Indonesian Gambling Laws
By Reno Rollins
Gambling is illegal in Indonesia. This primarily stems from a devotion to the religion of Islam, which forbids activities such as gambling and drinking alcohol.
In the past, Indonesia had a state-run lottery, but it drew protests from Muslim students and activists. They asserted that the poor citizens of the country were spending all their money on the lottery in an attempt to escape poverty. Others believed that lottery money was being funneled to the family of the country’s president at the time. For these reasons, the lottery was discontinued.
In the northern province of Aceh, the punishment for illegal gambling is caning. In 2005, four women were found guilty of gambling, and each received seven strikes from a 1-meter long rattan cane. The punishment took place in front of a crowd of thousands. Earlier that year, 15 men were also caned for gambling.
Tourists must also be on guard against illegal gambling gangs, especially in Bali. These fixed games result in large debts for the victim, and violence may result if travelers are unable to pay.
Located in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is comprised of 17,508 islands. The population is over 234 million, making it the world’s fourth most populous country and the largest Muslim-majority nation. The capital of the country is Jakarta, and the nation is neighbors to Singapore, Australia and the Philippines.
The five largest islands in Indonesia are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, New Guinea and Sulawesi. The capital of Jakarta is located on the island of Java, and it remains the largest city in the country. Other major cities include Surabaya, Bandung, Medan and Semarang. Java is the world’s most populous island with a population of 130 million.
As a member of the United Nations since 1950, Indonesia has worked hard to capture those linked to terrorist bombings. Indonesia has been the victim of numerous such attacks, with the worst coming in 2002, when a bomb killed 202 people in the Bali resort town of Kuta. Since that time, most countries have advised travelers to stay away from Indonesia, and the country’s tourism has greatly suffered as a result.
The official language of the country is Indonesian. It is taught in public schools and used in business, politics and all other walks of life.
The government recognizes six religions: Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. While Indonesia is not considered an Islamic state, almost 86% of the population are Muslim.
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