AIGF – All India Gaming Federation along with EY in a report named ‘Online gaming in India – The GST conundrum,’ suggested that the online gaming industry is expected to reach $2 billion by 2023 in terms of rake fees earned. The Indian online gaming sector reached $1.027 billion in 2020, a growth of approximately 17.3% from $543 million in 2016. While India is currently the fourth largest online gaming market globally, the industry requires a robust regulatory and legal environment to help the business scale quickly and achieve its true potential. The report highlights global best practices for taxation and provides much-needed clarity on aspects related to valuation and applicable GST rates.
Online gamers in India are estimated to grow from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022. Additionally, there are over 400 gaming start-ups at present that are accelerating the growth of the sector. However, in India, the classification of whether a game comprises a ‘game of skill’ or a ‘game of chance’ has wide consequences for legal implications on the business operations. A game of chance attracts a higher GST rate of tax vis-à-vis a game of skill.
ALSO READ: 5G Can Give The Indian Gaming Industry A Huge Boost: Roland Landers
Online games operate either on the ‘rake fee’ model wherein the gaming platform charges a rake fee for facilitating games or ‘freemium’ models wherein the gameplay is free but additional features may require users to purchase specific items for a monetary price. A rational imposition of goods and services tax (GST) is therefore vital for sustaining this industry. Bipin Sapra, Partner – Indirect Tax, EY India, said, “The online gaming industry is growing at an impressive CAGR of over 20% and holds significant potential for economic growth, job creation and contribution to the Government’s vision of a trillion dollar digital economy by 2025. To enable the industry in realising its peak growth potential, it is imperative that the GST regime for the online gaming industry is kept rational and at par with other technology platforms. Adopting globally consistent standards in our tax treatment of the industry will enable it to achieve its true potential.”
Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation, said, “The valuation disputes under GST law have been a dampener to the industry. Considering the market size and future growth projections, the online gaming industry is expected to be a significant contributor to the government’s vision and provide future economic avenues considering the ubiquitous digital trends impacting our lifestyle.
It is important to highlight that regressive taxation of these emerging sectors may only make the business unsustainable in India. Our recommendation is that the tax authorities should align its policies with internationally accepted principles of taxing the online gaming sector and provide certainty to the industry. We hope that this report would provide meaningful insights and help accord focus to this sunrise industry.” To realize the full potential of the online gaming industry, a levy of standard GST/VAT rates is recommended, to be treated on par with any other segments of the economy.
Crystallising The GST Levy Mechanism
The valuation mechanism in levying GST on the entire stake value vis-à-vis the rake fee element should be clearly outlined to avoid any ambiguities and potential litigations leading to tax demands. Any uncertainty and possibilities of litigation adversely impacts the business plans, operations, and entry of new players in the industry. Most industry players have a rake fee in the range of 4% – 20%. Any attempt to levy GST on the entire stake value potentially leads to economic unviability of the business model and could force the closure of businesses.
GST on rake fee value: This suggests a levy of GST only on the rake fee i.e. consideration received by the gaming platform. It is presently being followed across the industry and is in alignment with existing GST mechanism to levy tax on consideration only.
Deemed credit model: This has only two data metrics to be considered – stakes and pay-outs. This mechanism makes it easier for the government to verify and audit entities. However, businesses would be required to undertake a change in their ERP systems to compute GST.
GST on the entire stake value but at a nominal rate of say 1.8%: This is simpler to calculate as it has only one data metric to be tracked by business i.e. stake value. However, the mechanism would be discriminatory for industry players having low rake since GST outflow would be high whereas margins are lower. This method is also prone to manipulation where ‘platform fee only’ players without any prize-winning model may offer nominal winnings to lower tax outflow.
Given the online gaming industry acts as a technology enabler and facilitates gameplays through a web platform similar to software companies’ products, the report recommends a GST rate of 18% to be levied to mitigate any risks of misclassification of the online gaming industry as betting or gambling. The tax rate should not exceed 20% as it could result in the gaming operators as well as consumers entering the grey market.
Singapore, South Africa and Australia follow the deemed credit model mechanism making it easier to verify and audit the entities. The model is in line with judicial decisions and also takes care of anticipated risk around the misdeclaration of rake fees.
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In doing so, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.
The All India Gaming Federation is a not-for-profit organization, the oldest and only apex Industry body whose self-regulation charter includes all online skill gaming in India, including Fantasy Sports, Online Poker, Rummy, Edu based games, Quizzing, Casual Gaming, E-games & Virtual gaming.
AIGF’s objectives include creating awareness, among the relevant stakeholders, about the socio-economic benefits of the online skill gaming industry through representations, research reports, surveys, events and seminars. Since its inception six years back, AIGF has been at the forefront, consulting with relevant policy-makers to demonstrate the importance and benefits of recognizing and standardizing the AIGF’s self-regulatory framework established by eminent domain experts from the judiciary, education, finance and sports backgrounds that make up its advisory committee.
To know more about AIGF, please visit: http://aigf.in/about_aigf/
For any media related queries, feel free to reach out to:
Mr. Nikhil Pavithran | Contact No.: +91 9819101272 | Email: email@example.com
Ms. Tanya Shandilya | Contact No.: +91 8700668026 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more daily updates on WPT, keep reading Gutshot Magazine. Follow us on our social handles Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, and Twitter
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by expressing herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in anything that satisfies her creative self, like drawing and DIY crafts.
Sign-up with "GUTSHOT" get $2 FREE (post KYC)
Offer: 200% bonus up to $1,000 on first deposit
Nostra Pro is now HiScore
Offer: Sign-up & Get ₹100 FREE
Use code "GUTSHOT" to sign-up
Offer: Up to ₹50 000 for registration
Sign-up with Gutshot
Offer: Get ₹50 FREE
Sign-up using code MPLPOKER
Offer: Get ₹20,000 Welcome Bonus
Sign-up with code "GUTSHOT"
Offer: Deposit ₹1,000 with code 'GS1K' for 500% power bonus + ₹750 TM
Sign-up with code GUTSHOT
Offer: Deposit ₹100 and get ₹600 cashback (₹200 instant)
First deposit using code "LFG"
Offer: Get 150% bonus up to ₹15K
Sign-up with Gutshot
Offer: Get ₹1,000 FREE (250 instant post KYC)
First deposit on PlayerzPot
Offer: Get 100% bonus up to ₹10,000
Sign-up with Gutshot
Offer: Get ₹50 Instant Cash Sign-Up Bonus & Use 100% Cash Bonus
Sign-up with code "PHGUTSHOT"
Offer: 100% bonus on first deposit using code 'GSFTD'
100% Locked Bonus on First Deposit
Offer: Use code '100GUTSHOT'
Offer: Win up to ₹20,000 Welcome Bonus*
Sign-up & get ₹50
Offer: 50% first-time deposit cashback up to ₹250 using code 'GUT50'
SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE
SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE
Leave a Reply