GoM for different GST on sports betting, casinos and horse racing
The group of ministers tasked by the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council to recommend ways to tax online gaming and betting, casinos and horse racing will take further legal opinion and try to differentiate between the three entertainment sectors before making its final recommendations to the council.
It is understood that if the base on which GST is taxed for the three sectors is different for each, then the rates may also be different. For now, the GoM has suggested a uniform 28 per cent rate for the three sectors.
The next meeting of the GST Council is expected to be held later this month in Madurai, to decide the base on which GST will be charged on online gaming and sports betting, casinos and horse racing. The date of the meeting is yet to be finalised.
“Chaired a meeting of the GoM on casinos, race courses & online gaming in New Delhi After taking the opinion of stakeholders & after successive meetings to seek the suggestions of all members, we will take legal opinion before submitting the final report,” tweeted Conrad Sangma, Meghalaya Chief Minister and head of the GoM.
After the meeting, Sangma and other members of the GoM also said since online gaming/sports betting, horse racing and casinos are three different sectors, whether the measure of gross gaming revenue will be applicable to all three is still being discussed.
“We are talking of three different games, all games are not the same. And this GoM has been asked to look into three separate games which function in three very, very different ways. The gross gaming revenue is something that is applicable to casinos, you know. The methodology on where and how GST should be collected are areas which we are looking at.
So all these things are being debated,” Sangma told reporters.
“I think it is an internationally accepted practice there is no doubt about that, but how the mechanism is to be worked out is the issue, we are applying our minds and there is an element of legal opinion also being taken to shore things up further,” said Goa Transport and Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho.
Sangma said the GoM was “hopeful” it will be able to finalise its recommendations on the matter to the GST Council in 7-10 days. “All three are totally different activities. The methodology by which they work is totally different. Yes, rates also can be different,” said another participant of the GoM meeting, who spoke on background.
There have been many representations by the gaming industry to the GST Council, suggesting a reduction in the proposed 28 per cent GST rate. Ankur Gupta of tax advisory firm SW India said industry representatives have suggested 18 per cent which is at par with global taxability.
“With the advent of technology and the use of handheld devices, the online gaming market is fast growing at $3 billion with more than 400 million users, and is expected to grow rapidly in next half a decade. Therefore, it is important to put taxability at par with global tax rates so that the Indian industry remains competitive,” Gupta said.
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