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Jokowi Denies Plan of Online Gambling Social Assistance

Translator

Najla Nur Fauziyah

Editor

Laila Afifa

19 June 2024 17:58 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta President Joko Widodo or Jokowi stressed that the government would not hand out social assistance to online gambling players. "Nothing, no (social assistance for online gamblers)," said Jokowi on June 19, 2024, quoted from a video statement. 

Jokowi's statement responded to the recent discourse about social assistance for the families of online gambling players. The plan was deemed problematic as online gambling is an unlawful act.

The Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy first proposed the plan during a meeting to form the Online Gambling Eradication Task Force on Thursday, June 13, 2024.

"It’s clear the gamblers must be prosecuted, what I meant by social assistance was for their families,” said the Deputy Chair of the Online Gambling Eradication Task Force on Monday, June 17, 2024.

The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) criticized the notion. According to FITRA, providing social assistance to families of online gambling players equals subsidizing the gamblers. 

"The social assistance could trigger the rise of new gamblers since the state bears the impact (of online gambling),” said FITRA researcher, Gurnadi Ridwan.

Even if only a select number of the families of gamblers are qualified to receive the social assistance, Gurnadi said there’s no guarantee the aid would not be used to fund the perpetrator's gambling activities. 

Instead of social assistance, Gurnadi believes the government would be better at boosting job opportunities to eradicate the poverty issue in the country. 

Director of the Digital Economy of the Center of Economic and Law Studies (Celios) Nailul Huda also opined that online gambling players do not deserve social assistance as they have caused state loss. 

“Online gambling players knowingly violate the law. They can’t be referred to as victims,” Huda said on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. 

On the other hand, a Sociologist from Jakarta State University, Asep Suryana, said the social assistance plan is normal as the state is obliged to intervene with individuals who are affected by online gambling. 

“Online gambling is a psychosocial problem. People who are addicted to online gambling would not think ahead,” said Asep when contacted on Tuesday. "If they fall into poverty (due to online gambling), the state must intervene so their families and children can live a decent life."

DANIEL A. FAJRI

Editor’s Choice: PKS Worried Welfare for Online Gambling Victims Will Be Used to Place More Bets 

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