• 07 Dec 2023 05:56 PM
  • Back

Confident that GST issues will be resolved soon, says E-Gaming Federation chief

news details
The E-Gaming Federation (EGF), a self-regulatory body for the online gaming industry, is confident that issues around the recent GST changes which increased companies’ tax burden will be resolved soon.

The E-Gaming Federation (EGF), a self-regulatory body for the online gaming industry, is confident that issues around the recent GST changes which increased companies' tax burden will be resolved soon. 

The federation's CEO, Anuraag Saxena, said he was optimistic about ongoing discussions between the federation and government stakeholders looking to address these concerns. Saxena said in an interview with Mint that the industry was united in presenting a compelling business case to the government, highlighting the sector's positive social impact. 

"As far as the GST issue is concerned, we're very optimistic that it will resolve itself in the very near future. The government will be looking to find a balance between providing a fillip to the industry and maximising its revenue. The process for the government and the industry to find some kind of a balance is ongoing," he said. 

He said when new industries evolve, it takes some time for stakeholders to reach a consensus. "There has been a period of flux and we may be at the tail end of that period right now. Within a fairly short amount of time, we will be able to ensure there are regulations that encourage Indian gaming companies and curb or discourage those that may not be subject to our laws," he added.

Saxena said the gaming federation hopes the government will recognise that companies are looking to protect players and not trying to circumvent the law, unlike those in the offshore betting segment. "Companies in the skill-based gaming sector are proactively subjecting themselves to Indian norms and rules. At the same time, there are a whole bunch of companies that are not. There will always be bad players in a sector and we are confident that there is enough enforcement in India to weed out bad players from this industry," he added.

While the government has come down hard on the real-money gaming (RMG) sector, an offshore betting industry has been thriving. These companies run their businesses on remote servers, use offshore accounts which are banned by the government, and don't pay tax even as they advertise in India. 

Games of skill – which include real-money games – are regulated by the union government while games of chance are regulated by the states. But in the past two years, 71 notices have been sent to RMG companies for alleged tax evasion to the tune of 1.12 lakh crore.

"Our expectation of the government is to understand the sector and the intent of the sector better. For example, we are one of the very few sectors that is asking for more regulation. We are very confident that they will come up with a tax regime that is both fair and encouraging," he said.

He added that the sector is looking to be compliant with self-regulatory bodies, which will make the ecosystem safer. However, the government has deferred its plan to have self-regulatory bodies for now.