Indonesia has shut down more than 2 million websites offering illegal online gambling services. The communications minister has announced on Friday. He said that the activity was sucking the people’s blood dry.

In the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, online gambling is not allowed. Despite this, government data showed that more than 3 million Indonesians engaged in the activity last year. It was estimated to be worth almost $20 billion. This amounts to about 1.5% of the gross domestic product.
Budi Arie Setiadi, Communications Minister told Reuters in an interview that they’re wagering a universal war against online gambling. According to him, Indonesia online gambling is so concerning, it’s sucking the people’s blood dry. He added that online gambling undermined family finances and often weighed most heavily on women.
Setiadi said that this is a phenomenon that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This issue has drawn more public attention in recent months. This is due to a flurry of incidents.
Recently, an Indonesian policewoman set her husband on fire because of a gambling addiction. According to media reports, she said it had left them struggling financially.
The military said a few months ago that one of its officers had committed suicide because of mounting online gambling-related debts.
Budi said that authorities had shut down approximately 2.1 million websites. They had also frozen thousands of bank accounts. Additionally, a task force would soon be formally established.
Budi stated that most of the servers used by gambling sites originate from Cambodia. He also mentioned that thousands of Indonesians are working there to operate these servers, although he did not provide immediate evidence.
According to economists, the increased popularity of gambling in Indonesia, especially in lower income groups, hurts long-term productivity and traps people in poverty.
Officials have also attributed rising crime in some areas to gambling addiction. They have linked it to a higher divorce rate and an increase in Indonesians taking out high-interest loans.