The Government is Not Fast Enough, Online Gambling Reaches Rp600 Trillion, People’s Economy is “Struggling”

The Government is Not Fast Enough, Online Gambling Reaches Rp600 Trillion, People’s Economy is “Struggling”

By Eko B. Supriyanto, Chairman of Infobank Media Group

Online gambling in Indonesia is categorized as an emergency. Day by day, the turnover of online gambling is increasing. In the last five years, online gambling turnover has exceeded Rp600 trillion. Last year, this online gambling turnover reached Rp327 trillion. Now, if it is assumed to be the same, then for the end of 2024 the online gambling turnover can reach IDR 400 trillion, because the first quarter of 2024 has reached IDR 100 trillion.

According to the government, online gambling is difficult to eradicate even though it harms the little people, because each agency works independently. The government has formed an Integrated Task Force (Satgas) to eradicate online gambling, which is increasingly damaging and weakening the economy.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has officially formed the Online Gambling Eradication Task Force through Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 21 of 2024. The task force is directly led by a number of relevant ministers. In Article 4 of Presidential Decree Number 21 of 2024, the Online Gambling Task Force is tasked with optimizing the prevention and law enforcement of online gambling effectively and efficiently.

The Online Gambling Task Force was officially authorized by President Jokowi on Friday, June 14, 2024, led by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Hadi Tjahjanto. His duties as Chairman of the Task Force, Hadi is assisted by Daily Chairman for Prevention Budi Arie Setiadi and Daily Chairman for Law Enforcement Chief of Police Listyo Sigit Prabowo.

More specifically, the Online Gambling Task Force is to improve coordination between ministries/agencies and foreign cooperation in efforts to prevent and enforce online gambling laws. This task force is honestly a bit late and not fast enough. This is because from the formation meeting to the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 21 of 2024 is close to two months.

According to Infobank Institute , the plan to form the task force was revealed by the government last month. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Hadi Tjahjanto had held a meeting to finalize the formation of the Online Gambling Task Force with several ministry / agency officials at the Office of the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Jakarta, Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

The impact of online gambling is really worrying. Bad news came from Mojokerto, a wife burned her husband because the 13th salary money was used for online gambling. Also, there are many divorce rates due to online gambling. Even more terrible, many young people are also entangled in online gambling, then online loans that ensnare victims.

According to data from the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), the number of online gambling players in Indonesia has reached 3.5 million people. Of these, almost 80 percent come from the lower middle class. And, this is a big disaster for the country. Structural poverty is increasingly occurring.

In the field, the online gambling mode continues to develop with a variety of innovative offers. In fact,  this online gambling game is designed to have a strong psychological trapping power. Made addicted, and continue to play this online gambling. In line with that – online loan offers (pinjol) also immediately ambush gamblers. As a  gambler, if you have lost, you will still be hungry, even though the capital is from pinjol which has a suffocating interest rate. Losing gambling and then borrowing pinjol, then a calamity has occurred to the younger generations.

This online gambling can be a solace and win dreams of a better life. The victims of online gambling mostly concern the lower class people who are suffocated by poverty, although there are middle-class children. This group of people is easier to use for political purposes. The poor are entertained with online gambling dreams so that they can be easily “farmed” for political purposes.

Crazy! The statement of Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (Menko PMK) Muhadjir Effendy, although it has been corrected, his statement about online gambling victims will receive social assistance (bansos) makes you shake your head. Two days after the statement was corrected, Muhadjir, explained the idea of providing social assistance to victims of online gambling.

According to Muhadjir,  the information about the idea of providing social assistance was incomplete information . According to Muhadjir, those who are targeted to receive social assistance for victims of online gambling are not the perpetrators, but their families. Whatever it is, the government still seems to think about breeding the poor.

Whatever it is, this “incentive” for victims of online gambling is unlike the treatment in Singapore and Malaysia, which punishes online gambling offenders. Poor, Indonesia is still given social assistance. This discourse becomes controversial if you look at the ‘different treatment’ for online gambling offenders in various countries. For example, Singapore fines S$5000 and six months in prison. Malaysia fines RM3000 and one month in prison.

