The Uttar Pradesh state assembly has approved a bill that imposes a 28% GST on online gaming (real money), casinos, and horse racing, in accordance with a directive from the Finance Ministry. The bill, led by Finance Minister Suresh Khanna, categorizes these activities as games of chance, despite potential skill-based elements as ruled by the Supreme Court.
During the assembly, MLA Samar Pal proposed a complete ban on online gaming, but Khanna argued that the industry’s rapid growth and popularity make a ban impractical. Instead, the state government aims to discourage these activities by imposing higher taxes. Khanna stated, “The state government has thus decided to check it and discourage it through the best possible steps. Imposing higher tax is one such step,” according to The Times of India.
The decision to implement a higher tax rate follows a suggestion by a Group of Ministers (GoM) to deter online gaming, casinos, and horse racing. This new GST rate, which took effect on October 1, has been adopted by 21 states, including Uttar Pradesh. However, some states, such as J&K, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Telangana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab, have issued ordinances but are yet to pass the bill. The current GST rate is expected to be evaluated by the GST council for six months following implementation.
The move to increase taxes comes as part of an effort to discourage these activities and control their impact on society. For more updates on the online gaming industry, readers are encouraged to follow Online Poker News (OPN) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.