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GST authorities to block 60 offshore online gaming platforms to MeitY

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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) authorities have advised the Information Technology Ministry to block 60 offshore online gaming platforms in an attempt to restrict the companies not complying with India’s registration laws. According to an official familiar with the matter, details of these platforms were shared with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology by late March. These platforms are in addition to the existing 110 gaming platforms already facing similar scrutiny, the official informed NDTV Profit anonymously.

The government of India already blocked over 60 non-compliant platforms almost a month ago. Initially, the list included 110 platforms, with additional investigations underway by the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre, as stated by the official. The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is tasked with combatting cybercrime. The decision to block these platforms aligns with the directive of the 51st Goods and Service Tax Council, which mandated offshore gaming platforms operating in India to register and pay 28% GST on their earnings. Non-compliant platforms risk being blocked under the law.

However, tackling offshore online gaming platforms poses a challenge due to the dynamic nature of their operations, where website URLs frequently change. Authorities view this as an ongoing effort, the official noted.

Since the imposition of a 28% GST, the online gaming sector has significantly contributed to government revenues. Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra, had said in an interview after the interim budget, projected revenue from online gaming companies in the last fiscal year at Rs.1,600 crore. With the implementation of the 28% GST, the revenue estimate for the current fiscal stands at approximately Rs.13,000–14,000 crore.

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