Riani Sanusi Putri, Riri Rahayu, Jakarta – Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information (Kominfo) Budi Arie rebutted the report that he proposed a tax policy on online gambling, asserting that online gambling is an illegal activity.
"I'm not the one who proposed it. I'm not in that position. Gambling remains an illegal activity until now," he told Tempo at the Fairmont Hotel Jakarta on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
According to him, the media misquoted his arguments in a meeting with Commission I of the House of Representatives (DPR) last week. "These are just ideas. We will continue to eradicate online gambling," he stressed.
At the meeting, Budi said Indonesia would incur losses for not legalizing online gambling. Moreover, Indonesia is the only ASEAN country that has not legalized such a practice.
Budi said Indonesia needs to give serious thought to online gambling. Otherwise, at least US$9 billion of money would have left Indonesia. He believed the problem that needs to be addressed is not its illegality, but rather saving foreign exchange.
"I have discussions with many parties [who suggest] taxing [online gambling]. Make it clear, tax it," he said.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) researcher Nailul Huda assessed that the proposed online gambling tax has the potential to harm society because it would legalize gambling in the country.
Huda argued that online gambling is linked to online lending. There is a potential for online gambling to become a catalyst for stuck online loans. Thus, online gambling could be the cause of someone accessing online loans.
"Online gambling is extremely dangerous. I observe that many people who gamble online and then lose, borrow money from online loans. The money is used to gamble again," he said.