Online Gambling Stricture: A Prelude
The recent tax increase in India from 18% to 28% on Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) has led to significant challenges for online gaming companies operating in the country. This tax hike was announced by the Indian government, aiming to impose a 28% tax on the funds that online gaming companies collect from their customers. This move is viewed as a considerable setback to the $1.5 billion industry, which had been gaining popularity and attracting foreign investments.
The increased tax rate has been met with disapproval from industry representatives, who foresee a detrimental impact on their earnings, with the likelihood of extra charges being passed on to customers. The new tax regime poses substantial challenges to the gaming industry’s cash flow and has been termed as “unconstitutional” and “irrational” by some stakeholders like Roland Landers, CEO of The All India Gaming Federation. Before this amendment, companies were taxed a smaller amount on the fees they charged for offering real money games. The new tax structure now imposes a 28% tax on the entire amount collected from players in every game, which is a significant jump from the previous tax regime.
The Exodus: Bet365 and Betway Bid Adieu
The exit of Bet365 and Betway from the Indian market has sent ripples through the gambling industry, underscoring the broader challenges operators face in the country. The core reason for their exit was the 28% GST implemented on offshore gambling companies, which is a significant jump from the previous 18% tax on gross gaming revenue. This tax increase is seen as a substantial burden for many betting companies, making the Indian market less attractive. Their exit might set a precedent for other operators eyeing the exit door, anticipating a ripple effect in the industry.
The companies cited the recent tax hike from 18% to 28% on gross gaming revenue as a pivotal factor in their decision, stating that it significantly impacted the viability of their operations in India. Here are the implications of their exit on the industry and users:
Legislative Ambiguity: Beyond taxation, the legislative environment in India also poses challenges. The amendment to the country’s Information and Technology Act 2000, which facilitated the tax hike, coupled with varying state laws on online betting, creates a murky regulatory landscape for operators3.
Loss of Major Players: Bet365 and Betway were notable entities in the Indian gambling scene. Their exit could lead to a vacuum, potentially affecting the market’s competitiveness and the options available to bettors.
Impact on Users: The exit of these major players could limit the options available to Indian bettors. Furthermore, if more companies follow suit, this could further reduce the choices available to local gamblers.
Potential Reduction in Innovation and Investment: With major players exiting, there could be a reduction in the level of innovation and investment in the Indian gambling market. These companies not only provided competition but also brought in new gaming technologies and marketing investments that benefited the industry.
Negative Signal to Other Operators: The exit of Bet365 and Betway might send a negative signal to other international gambling operators considering entering the Indian market. The high taxation and complex regulatory environment could deter them.
Increased Scrutiny on Remaining Operators: With the exit of these reputable operators, there might be increased scrutiny on the remaining operators, especially concerning adherence to regulatory requirements and tax obligations.
Looking Forward: An Uncertain Horizon
The exit of key players casts a long shadow on the future of online gambling in India. While some operators might find the Indian market high-risk, others might see an opportunity to fill the void, provided they can weather the tax storm.
Despite the recent exit of Betway and Bet365 from the Indian market, the gaming landscape continues to thrive with a few reliable casino operators like Fun88, Dafabet, 7Cric , and Parimatch. These platforms are dedicated to consistently providing the best gaming entertainment to Indian players. They not only accept Indian rupees, making transactions hassle-free but also ensure a safe and reliable online gambling experience. While the future of online gambling in India appears uncertain and challenging due to regulatory hurdles, it is neither hopeless nor futile. The presence of these steadfast operators highlights a glimmer of hope and potential for the industry. As enthusiasts and stakeholders, we look forward to better online gambling regulations and development in the future, fostering a conducive environment for both players and operators.