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Indonesia blocks 1,700 bank accounts linked to online gambling as industry grows

Updated:2024-03-20 10:14    Views:84

The Financial Services Authority of Indonesia (OJK) has taken action against online gambling by blocking at least 1,700 bank accounts linked to illicit activity, with the possibility of more to come, according to Dian Ediana Rae, Chief Executive of Banking Supervision at OJK.

Speaking during a virtual press conference on October 9, 2023, Dian emphasised that banks are increasingly implementing systems to detect gambling-related transactions.

OJK has also urged banks to report the blocked accounts to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) for further investigation, ensuring a follow-up process.

PPATK has reported a significant surge in the flow of money through online gambling transactions, which reached Rp81 trillion ($5.4bn) in value in 2022, up from Rp57 trillion in 2021.

Natsir Kongah, a spokesman for PPATK, highlighted the rise in suspicious financial transaction reports related to online gambling — identifying the involvement of school children partaking in online gambling.

In 2021, PPATK received 3,online sports betting download446 such reports, which surged to 11,222 in 2022.

The trend continued in 2023, with 916 reports in January, 831 reports in February and 1,096 reports in May.

This action by OJK comes as the global online gambling industry experiences rapid growth, doubling in size over the past four years to reach 176 million users and generating over $95bn in revenue in 2023.

The industry has seen consistent revenue growth of approximately 20% annually in recent years, with online sports betting emerging as the largest revenue stream, expected to bring in $43.5bn in 2023. Online casinos have also seen substantial growth, with revenue rising from $16.6bn in 2019 to $34.8bn in 2023.

The number of online gamblers continues to rise, with over 80 million new users since 2019, bringing the total to 176 million in 2023.

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