Tax evasion by offshore gambling companies results in loss to exchequer, AIGF welcomes MIB Advisory

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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, today issued an advisory to satellite TV channels , digital media, and print media to adhere to the Advertising Standards Council of  India (ASCI) guidelines on advertisements of online gaming which contained specific Do’s and Dont’s for static/print and audio-visual advertisements of online gaming. The ministry has now come to the notice that a number of advertisements of online gambling websites/platforms are appearing in print, electronic, social and online media.

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the apex self regulatory body for skill games has welcome advisory. AIGF has been consistently raising the issue of offshore betting websites advertising aggressively in violation of laws in India and has written to PM Modi recently. 

Last week, the Consumer Affairs Ministry issued guidelines under Consumer Protection Act that prohibited surrogate advertising which is normally adopted by offshore betting websites. Team G2G has earlier reached out to few media houses and was successful in taking down casino promotional posts. 

Reacting to the advisory issued by The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Roland Landers, CEO – AIGF said, “We are delighted to see our persistent efforts against offshore gambling platforms come to fruition and would like to thank Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for initiating this step. In the last seven years, the All India Gaming Federation the apex industry body for the sunrise online gaming sector has been solely working towards creating awareness regarding the issue and pointing out that several offshore gambling websites are openly and brazenly advertising online gambling through TV Channels, internet, social media, hoardings and other digital media platforms. Furthermore, AIGF has been continuously engaging with various government stakeholders to educate them about the ills of illegal gambling and perils of allowing foreign gambling websites to continue unabated while urging for a regulatory framework for online skill gaming in India to realise Honourable PMO’s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Further explaining the impact of such illegal activities, Mr. Landers stated, “These offshore
online gambling websites are not registered under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and do not pay applicable direct and indirect taxes that is required to be paid under
Indian law even by companies that do not have their registered office in India and are based outside the country. This blatant tax evasion by the gambling websites is resulting in loss of revenue of thousands of crores per annum to the government exchequer. Besides the threat to the economic stability of India, there are many instances where such websites indulge in obvious fraud and manipulation of their games and numerous complaints have been received wherein such websites take deposits from gullible players but refuse to give them any option of withdraw of their winnings or balances under various pretexts. Thus, AIGF urges the Indian media platforms to adopt a robust mechanism and apply a stricter evaluation process when onboarding advertisements from such offshore gambling platforms.”

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