Maharashtra: Legislators question new GST bill and government’s ignorance towards online gaming addiction

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Online gaming has been a topic of debate for ages and surely enough, it has become the central topic of discussion for the legislative council after the state recently passed the bill implementing 28% GST for online gaming, casinos and horse racing.

During the discussion on the bill regarding GST for online games, several legislators raised concerns regarding online gaming and gambling addiction among the young population.

Speaking on the matter, MLC Sachin Ahir said that online gaming apps like Dream11 have become so popular that school students are also playing using someone else’s ID. Most of the kids are now addicted to playing online games rather than actual sports.

Another MLC, Abhijit Wanjarri, talked about the bill asking, “If increasing revenue is the main purpose, then one needs to rethink everything. Is the government trying to misguide our youth?” as per Times of India.

“The document given by the government states that registration for online casino, racing and gaming apps has to be done by defining their activities. The purpose for defining their activities may basically help to tax them more,” Wanjarri further added.

Touching on the recent Mahadev Book illegal betting app case, Wanjarri said, “Nobody really knows which app is being operated from here. The government does not even have an idea of the money involved. When Maharashtra does not permit a physical casino, then how come an online one will be allowed through this GST bill.”

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar who recently revealed the bill implementing the new GST rate informed that they are getting the context wrong. “This has already been approved by the central government and is applicable across the country under one nation, one tax. When GST was introduced, every state gave its nod despite different parties being in power,” he said.

A panel formed by the central government have concluded that online gaming is a game of chance and liable for 28% tax and that all the states now have to follow the decision.