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August 3, 2023

Casino and internet gaming taxes of 28% will continue, according to the GST Council

Casino and internet gaming taxes of 28% will continue, according to the GST Council

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Despite Delhi, Goa, and Sikkim attempting to reopen the matter, the GST Council voted on Wednesday to proceed with the imposition of a 28% GST on the face value of chips purchased at casinos and the bet amount for online games. As they work to enact the tax beginning in October, the federal government and the states will now move legislation modifications

The Council has proposed that foreign businesses must register with the GST authorities in order to tighten the noose around them and prevent them from evading taxes. To ensure that access to consumers is restricted for those who do not register, the government intends to use provisions of the Information Technology Act.

Most states, including West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, according to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, wanted the decision made at the previous meeting to be put into action as soon as possible. As a result, the Council approved the changes to the Central law, which the states will replicate.

Atishi, the finance minister for Delhi, requested that the GST Council reconsider its earlier decision to impose an online gambling tax at the meeting on Wednesday. Most states rejected this request. Despite saying that the move will harm their interests considering that both Goa and Sikkim have casinos, they backed a higher levy.

According to Sitharaman, who chairs the all-powerful body, Goa and Sikkim received backing from the other states, including Andhra Pradesh, and it was decided to evaluate the tax six months after it was implemented.

Since internet gaming is prohibited in the state, Tamil Nadu also expressed worry about the tax and asked that the law make it clear that the levy will not invalidate or undermine its position. The Centre reminded the members that a vote had previously been held in a case involving lotteries despite the fact that three states were deviating from the Council’s united stance. According to the FM, the GST secretariat will cooperate with the states to forward the revisions “hopefully, in this session.”

Sitharaman claimed that the present 18% tax on GGR resulted in an actual tax incidence of 8–9%, in contrast to Goa and Sikkim’s demands for a levy on casino chips tied to GGR. She said that an increase to 28% on GGR rather than the face value would result in an incidence of 11–12%, which is considerably less than the 18% GST on a number of household-use goods.

Sitharaman stated, “This is gaming, you are wagering,” while arguing that it was impractical for the government to station employees at each roulette table at casinos. “A simpler option is 28% (GST) on face value, but there are also practical challenges. It was determined we would levy 28% on the face value with all of this in mind and after consulting the collective wisdom of the house, she said.

The minister also made it clear that winnings that are reinvested in online gambling or betting will not be subject to the 28% tax; rather, only the initial value of chips or bets will be. Online gaming, online gambling for real money, virtual digital assets used to pay for online games, and suppliers in the case of online gaming would all be expressly defined under the revisions, according to Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra.

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