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GST on gaming and gambling: Don’t ‘game over’ before it has even begun


Shifting the spotlight on to players will have ruinous implications far and wide. Similarly, the decision to impose a one-time 28% tax on customers in a casino is equally misplaced.

Synopsis

Caught between a perception that online games are nothing but a rich man’s gambit that only whips up greed and promotes gambling, India’s $2 billion online gaming industry oday suffers from a serious image problem. But GoM’s recommendation to levy 28% levy on the full value of consideration or the wagering amount would make the sector unviable and significant revenue leakage.

The group of ministers (GoM) meeting today to finalise modalities on taxing casinos, online gaming and horse racing have proposed a GST tax rate hike to 28% from the current 18% on the use of chips bought in a casino and real money online skill gaming. This may seem consistent with leveling the ‘playing’ field with the legacy lottery industry, or yet another move to rationalise taxation. But there are bigger issues at play.

Caught between a

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