The COVID-19 pandemic battered economies across the world as a result of lost collections on taxes. This was after the pandemic brought the world to a halt, literally, after governments imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus, including lockdowns. India is among the many countries whose economy suffered financial losses.
While COVID-19 has dented the economy, the pressure was already mounting on the BJP government to stabilize the shaking economy even before the pandemic unleashed its wrath. Online gambling in India was one of the industries that defied the downward trend experienced by other sectors.
This is despite the activity being illegal in most states in the country. However, offshore gaming operators continue to exploit gray areas in the law to offer their products to Indian punters. These include sports betting, casino, e-Sports, and daily fantasy sports to millions of Indian punters during the lockdown.
In light of this information, the Indian government has now trained its sights on the online gambling industry. It’s worth noting that these operators are based in several countries such as Cyprus, Russia, the Philippines, Malta, and Curacao just to mention a few. According to the government, these offshore operators don’t pay the mandatory Goods and Service task, known as GST in short. The government insists that the GST is mandatory for any company wishing to offer services in India and receive funds.
The BJP government has been on the receiving end of criticism and protest from multiple businesses both local and abroad after rolling out the GST. According to the businesses, the government has imposed unfair measures in the GST but the government is having none of it. It’s, therefore, a no-brainer that the offshore gaming operators will have no option but to fall to the Indian government and pay the GST.
To show that they mean business, the government released a list of 11 online gambling sites that are yet to pay the GST. This shows government authorities will be on the necks of these operators to collect what belongs to the taxman. This is of course, if they decide to default payment.
Some of the big names in the list include LeoVegas, 22Bet, Royal Panda, Bet365, Dafabet, 1XBet, Melbet, EuropaCasino, 10CRIC, Betway, and ComeonConnect. It’s no surprise the government went for the big fish, considering they already have a reputation to uphold in the international scene. Furthermore, they have a massive player base in India.
In addition to putting out a list of operators, the government through the Director General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) has sent official letters to multiple banks. The letter seeks to push these banks to disclose information about the operators’ accounts. This will help them understand to what extent they owe the government in GST payments.