Addiction May Boost Indonesian Presidential Hopeful

SEA Daily — Despite being home to the world’s largest Muslim population, where gambling is strictly forbidden by religion, Indonesia faces a gigantic problem with online gambling addiction. Beyond violating Islamic tenets, this behavior constitutes a clear legal violation, as it is explicitly prohibited by both the Indonesia’s Criminal Law (KUHP) and the Electronic Transaction and Information Law (UU ITE).

Online gambling illustration (Source: Shutterstock/The Conversation)

According to Google Trends, queries related to online gambling have increased by up to 1,700% within the past year, from December 2022 to December 2023. The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) of Indonesia has revealed that the total value of online gambling transactions in Indonesia from 2017 to 2022 was Rp190 trillion (approximately US$13.6 billion). This information was obtained by PPATK after tracing and analyzing 887 entities that were part of an online gambling network.

Although The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo) of Indonesia claimed to have shut down nearly 939,000 online gambling sites, the problem is nowhere near bringing the problem under control. Even the virtual halls of Indonesia’s House of Representatives aren’t safe from the reach of online gambling. The hijacking of their official YouTube channel for gambling ads in September 2023 serves as a stark reminder of the problem’s pervasiveness.

Operations Hubs Revealed in Cambodia

The country’s gambling problem apparently rooted in one of its neighbor: Cambodia, where the business is legal. Recent investigations expose how Indonesia’s online gambling sites are being controlled from Cambodia’s “gambling quarter” in Sihanoukville and other centers. The area, established in 1994 as a casino resort, attracted Indonesian migrant workers, and the investigation focuses on Kompong Dewa Resort (KDR), a property business entity within Sihanoukville.

The investigations also unravel a hidden layer in Sihanoukville’s KDR: a web of online gambling spun by Indonesian hands. Forget local operators–here, Indonesians control the strings, owning and running the shady business from within the very walls of this mixed-use complex. At night, more than 30 individuals were observed sitting in front of computer screens on the third floor, engaged in online gambling operations. Workers rotated shifts, and access to the upper floors was restricted.

The Indonesian authorities’ failure to eradicate the online gambling industry continues to fuel suspicions that its profits are shared with those in power, as exposed by an indepth reporting in 2018. With the current election season, Prabowo Subianto as a candidate with the strongest logistical power are facing scrutiny over their potential ties to this lucrative influx of fresh trillions of rupiahs.

Dasco’s Executives in the Midst of Gambling Business

It is Sufmi Dasco, one of Prabowo’s trusted aides, who has links with the illegal venture through his existing enterprises, PT Pasopati Guna Investama and PT Pasopati Indo Risk.

A dossier exposes that two of his protege, Bramandityo Adhi Baskoro and Ahmad Ridha Sabana, are shareholders in business entities behind online gambling sites, namely Vertex Eximus Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, and Golden Oasis Entertainment Ltd. and Golden Oasis Real Estate, both are based in Cambodia. These entities are operating some casinos in KDR area.

A simplified graphic below shows that Vertex (top right) is or was co-owned by the Dasco-linked PT Catra Media Nusantara and his associates: Bramandityo and Ahmad. These ties alone strongly suggest that Vertex is yet another company in Dasco’s extensive portfolio.

The connections between Vertex and/or Dasco’s other companies and business associates pass through Bramandityo as the central node. Baskoro co-directs a company called Cheungek Global Co. Ltd. with a Cambodian individual ស ៊ុន អេរ ីក (Sun Erik), who also directs Golden Oasis Entertainment and Golden Oasis Real Estate.

Sun Erik has his own ties to Vertex, via a Cambodian-registered company he co-directs, Buon Sakal Co. Ltd. (right side of the graphic above), whose other directors are shareholders in Vertex.

Links to Prabowo’s Supporting Parties

Bramandityo and Ahmad – whose ties to the gambling companies are clearly visible in corporate records – also have strong political connections to the Gerindra and Garuda parties, both of which support Prabowo’s election campaign, as shown in the graphic below.

Another trace that links Dasco with the online gambling websites, particularly and, is visible through Andi Wiryawan, his collaborator in PT Reka Multi Aptika, who manages multiple Dasco-related domains including

New revelations bolster claims that the nation’s ongoing political campaigns are being fueled by the public’s online gambling addiction, raising concerns about a series of illegal misconducts in the election that determines Indonesia’s future. ()

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