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Indonesia Online Casinos

IndonesiaMade up of more than 14,000 individual islands, Indonesia is a large nation that spans much of the southern Pacific and Southeast Asia. And while you may not think of it as a major world power, this country has a population of more than 255 million, making it the fourth most populous nation in the world today.

That large population also makes this the largest country in the world with a majority Muslim population. And while the government is not a theocratic one, Islam wields plenty of cultural influence here, which has serious consequences for anyone who is hoping to see a flourishing gaming industry here. In fact, the government’s take on gambling is similar to that of other Islamic nations: it is simply not allowed here.

Total Ban Holds Firm, For Now

In Indonesia, gambling has been criminalized since the 1970s. This is a complete ban, encompassing casinos, lotteries, and parimutuel wagering on horse racing. This wasn’t always the case: under colonial rule, for instance, the Dutch ran lotteries for a time in the early 1800s.

When the country gained its independence in 1967, the newly installed government did not immediately take any steps to curtail gambling, instead leaving it up to the individual provinces to determine whether or not to regulate gaming in any form. However, even then the cultural influence of Islam was felt, with many local governments hesitating to operate lotteries or other games for fear of being criticized by Muslim leaders.

However, while the above may seem offputting, the good news is that there are plenty of reputable online casinos in Indonesia. Many of these support Indonesian language and allow games to be played in Rupiah. The best Indonesian casinos are listed below.

Top Casino Sites in Indonesia 2019

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In 1967, Governor Ali Sadikin legalized gambling throughout the country, albeit under fairly tight controls. Three Indonesian casinos were approved, slot parlors were opened, and betting was allowed on greyhound and horse races. Lotteries were also put into place, which helped to fuel infrastructure projects throughout the nation.

But this situation would not last. In 1973, the government banned public gambling under pressure from Muslim officials. A year later, all existing gaming permits were revoked, although the existing casinos were allowed to continue operating as long as only foreigners were allowed to play. And in 1981, regulations were tightened even further, banning any form of betting whatsoever.

From time to time, the country has dabbled into the gambling world again, though never for very long. Soccer pools were opened up in the 1980s, but were cancelled after a few years. A second attempt at a widespread lottery to fund social programs also lasted for just a short period of time before being shut down by parliament.

Today, the ban holds firm thanks to a strong coalition of Muslim lawmakers who oppose the practice on religious grounds and other legislators who have their own concerns over the social ills that could be caused by a robust gaming industry. But the question is far from settled, as proposals are still brought up from time to time to bring back betting in various forms.

In the meantime, illegal gambling dens have become rather well established throughout the country, particularly in Jakarta and other major cities. Police do attempt to shut down these operations, but they are often widespread and exist with the tacit approval of local governments who see them as a way to attract tourism and money into their communities.

Foreign Sites Only Online Option

If you had hoped that there would be more tolerance for online gambling in Indonesia, then prepare for to be disappointed: the government takes just as much of a hardline position against Internet gaming as it does when dealing with land-based venues. The difference, though, is that online play is much harder to control, meaning that online betting in Indonesia is extremely widespread, despite the national stance.

That’s not for a lack of effort on the government’s part. Officials have tried on several occasions to block sites offering games to Indonesians, with varying levels of success. At any given time, some sites may be effectively blocked; however, far more tend to slip through the cracks, and tech-savvy citizens tend to find ways to access even those that have been prohibited.

What these efforts have accomplished is preventing any local Internet betting operations from taking hold, at least in a regulated way. On the other hand, many of the top foreign firms that run or supply software to Internet casinos are happy to let Indonesians play on their sites, even if the government isn’t too happy about it. This means that you’ll find most of the popular online casino gaming brands here – with the exception of some of the publically-owned firms that tend to stay exclusively in regulated markets. A few of the better-known developers who supply games here are:

  • Playtech
  • Microgaming
  • Betsoft
  • RTG
  • NetEnt
  • Topgame

Debates Over Legalization Likely to Continue

It may seem inevitable that a country with a population that is more than 85% Muslim would never allow gambling to be legalized within its borders, but as we’ve already discussed, that is clearly not the case in Indonesia. Illegal betting is so widespread as to be available to anyone who wants to find it, and the country has on several occasions allowed various forms of wagering to take place legally.

That means that it is highly likely that local and provincial governments will continue to lobby for reforms that allow them to offer something – be it a lottery, sports pools, or casino licenses – that allow them to collect taxes rather than watch illegal operators continue to rake in the profits. Whether or not this is going to convince national officials to the extent where such a bill can pass through parliament remains to be seen, but the issue won’t disappear anytime soon.

Even if this does occur, however, it is unclear whether online play would be any part of these attempts at regulation. It seems like a long shot at best: governments have rarely pushed forward with Internet betting sites before allowing land-based play to become established first. That’s not to say that regulation of online casinos could never take place here, but rather that we’ll have to see brick-and-mortar regulation first – and it will have to manage to last for more than a handful of years.

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