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Indonesian Gambling Laws Prescribe Prison For Corrupt Sports Players

A new Indonesian gambling law will allow the state to charge football officials and players will corruption if caught gambling on sports.

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If the new Anti-Corruption Law makes it through State Secretariat, any football official or player caught red-handed placing a bet on sports in Indonesia would face additional criminal charges. Under the current Criminal Code, gambling is not referred to as corruption.

Nevertheless, any form of gambling including sports betting and casino games is illegal under current Indonesian gambling laws, and carries up to a ten year prison sentence. Indonesian players’ only option is to bet with illegal underground bookmakers and casinos or gamble online at local and foreign operated internet casinos.

Internet betting scams and match-fixing were the primary reasons for bribery and inadequate refereeing in Indonesian football matches, yet players and referees were rarely previously charged or convicted. The proposed changes in regulations are hoped to bring a high rate of convictions.

Muhammad Amari, the deputy attorney general for special crimes, said that “The existing ant-graft law focuses largely on state officials and civil servants.” Darmono, a deputy attorney general commented that “Corruption charges shouldn’t be limited to state officials. The law cites ‘anyone’ whose misuse of power and authority leads to state losses. So it is clear that the law applies whenever state losses are inflicted.”

The new law was drafted to deal with crimes in the private sector which causes harm to the public image or financial loss to Indonesia as a whole. Since sports teams in Indonesia are partly subsidized by the government, any form of corruption by a referee would be treated as a ‘loss to the state.’

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