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Online gambling sites are illegal in the country: MoS MEITY

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Betting and gambling are unlawful in most parts of the country and online gaming platforms are treated as illegal when a game of chance is involved in those platforms, Parliament was informed on Wednesday by the Minister for State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrashekhar. 

The minister was responding to queries by JDU MP Mahabali Singh.  In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the minister said all forms of gambling and betting come under the purview of state governments and they have enacted laws to deal with the same within their jurisdiction under List-II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

It is worth noting that the minister recently held meetings with gaming sector stakeholders (skill gaming and eSports) to discuss possible regulatory framework for the sector.

“Betting and gambling is illegal in most parts of the country. Online gaming platforms are intermediaries and they have to follow the due diligence as prescribed in the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and the Rules thereunder.”

“MeitY regulates all the intermediaries as per the IT Act and the Rules therein. Online gaming platforms are treated as illegal when game of chance is involved in those platforms,” the minister said.

In a related development, Pankaj Chaudhary, the MoS for Ministry of Finance informed Rajya Sabha that gambling winnings are taxable with tax deduction under Section 194B of the Income Tax Act. The minister said INR 887 crores were collected in FY 2021-22 under Section 194B.

The minister was responding to queries by Raghav Chadha. He said the Finance Ministry doesn’t maintain activity wise granular data to specify the amount paid by online gambling websites.

Rajya Sabha was informed that to ensure compliance of FEMA by online gambling websites, investigation and examination is undertaken by Enforcement Directorate on possible violations by Indian residents.

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