The online gaming industry, consisting of various verticals like poker, rummy, and fantasy sports, among others, was amongst the fastest-growing spaces of the Indian economy in 2023. However, it has also been in the limelight for the wrong reasons, citing the periodic bans from various state governments.
The online gaming industry has been through choppy waters following the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s decision to impose 28% GST on the sector. This move pushed the online real money gaming ecosystem into a difficult situation, with firms fearing heavy tax bills given the new adverse regulations.
Citing such emerging trends, the Union Budget 2024 comes at a crucial juncture in determining the future of India’s online gaming industry. With the Union Budget 2024 being annoucned by Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February, Gutshot Magazine will provide updates on all the important news regarding the online gaming sector. We have also shared opinions by the Indian online gaming industry shareholders and experts ahead of the highly anticipated Union Budget 2024.
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Ankur Singh, Founder and CEO of Witzeal Technologies, shared his expectations from the upcoming Union Budget. He stated, “We eagerly await the upcoming budget, particularly with regards to finding a resolution of ongoing concerns related to taxation to create a predictable and attractive business environment.”
He added, “Apart from that, having an investment in programs and initiatives to nurture skilled professionals and build a robust gaming workforce will go a long way in boosting the growth prospects of the entire industry and especially startups like us. Also, we urge the government to look into advancements aligned with the AVGC policies, as recommended by the Task Force, to boost the entire AVGC ecosystem.”
Singh further said, “Lastly, we encourage the government to consider incentivising responsible gaming practices within the industry. Promoting responsible gaming technology and consumer education initiatives through tax benefits would strengthen the sector’s commitment to player safety and ethical conduct.”
The CEO of All India Gaming Federation, Roland Landers, spoke about how he was looking forward to the union budget. He stated how the budget presents an opportunity to fuel the trajectory of India’s online gaming ecosystem with the nation standing at the dawn of a digital revolution.
Roland Landers stated, “There have been significant regulatory strides in the online gaming sector, and we anticipate progressive allocations to be made towards the sector in the upcoming union budget, including towards the implementation of IT Rules for online games and the establishment of self-regulatory bodies.”
He added, “Additionally, we look forward to budgetary allocations aligned with the AVGC policies, in line with the recommendations of the AVGC Task Force’s report from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
The CEO of AIGF further spoke, “Given the highly positive outlook for this industry, there is much for the gaming sector to anticipate. We envision this budget to be a symphony of support by aligning regulatory clarity with fiscal incentives and strengthening legal infrastructure to encourage growth. With the right notes, the online gaming industry can be a cornerstone of digital India and serve as a catalyst for the governments’ vision of Amrit Kaal – a five trillion-dollar economy.”
The Chief Marketing Officer of Deltatech Gaming, Mr. Joydeep Mukherjee shared his thoughts on the upcoming budget. He said, “With the new budget, the real-money gaming industry is hopeful of regulatory shifts that foster transparency, trust, and responsible gaming for our consumers, to promote widespread adoption.
On the taxation front, the current stringent norms will certainly limit innovation and growth for the sunrise industry. We hope that real-money games will be treated at par with the entertainment industry.”
Suhaas Khullar, the Chief Financial Officer of Loco shared his thoughts and expectations for the upcoming financial year’s budget. He said, “The Indian gaming and esports industry is experiencing a robust growth trajectory, projected to surge by 35-40% annually. This momentum is fueled by a maturing consumer base and supportive regulatory measures. Recent policy advancements, including the landmark recognition of esports as a mainstream sport and favorable state-based model policies for AVGC-XR, hold immense potential. These initiatives are already propelling grassroots talent development across diverse regions of India.
For the upcoming budget, dedicated allocations for skill development and targeted tax incentives for the AVGC sector will be pivotal in realizing the ‘Create in India’ vision. Such fiscal support will foster sustained success and multi-decade growth in this sector.”
Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) stated, “We hope to see a dedicated allocation of funds for the Esports sector, alongside incentives for Indian video game development studios. “
He added saying, “This will not only encourage innovation but also enable homegrown titles to prosper within the community. To ensure the long-term success of our Esports athletes and attract more aspiring players to pursue careers in Esports, we also hope for tax relief for athletes on winnings from Esports tournaments. ESFI will remain committed to working closely with the government to further elevate the status of Esports in the country.”
Smit is a sports writer at Gutshot Magazine. After completing his Bachelor’s in Mass Media, and a Master’s degree in Sports Management, this sports fanatic uses articles as a tool to express his opinions. Bring up cricket or football and you will find this usually quiet guy speak for hours! He also co-heads the official supporters club of Chelsea FC in Mumbai, wherein he hosts screenings, football meets and other such events.