How to Promote Online Betting and Gambling in Indonesia?

Publication date: 17 Aug 2023

Indonesia is one of the largest Asian countries and a huge gambling market. Passions around online casinos and betting shops boil every day: you can’t play officially, but the rates still rise! In a new review from 3S.INFO, find out more about how to promote online betting and gambling in Indonesia.

How is online betting and gambling regulated in Indonesia?

The only law that regulates the gambling market in the country is Article 303 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. This document prohibits all types of gambling.

The regulatory body responsible for enforcing the law is the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Informatics (Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika / Kominfo).

What types of gambling are allowed in Indonesia?

Indonesia How to promote online betting gambling games 3SNET en

Consequently, all casinos and bookmakers are banned in Indonesia, players and organizers face imprisonment. The current edition of the Criminal Code provides for 10 years imprisonment for organizers and 4 years for players (6 years for repeated offences).

  • The Criminal Code of Indonesia was adopted in 2023, but will come into full force only in 2026. This document has been in development for more than 50 years! Along with the ban on gambling and betting, it prohibits sex out of wedlock, witchcraft and dark magic, hoax and trolling on the Internet. Both nationals and foreigners face punishment!

It makes sense that with such a total ban, any advertisement of online betting and gambling is banned in Indonesia.

  • Nevertheless, the fact that GEO Indonesia is at the top in 2023 is evident from the ad networks’ metrics! In the review on 3S.INFO “Media Buying: all about ad networks” you can read more details. 

Facts of punishment for gambling in Indonesia

  • The prohibition of any gambling activity for the Indonesian government is not just words written in the law. Officials, together with law enforcement agencies, are actively fighting any proliferation of casinos and bookmakers. Criminal proceedings can be brought not only for organization, but also for participation, as well as advertising and promotion. Not only locals are prosecuted, but also citizens of other countries (they face arrest and deportation).
  • In May 2023, 2 affiliates are arrested in South Sumatra. They are accused of illegally promoting gambling through a YouTube channel. They could receive up to 6 years in prison and a fine (US$67,000).
  • In January 2023, a Tangerang court sentenced Influencer Indra Kesuma (under the nickname Indra Kenz) to 10 years in prison, for “traffic scheming”. 
  • In October 2022, online gambling promotion team owner Apin BK was extradited from Malaysia and arrested. Fourteen others were arrested with him. Police seized assets worth INR 158.8 billion (about US$10.2 million).
  • In September 2022, Indonesia’s Anti-Money Laundering Agency charged the governor of Papua province, Lukas Enembe. According to law enforcement agencies, since 2017, the official transferred about $39 million to the accounts of foreign casinos.

These facts confirm that the gambling market in Indonesia is very developed and continues to expand, with plenty of opportunities for sports betting or online gambling.

How much money is made on gambling in Indonesia?

The money that is in the gambling market in Indonesia can be judged by the turnover of the Higgs Domino Island* game. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi revealed that the website turnover with this game can even reach up to 2.2 trillion rupees per month, (about US$150 million). “This means that in a year’s time, their revenues could be around INR 27 trillion, and that’s for just one site!”, stated Setiadi.

*According to the Google Play store, the app has been downloaded 50 million times. The site has been blocked in Indonesia since August 2023.

Based on the ministry’s reports, he also explained the number of bets.  “Imagine INR 30,000 is spent in a day of playing slot machines. In a month, INR 900,000 is spent! Everyone plays, including small children,” he said.

!!! 3SNET warns: the audience for advertising gambling and betting in any country must be of legal age only. Not only is access to online gambling and sports betting sites prohibited to minors, but such adverts cannot be targeted at children and teenagers !!!!

How are gambling and betting sites blocked in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, blocking illegal casino and betting sites is handled by the Ministry of Communications and Information. Since July 2023, the government has been collaborating with mobile phone companies and internet service providers to block access to gambling websites and apps more effectively.

“Illegal providers are looking for new ways of attracting players to the country, which requires new blocking tactics. Apart from the use of influencers, SMS and WhatsApp messaging have recently become the most widely used method of spreading online content,” explained Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi.

All identified instances of online casino or bookmaker adverts being distributed in Indonesia (websites, publications on services, social media posts) must be deleted within 24 hours. Platforms refusing to do so will be sanctioned by law enforcement.

For 5 years (since July 2018), Indonesia has blocked about 900 thousand gambling sites and applications. According to Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi, “On average, we close access to 1,500-2,000 websites and dozens of apps daily. That said, we believe that regulating rather than banning such sites would be more effective.”

Moreover, in August 2022, Indonesian authorities forcibly blocked about 500,000 accounts on gambling sites.

How to attract Indonesian residents to gambling sites?

The Republic of Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, it is the largest country in the region and the largest island nation in the world.

