Reports: Government pondering to bring in stricter regulations on online gaming, gambling and betting

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The Indian government is looking to turn the screws on online gaming, betting, and gambling platforms as they are currently exploring the idea of implementing a central regulatory framework in hopes of bringing about uniformity in their regulation. The new regulations will also bring the sector under the legal purview, confirmed Home Affairs Secretary Ajay Bhalla, as per a Zee News report.

Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Union Home Secretary, reportedly called a meeting with several top officials from ED, IT Ministry, GST & Income Tax officers, SFIO & Revenue Department to discuss the need for strict laws that can also be implemented through necessary amendments in the IT Act. The officials nodded in favor of a need for a central law to regulate these affairs in coordination with the state governments.

While online betting and gambling platforms have come under scrutiny for influencing the youth in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance have witnessed complaints against these platforms for financial irregularities.

It is worth noting that several cases of tax evasion have been lodged against online gaming apps. In September, the income tax (I-T) department issued show-cause notices to as many as seven online gaming establishments and about three dozen high-value players for possible tax evasion of Rs 28,000 crore.

Although a Group of Ministers (GoM) decided to hike the GST rate on such platforms from 18 percent to 28 percent in July, the final report is yet to be submitted.

Earlier, the Department of Revenue, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in consultation with Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and Information Technology of India) had called for a new framework which would help categorize online games under new IT reforms.

“On the aspect of prohibiting games of chance (e.g. gambling websites or apps) being played online, the proposed Digital India Act can include it in the list of prohibited user harms that will not be permitted,” a report stated according to Reuters.