INTRODUCTION: Crowded casinos and racing tracks will soon become a thing of the past in Indonesia, when the government introduces wide-ranging gambling ban on the first of April.
SV ZOOM OUT GV Race course and racing board
GV Race in progress, horses rounding bend
GV People in stands watching race (2 shots)
GV End of race and spectators (2 shots)
CU Race announcement board with winning prices, GV people collecting winnings (3 shots)
GV NIGHT SHOT Greyhound dogs being led to course
GV Betting board
GV Trap open, dogs away on start of race, spectators, end of race (3 shots)
GV Betters collecting winnings at pay-off window
GV INTERIOR People buying tickets for jai alai game
GV PAN Photographs of players, and sign with players' names (2 shots)
GV Game in progress
GV Betting board, people collecting winnings (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Street stand selling lottery tickets
CU Lottery tickets, PULL OUT GV Lottery stand and man buying ticket (3 shots)
GV PAN FROM Hotel TO Copa Cobana Casino at Ancol (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Crowded casinos and racing tracks will soon become a thing of the past in Indonesia, when the government introduces wide-ranging gambling ban on the first of April. Ten thousand people are likely to lose their jobs, and the cost to the administration is put at 17 million (U.S.) dollars.
SYNOPSIS: Horse racing tracks are preparing to close after freely operating for 14 years since gambling was legalised. It was Jakarta's former Governor, Lieutenant General Ali Sadikin, who gave them approval to operate, to draw off money for urban improvement and to stop protection rackets.
President Suharto, who announced the gaming ban in his January budget, has been accused of trying to use the move to gain the backing of Moslem pressure groups, in readiness for next year's elections. They've continually criticised gambling as "morally destructive", and contrary to state ideology.
The capital's only dog track has proved there's much money to be made. Running six nights a week, it's reported the nightly turnover exceeds 25 million rupiahs (40,000 dollars). Ten percent of those takings have been levied by the government in gambling taxes, whether the punters win or lose.
Jai Alai is another popular gambling sport. It's similar to the game of squash, but it's played with basket-shaped racquets. Nightly turnover is generally around 20 million rupiahs (32,000 dollars). Now the future of the players and staff is in doubt. And the gambling ban is bound to hit food vendors and ancillary workers.
But as the game has its last legal fling, the President's critics have gone a step further. They say the ban is designed to "cripple financially" a section of the opposition. They stress the country's three main casinos are operated by Chinese businessmen who support the former governor, who's now a main opposition figure.
The gambling ban won't have any affect on the national lottery. With this as the only legal outlet, security forces will be guarding against the re-emergence of the underground casinos, which were common in Indonesia before 1967.
The impending ban has brought a big rush to the casinos. Hotels are also expecting to suffer, as they face losing the profitable gambling tours from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.