After its 50th meeting on Tuesday, The Goods and Services Tax Council (GST) announced the decision to levy a tax at the uniform rate of 28 per cent on online gaming, horse racing, and casinos. The tax will be applicable on the full face value. There shall be no distinction between ‘game of skill and game of chance.’
Addressing the press conference following the GST meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Our intention is not to end online gaming, casino, horse racing. But all these have become so complex that go this route or go that route, each route has transparency to a certain extent, but after that, it is opaque.”
“The GST Council’s intention is not to hurt the online gaming industry or states with casinos. A few states shared their concerns. But there is a moral question: Can we encourage them more than essential goods? I am proud to say that the GST Council discussed and understood the matter deeply and took a decision which had been pending for 2-3 years.” she reportedly added.
Industry experts are disappointed with the decision, given it can cause a significant blow to the fast-growing industry. According to a report by The Times of India, FICCI Gaming Committee has urged against the hike to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC). They argue it would be “extremely detrimental to the survival of the online gaming industry as no business operations can survive with such high taxation.”
The move has courted several reaction on Twitter. Here’s what people are saying:
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