GST GoM on online gaming, casinos, and racecourses to submit report next week

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The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to examine GST levy issues on casinos, online gaming and horse racing will submit its report to the GST Council next week, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Friday, according to reports.

The GoM, in June has recommended that online gaming should be taxed at the full value of the consideration, including the contest entry fee paid by the player on participating in the game. Later, the GST Council directed the GoM to reconsider the issue based on requests from Goa which heavily relies on gambling revenues.

The revised report of GoM is now delayed by more than three months. The initial timeline for the revised report was July 15 which was later extended to August 10.

The GoM which met on Tuesday decided to stick to its earlier recommendation for a uniform 28% tax on the full value of the consideration on all the three.

In the absence of consensus on whether the tax should be levied on only the fees charged by the portal or the entire consideration, including the bet amount received from participants, the GoM has decided to refer all the suggestions to the GST Council for a final decision, reported PTI.

“There was already a report submitted once. That report will be the basis of whatever the new report is,” GoM member and Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan was quoted as saying.

The other members of GoM include Thiaga Rajan, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Ministers of West Bengal (Chandrima Bhattacharya), Gujarat (Kanubhai Desai), Uttar Pradesh (Suresh Kumar Khanna), Telangana (T Harish Rao), and Goa Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho.

To finalise the report for second time, the GoM visited Goa and Bengaluru to meet industry stakeholders and sought legal opinion on valuation base to be considered for levying of GST. The industry has represented that online gaming which is held to be a game of skill cannot be equated with gambling.

Industry experts argue that equating skill games with chance games for taxation will negatively impact the nascent industry.