The Future of Online Gaming in Indonesia
In Asia, online gambling is fast attracting more and more fans. The majority of industry experts believe that two trends will continue to grow in Asia in the next years: an increased number of people interested in online gambling and for Japan to become the second-largest market in Asia.
Even though the online gambling industry in the Asia-Pacific area is currently expected to grow from $34.4 billion to $79.3 billion in the next few years (according to a recent Global Gaming Outlook report lead by PriceWaterhouseCooper), countries like Indonesia have been fighting against it.
At the beginning of July, three Indonesian ministries – Social Affairs, Religious Affairs and Communication and IT, announced that they have been working together to ban all forms of online gambling in Indonesia. This announcement also referred to the websites that offer door prizes and free lotteries. Every year the Social Affairs Ministry issues 8,000 license requests to operate free lotteries, but the websites were providing online gambling instead.
According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesians are gambling billions of rupiah online every day, even going beyond that to put their properties at stake as well. At the same time, this action follows a similar effort to block access to pornography started by the Communication and Information Technology Ministry two years ago. In February 2012, the Indonesian authorities announced that nearly one million sites that carried pornographic content had been blocked in order to “improve people’s ethics in using the Internet for positive purposes” (www.thejakartapost.com). At that time, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring underlined the fact that Indonesia has 45 million Internet users and counting, with a 25.8% per year growth in household computers use.
The Indonesian authorities have been making efforts to combat online gambling since 2010, but only a “small number” of sites have been banned so far according to Ashwin Sasongko, the ministry’s informatics applications chief cited by The Jakarta Post. Meanwhile, the fact can’t be ignored that there are countries where the online gambling is legal and many of these websites allow Indonesian gamblers to enjoy betting on global sporting events.
Watch this space to see if the Indonesian Government succeeds in its mission to improve people’s behaviour and to make the online space a more ‘ethical’ experience.
This article was written by social media professional Denisa Caciulan.