India’s GST Council has confirmed it will implement a new 28% tax on the total value of chips purchased, deposits made or bets placed for casinos, online gaming and horse racing, starting from 1 October 2023.
Clarification of the tax rules followed a meeting of the Council on Wednesday amid industry concerns over exactly how the new tax – first announced on 11 July – would be implemented. While the GST council clarified that the tax would be applied to the initial purchase amount and not on any amounts that include winnings, it rejected calls by the casino states of Goa and Sikkim to apply the tax to gross gaming revenues instead.
The council did, however, agree to review the success of the tax six months after it is officially implemented, according to local media reports.
In a joint statement, the E Gaming Federation and the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports reluctantly welcomed the clarification while continuing to express their concerns on how the significant tax would impact the growth of the broader gaming industry.
“The new tax framework, while clarifying and resolving uncertainty, will lead to a very burdensome 350% increase in GST and set the Indian online gaming industry back several years,” they said. “However, it will allow gaming companies a fighting chance to innovate and rebuild the foundation of gaming in India,” they said.
Authorities will now look to amend the country’s GST law during the current session of parliament to allow implementation of the tax by 1 October.