonesia?

While Indonesian residents are required to file annual individual tax returns if their income exceeds the minimum threshold of IDR 54,000,000 for a single person or IDR 72,000,000 for a married person, there is no information regarding taxes specifically placed on online gambling winnings.

However, because the strict laws render all gambling activities completely illegal, it is assumed that residents are abiding by the law and therefore no tax rules have to be applied when it comes to gambling.

Is online gambling legal in Indonesia?

Much like in Malaysia there are very strict laws and regulations completely banning any forms of gambling within the country. The problem is that there are so many residents that still choose to partake in the act of online gambling. With the current talk of tightening the restrictions on access to online casino sites or any forms of gambling, these residents will soon have no choice but to stick to the laws.

At the current moment, there are still some online casinos that are open to Indonesian residents and welcome them with open arms. If you decide to play at any of these licensed online casinos, you need to be aware of the consequences of these actions if you are caught doing so. As stated earlier in the guide, these punishments are quite severe and include a prison sentence of up to 10 years as well as public beatings. Under Sharia Law, any form of gambling is not just illegal but heavily frowned upon.

While it is definitely not recommended, there are still a few online casinos to choose from. When playing at any online casino it is best to make sure they are legally licensed in another territory and that they accept Indonesian players and are able to complete transactions. Once again there are not many loopholes in Indonesian laws, and if a player should get caught there will be a hefty fine to pay.

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