Batam, an Indonesian city, which is growing vigorously on tourism, has found itself in a fix over which has proven to be the golden goose but goes completely against beliefs of the predominantly Muslim nation.
In last few weeks, Indonesian police have introduced anti-gambling squads have raided and shut down about 70 gambling arcades full of gaming machines. Also, they arrested many people.
In Indonesia, these arcades are known as “gelpers,” sports arcades as “masquerade” and are a huge attraction for the tourists.
Indonesia is a country where 85% of its population is Muslim. Therefore, the nation abides by the law of Sharia which sees every sort of gambling as sacrilegious and immortal. Lotteries, sports wagering, and casino gaming are included in that.
Indonesia has banned gambling as Islam doesn’t allow that, but with its neighbor countries benefitting economically by gaming, Indonesia is facing a lot of pressure from its two of the most visited cities Bintan and Batam – to make some exception on the blanket ban. The blanket ban gives rise to black markets.
A few years ago, the local government of Bintan proposed a plan to develop a consolidated resort with the casino on its island. After debating for months, the plan got rejected as the Jakarta Lawmakers shut it down because of religious reasons.
But the latest crackdown in Batam on gelpers has enkindled the debate.
Per the tourism agency of Batam, gelpers attract most of its tourists and the count of tourists last year was more than 900, 000. Gelpers not only boosted their tourism industry but also provided jobs.
But per the Indonesian police, there are going to be more raids if such illegal gaming continues.
If you think that Bintan and Batam are the only cities where gambling is uncontrolled, then you are wrong. Other big Indonesian cities like Jakarta have also seen illegal gambling ventures. They mainly cater to the Chinese Indonesians as they think this is a part of entertainment and culture.
Speaking economically, gambling in Indonesia could be considered, but most of the politicians would not dare to support gambling as the majority of their population are in opposition to that, and they might lose a chance to get elected.
If not allowed, there are high chances that Indonesians would go to Malaysia or Singapore with their enough money to play either way.
Due to the blanket ban, people have sprung up underground betting places all over Indonesia, while online game hubs serve as the front for casino sites and illegal bookmakers.
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