India imposes 28% goods and service tax on gambling

The tax will impact online gaming, horseracing and casinos. 

Tomb Safdarjung New Delhi India
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The Goods and Service Tax Council in India has agreed to impose a goods and service tax of 28% on online gaming, horseracing and casinos.

The tax will be levied on the full value of either the bet made or the chips bought. There will be no differentiation between skill-based games and chance-based games.

The decision was made at the council’s 50th meeting, during which the group also made the decision to reduce tax on food and drinks served in cinemas from 18% to 5% and provided exemptions to certain pharmaceutical products.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “The GST Act will be amended to include online gaming and horse racing. Very substantive discussions have taken place on the matter of online gaming. All the states presented their views today, including Sikkim and Goa, which see a lot of tourism for casinos.”

The news has not been met with positivity from everyone. Ankur Gupta, Practice Leader, Indirect Tax at SW India, said: “Ignoring the long-time demand of the gaming industry, levying a 28% tax rate on the gaming industry will be a big setback for Indian players. We might immediately see notices being issued to the gaming players for differential tax and with this new series of litigation.” 

Roland Landers, CEO, The All India Gaming Federation, said: "We believe this decision by the GST Council is unconstitutional, irrational and egregious. The decision ignores over 60 years of settled legal jurisprudence and lumps online skill gaming with gambling activities. This decision will wipe out the entire Indian gaming industry, lead to job losses and the only people benefitting from this will be anti-national illegal offshore platforms.”

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