Indonesian police hunting for World Cup bookies

Indonesian police are stepping up their operations against gambling by targeting internet bookies, particularly those operating during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. All forms of gambling in all media are currently illegal in Indonesia. "We are anticipating an increasing trend of gambling during the World Cup. Detectives have identified several bookies involved in gambling through cellular phones, emails and facsimiles. We hope to be able to catch them soon," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam told The Jakarta Post (16 June).

He said the National Police's cybercrime unit had identified several bookies using email addresses and cellphone numbers to place bets and was tracing the sources of the network.

"Felix" a long-time Internet gambler, however, told the newspaper he was not afraid of the police's threat. "Why be afraid? The police won't care about petty gamblers like me. They'll hunt the bookies," he said.

One of the world's leading on-line 'bookies', Mansion, is owned by Indonesian billionaire Putera Sampoerna, Indonesia's third-richest man. Last May his family raised about US$2 billion by selling control of clove/tobacco kretek cigarette manufacturing company, PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna, to Altria (Philip Morris) for US$5 billion.

Mansion recently signed the biggest-ever televised poker deal with American TV giants Fox Sports Network. Its sports betting covers NFL and English Premier League, NBA and NCAA Basketball, Rugby and many more For bigger bets, Mansion Exchange combines interactive sports betting with the "competitive wholesale pricing of a live market"

Mansion is very well known to the Indonesian football public through the announcement of its new sponsorship of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur - reportedly worth at least £34 million over the next four seasons.

See also: Asian police mostly clamping down on gambling (30 May)