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East Timor Gambling

East Timorese Gambling Laws

By Reno Rollins

Gambling is illegal throughout East Timor. The exact reasons for the ban are unknown, though it may have to do with the fact that the majority of the population are devout Roman Catholics. As a part of the Indonesia island chain, East Timor lies within a region where morality laws tend to be strict.

Gambling laws are enforced rigorously, as evidenced by a 2007 raid on illegal gambling rings in the district of Dili. Timorese police, along with the International Stabilization Force of the United Nations, raided three gambling venues. Each hall was found to have more than 50 slot machines. Over 250 machines were seized in all, as well as $20,000 in cash. Ninety-four people were arrested or detained in the operation.

Timor-Leste Information

Officially known as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, East Timor is located in Southeast Asia. East Timor makes up the eastern half of the island of Timor, as well as the islands of Jaco, Atauro and the exclave of Oecussi-Ambeno. East Timor is located around 400 miles from Australia.

The country is divided into 13 districts. They are:

- Lautem
- Baucau
- Viqueque
- Manatuto
- Dili
- Aileu
- Manufahi
- Liquica
- Ermera
- Ainaro
- Bobonaro
- Cova-Lima
- Oecussi-Ambeno

Colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, the country was known as Portuguese Timor until decolonization of the country got underway. In 1975, East Timor declared their independence, but they were invaded nine days later by Indonesia.

During Indonesian rule, it is estimated that between 60,000 and 200,000 East Timorese were killed. From 1975 until 1999, a guerilla force known as Falintil fought against the Indonesian occupation. Some members were even trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces.

In 1999, due to an agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States, the residents of East Timor were allowed to vote on their fate. They could choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence. Elements of the Indonesian military, aided by local militias, destroyed land and homes following the election.

Following internal squabbles within the police and military, riots broke out in the country in 2006. Forty people were killed in the ensuing violence, and over 20,000 were forced to flee from their homes.

In 2008, President Jose Ramos-Horta was injured in an assassination attempt. The attack was organized by a soldier in the East Timorese military.

The population of East Timor is estimated to be one-million. Much of this population is concentrated around the city of Dili. The largest ethnic groups on the island include: Tetum, Mambae, Tukudede, Galoli, Kemak and Baikeno.

Along with the Philippines, East Timor is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic nations in Asia. Other religious groups include: animists, Muslims, Protestants, Hindu and Buddhists.

The two official languages of the nation are Portuguese and Tetum. In all, over fifteen indigenous languages are spoken in East Timor. During Indonesian rule, citizens were banned from speaking Portuguese.

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