Online Gambling is Booming in Indonesia

By Tibs
Gambling is officially illegal in Indonesia, in part due to religious reasons.

The ban is strictly enforced, so it is almost impossible to find a casino unless you are highly connected.

For instance, last year, a casino inside Robinson Apartment in West Jakarta was opened but it could operate for only three days before the police busted it.  91 of the 133 persons inside were named as suspects and they are now facing up to 10 years in jail.

Despite such severity, many Indonesians still love gambling. The richest will fly to Singapore, to Malaysia, or to Macau for that, but for most of them, the easiest way to bet money is to use online gambling sites.

While there are some international websites, they are often blocked by the government and they can't be used without a VPN. They also rarely use Indonesian debit cards.

For this reason, dozens of local gambling sites have been opened. Mewahbet, one of the most famous, has several mirror sites to hide from the authorities. When one domain is taken down, another one appears, and so on. You can also download their app or contact their customer service (Indonesian or English speakers) in case the website is unreachable.

In any case, it is always safer to use a VPN: The cost is only a few dollars per month and it is really useful to access blocked content in Indonesia.

Another popular feature of a website like Mewahbet is that you can deposit some money on your account from Indonesian banks like BNI, BCA, Mandiri, or CIMB Niaga.

Once your account is created, you are connected to players from all over the world. There are quite many games available:

- Card games, like Poker
- Lottery games, like Keno or Bingo
- Fish hunting games, an Asian favorite where the player is supposed to shoot at fishes then get points when they succeed to kill one.
- Slot games, the online version of slot machines
- Sports bet, they are platforms allowing you to place all kinds of bets on sporting events (football, tennis, golf, basketball, etc).
- Virtual casinos: These recreate the experience of visiting a casino, with all the typical tables (poker, blackjack, roulette) and slot machines. 

Because gambling is illegal in Indonesia, all these websites operate from outside the country. For this reason, it is hard to know exactly how many people they can reach. What is for sure is that it has never been easier to gamble in Indonesia than today. This makes me wonder if it is still relevant to ban real-life casinos, considering they would provide the government with much-needed tax revenue. Singapore did it, Malaysia did it, will Indonesia be next?

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