Overtaxing online gaming will favour grey operators
Some policymakers reportedly plan to levy 28% GST on the overall prize pool, which would raise the organized industry’s effective tax burden hugely and push traffic to shady game sites.
Five years ago, not even the staunchest believers of India’s online gaming success story could have predicted that by 2022, this industry would be entertaining over 200 million people, generating over $2 billion in revenues and be worth over $20 billion. Similarly, it is hard to foresee today that by 2030, Indian online gaming companies could be generating over $25 billion in revenues and offering India’s most dominant form of entertainment after cricket. Achieving this dream, however, would require more than just entrepreneurial spirit, of which there is no dearth in the country. It would require the right policy framework that gives operators an opportunity to innovate, protects users from operator and self-abuse, and maximizes tax revenues without hurting the industry’s growth and innovation.