The population is about 277.7 million people, besides the indigenous population (Javanese, Sunda, Madura, Malay, Papuans) there are large groups of Chinese, Arabs and Indians. You have to take into account that because of the huge number of locals, a “small group” of Chinese can be as large as 7 million people.

It is a developing country with a large young population, the average age of Indonesians is 30 years old.

The capital is Jakarta, other major cities are Bandung, Bekasi, Depok, Medan, Surabaya, Tangerang. Among the provinces of Indonesia stands out Bali, a place traditionally attractive for tourists.  

The main language is simple Indonesian, it is known by about 80% of the population. Most of the inhabitants also speak their native local language (most of all speakers of Javanese, Sundanese, Madura).

The official currency is the Indonesian rupiah IDR (exchange rate 1 rupiah = 0.000066542 US dollar).

Indonesia is a secular state, but about 90% of its inhabitants profess Islam. It is Sharia law that influences Indonesia’s negative attitudes and gambling and betting bans.  Nonetheless, another 10% (which is about 30 million people!) are adherents of Hinduism (mainly in Bali), Buddhism, Christianity and various forms of paganism.

The national domain is .id.

Payment means available in Indonesia

Payment transfers are under special control by the government. In particular, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology receives notifications about the use of bank accounts for online gambling. According to the department, from January to 17 July 2023, 1,859 complaints were received about the use of bank accounts for online gambling.

Meanwhile, Visa and MasterCard can be used for deposits at online casino and bookmaker sites in Indonesia.

Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz, MuchBetter are officially available in Indonesia.

Local e-wallets OVO, GoPay, LinkAja (TCash receiver), ShopeePay, DANA are also available to residents. 

Digital banking services in Indonesia are represented by Jago, Lime, BTPN Jenius, OCBC Nyala, and Permata.

Cryptocurrency has an official status in Indonesia. Yet it can only be invested, the law prohibits paying and accepting payments in crypto. According to Finam (June 2023), 17,5 million Indonesians have investments in various cryptocurrencies, and the total transaction volume for half a year was USD 4.42 billion.

Creatives for Indonesia: culture specifics

  • National diversity affects everything. Indonesia has a huge number of public holidays! Christian New Year (1 January), Chinese New Year, Balinese New Year and Muslim New Year (dates are determined by the respective calendars), Christmas (25 December), Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (Islamic calendar) and Buddha’s birthday (Buddhist calendar). Christian holidays include Good Friday and Ascension of the Lord, while Muslim holidays include Mi’raj, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The only secular holiday, Independence Day, is celebrated on 17 August.
  • In most religions represented in Indonesia, alcohol is forbidden. This means that a glass of beer or a nice cocktail in creatives can cause a rather negative reaction.
  • Important details!  As everywhere in Islam, you cannot touch money, food and expensive things, clothes with your left hand, but you should enter a room where there is music, alcohol or gambling with your left foot.
  • Indonesians are modest and quiet people; they are not fond of standing out and bragging. As symbols of wealth, status and good luck can be used “Indonesian magic coins” called Gobog, Bohe headdress, frogs and other symbols from the world of flora and fauna, as well as the image of the patron saint of prosperity Barong. The long fingernails of Indonesians are a sign of belonging to a wealthy class that can afford to avoid manual labour. A cage of fighting roosters is also a good way to emphasize affluence and success.  
  • Localization and local cultural sensitivity is relevant for the effective promotion of betting and gambling. The most successful creatives are translated into Indonesian, and games in this language are more favoured by the local population. Besides, it is better to specify Indonesian odds for sports betting in Indonesia (all quotes are indicated in the form of decimals).  Experts also recommend using Indonesian music, images, ornaments when making creatives.

Which slots and online games are popular in Indonesia?

According to Google Trends data for the past 12 months (from August 2022 to August 2023), the most popular among people in Indonesia are:

  • EA SPORTS FIFA 23 online game;
  • Sule Toto, Shio Togel, Chu Togel online lotteries are highly sought after;
  • Slots: in the most requested casinos Area 188 (in the category “Hot” slots are Mania Rabbit, Asgardian Fire, Space Doggy, True Kult, Anatomic Kitten, Mahjong Ways), Catur Win (Thor, Papi Zeus, Joker Jewels, Aztec Gems, Sweet Bonanza, Starlight Prinscess), Jual Toto (Queenie, The Ultimate 5, North Guardians, Gates of Olimpus, Fruit Party).

What sports are popular in Indonesia?

  • Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands for several hundred years, which led to the popularization of European sports. Summer sports such as football, motorbike racing, volleyball and tennis are the most favourite.
  • Football is the most attended and profitable sport in Indonesia. Besides the national team, which plays in the World Cup, Olympic Games and Asian Cup, there are 7 teams, which are cheered by the local population: Persib Bandung, Persija Jakarta, Persis Solo, Persebaya Surabaya, PSIS Semarang, PSIM Yogyakarta and PSM Madiun. As a matter of fact, the excitement of Indonesian fans is also evidenced by the high level of violence and hooliganism (frequent fights between fans, bullying of athletes on social media).  “FIFA World Cup” is one of the most popular queries in Indonesia (according to Google Trends).
  • Badminton! The men’s and women’s national teams are often on the medalists at various levels of competition, including the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup. Indeed, it was the badminton players who brought Indonesia all 8 Olympic medals.
  • Badminton courts in Indonesia are also used for the traditional game of Sepak takraw (Malay volleyball). This ball game has several types like regu, hoop and circle. This sport is included in the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, and world championships in Sepak takraw are held.
  • A variety of martial arts are enjoyed by Indonesians, including the national sport of Silat (wrestling combined with dancing to traditional music).
  • Board games are one of the favourites among Indonesians. Besides chess, mahjong and mancala (a game of grains) are in demand.
  • Kite flying competitions are a traditional pastime in Indonesia, with a festival in Bali being particularly notable. It is celebrated from July to October and attracts many tourists and locals. Teams of 10 to 70 people compete in flying kites of different shapes (fish, bird or leaf), as well as in creating unique kites.
  • Indonesia has large-scale gasing (playing the spinning top) competitions, including the National ‘Gasing’ festival. 
  • Cockfighting is illegal in Indonesia (and most of all in Bali), but attracts thousands of spectators and millions of rupiah in bets.
  • The Indonesian national team participates in the Olympic Games as well as the Southeast Asian Games.

What are the popular traffic sources in Indonesia?

Indonesia ranks 3rd in Asia in terms of internet penetration* with access to the web constantly expanding. In 2021, Indonesia had around 12.4 million fixed broadband subscribers. In 2021, 5G mobile technology was launched and gradually rolled out in Indonesia. The first provider was Telkomsel, followed by Indosat (IOH) and XL.

According to 2022 data, 220 million people in Indonesia have become smartphone users. Experts predict that mobile internet penetration in Indonesia will steadily increase and will reach 89.95 per cent (264.95 million users) by 2028.

*Statista data for 2021-22.

According to SimilarWeb data for July 2023: 

  • The first place among popular search engines in Indonesia is occupied by google.com, followed by yandex.com and google.co.id. Residents of this country also actively use y2mate.com and ssyoutube.com (YouTube uploaders).
  • Facebook* and Instagram* are the leaders among social networks. Whatsapp and Twitter.com round out the top of Indonesia’s favourite social networks.

According to data published on Statista, the behaviour of Indonesia’s internet users in 2022 looks like the following:

  • The most popular online activity is watching videos;
  • 32.1% of the population spends between 1 and 3 hours on the web daily;
  • The highest proportion of Facebook users* in Indonesia, 31.8%, are between the ages of 18 and 24. In total, there are about 195.2 million Facebook users in the country, 46.3% of whom are women.
  • The highest proportion of Instagram* users in Indonesia, 38.3%, are aged between 18 and 24. Overall, the service has approximately 103.95 million users: 51.7% are female and 48.3% are male.
  • The highest share of LinkedIn users in Indonesia – 62.9 per cent – is between the ages of 25 and 34. Altogether, there are about 22.27 million users of this social network in Indonesia.

*Facebook and Instagram belong to Meta, recognized as extremist in Russia. The services are blocked by court order.

Twitter is allowed in Indonesia. However, on 26 July 2023, the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology blocked the new Twitter domain called x.com, from which pornography and information about gambling had been previously distributed.  

By the way, Indonesia has successful experience in blocking various services and social networks. As an example, in the summer of 2022, access to gaming platforms Steam, Dota, Counter-Strike and Epic Games, payment system PayPal and search engine Yahoo were banned due to violation of local legislation.  Access to the sites was restored after changes were made. 

According to 2022 data from mobile app service AppMagic, Indonesia is one of the top five countries in terms of VPN downloads.

Localized social networks popular in Indonesia include:

  • Mig.Me, a service based in Australia, providing chat, microblogging and entertainment content.
  • Line, Japanese messenger entered the Indonesian market in 2014, immediately got more than 30 million users.
  • KakaoTalk, messenger from South Korea, with design and content adapted specifically for Indonesia.
  • BeeTalk, a dating service from Singapore.

On the basis of all that, we can conclude that despite the bans, the gambling market in Indonesia is huge and very active! It is essential not only to take into account the local peculiarities, but also to be proactive. 3SNET has prepared the best offers from casinos and bookmakers, where quality traffic from Indonesia is expected!

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