It is known, so far the Financial Services Authority (OJK) has suspend more than 5,000 accounts related to this online gambling, after all, it is like dying one grows a thousand. Change names and change accounts. So far, OJK has susped, but the flow of online gambling money continues to flow. In short, OJK can block, but cannot open or freeze accounts. The condition for freezing accounts is that there must be a request from law enforcement officials.

And, to make it easier to eradicate online gambling from the banking system, bank accounts indicated by online gambling are immediately blocked and the funds are confiscated to the state. This can be seen from the PPATK report on online gambling accounts which reached IDR 327 trillion.

The accounts (virtual accounts) are spread across banks in Indonesia. The step to cut off the gambling ecosystem from this can start from bank accounts and the online gambling ecosystem as a whole. For this reason, banks must also be given a strong legal umbrella, lest the blocking and freezing of bank accounts will cause new problems in the future.

That’s right. Eradicating online gambling cannot be done alone. Apart from banks, at least provisions are made if merchants are prohibited from facilitating top up services for gambling. Also, Financial Sector Business players are prohibited from facilitating online gambling. Stricter to fund transfer and payment gateway providers. In fact, e-money providers need to do due-diligence for game vouchers.

Not only that. It needs to be stricter for QRIS merchants that are used to top up game vouchers and at the same time apply small top up transactions. More importantly, it is necessary to create a taskforce consisting of BI (payment in QRIS), OJK, banks, Kemenkoinfo (address tracing), PPATK (gambling tracing), and of course the police. The taskforce can also expand its duties, including by conducting checks on online gambling players whose transactions have surged in the last five years.

It is also necessary to regulate the use of virtual accounts (VA), which until now has no provisions. In the past, VA was used as settlement administration, but now it has developed to be used for payment transactions provided by banks to non-banks, such as e-wallets and merchant aggregators.

Well, to cut off the flow of money or tracing the transfer of funds between countries to Hong Kong, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam and several countries that are often the stalls of online gamblers.

The greater the circulation of online gambling, the smaller the economic thrust and the impact on poverty. Do not let this poverty continue to grow, which later with social assistance can be “farmed” for political purposes.

Everyone must be firm about this online gambling. Young people who in 2045 will become the golden generation will not turn into an anxious generation that is limp due to online gambling addiction, which has entered this emergency category. Not only in terms of gambling addiction, but also about the “tightening” of the domestic economy, which the Government always mentions global factors that are not fine. Honestly, our own factors, which are represented by online gambling, are not mentioned. The rupiah exchange rate is still wild, a heavy fiscal burden that makes the people’s economy “gasping” plus the flight of public money to play gambling.

Imagine! In the last five years, the turnover of online gambling has been Rp600 trillion, or 3.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which in 2023 reached Rp20,892 trillion. And, that Rp600 trillion flew overseas. That is one of the reasons why the economy is struggling. Purchasing power drops, many people are poor and hope to win online gambling. The micro sector is “deflated” and there is a trend of non-performing loans in micro credit, the number of which continues to climb.

Not pessimistic about the effectiveness of the Online Gambling Task Force. However, if the approach of the Online Gambling Task Force is like the Illegal Collection Task Force, which we know there are more and more extortion, the Food Task Force turns out to be a lot of food shortages, the Anti-Drug Task Force, the Investment Alert Task Force and many other Task Forces such as the Anti-Hoax Task Force and the Law Enforcement Task Force.

Is the government not fast enough to prevent online gambling or is it half-hearted? Without involving the financial sector and banks, online gambling will continue to grow. so how? Eradicating cockfighting is difficult, right? Moreover, online gambling with the Task Force. Ask the swaying grass about the performance of the Task Force that has been formed.

Let’s save young people from online gambling and need to involve banks and the financial sector and the online gambling ecosystem which is still free despite the existence of this Online Gambling Task Force. Why?

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