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Rising tide of online gambling in Indonesia exceeds IDR 500 trillion, warns financial watchdog

Indonesia faces a staggering IDR 500 trillion surge in online gambling transactions, prompting financial authorities to halt 1,322 suspicious accounts, emphasizing the need for heightened financial literacy.

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INDONESIA – M Natsir Kongah, the Coordinator of the Public Relations and Financial Transaction Analysis Center (PPATK), has disclosed that online gambling transactions have surged beyond IDR 500 trillion (approximately USD$35.7 billion), from 2017 to 2023.

This revelation comes as a stark reminder of the growing challenge posed by the flourishing online gambling industry in Indonesia.

The Financial Transaction Analysis Center (PPATK) Building, Center of Jakarta. (Photo: the documentation of PPATK)

 

“According to the analysis conducted by PPATK on financial transactions related to online gambling, the total nominal transactions analyzed from 2017 until now exceed IDR 500 trillion,” stated Natsir in a press release on Saturday (25 Nov).

Natsir further highlighted that the prevalence of online gambling transactions has witnessed a steady annual increase, indicating a lack of financial literacy among the Indonesian population.

He pointed out that this surge reflects the temptation of instant wealth through these games, particularly among the younger generation.

In the period of 2022-2023 alone, a staggering 3,295,310 individuals were reported to have participated in online gambling activities, with deposits reaching a substantial IDR 34.51 trillion (USD$2.47 billion).

To address this growing concern, PPATK has taken proactive measures by temporarily halting transactions involving 1,322 entities, comprising 3,236 accounts, suspected to be associated with online gambling.

However, the scale of transaction suspensions is significantly smaller compared to the suspected deposit amount linked to online gambling, totalling IDR 138 billion, and approximately USD 9.86 billion.

Natsir emphasized that this financial turnover encompasses betting funds, prize payouts, gambling operation fees, inter-network transfers among bookmakers, and transactions suspected of money laundering by these networks.

A common modus operandi observed in online gambling transactions is the use of other people’s accounts as fund repositories.

Consequently, Natsir issued a plea to the public not to share their bank account details with online gambling operators, as these could potentially be exploited for criminal activities.

As authorities grapple with this issue, the public is urged to remain vigilant and exercise caution in their financial dealings to mitigate the risks associated with the online gambling surge.

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