How Online Betting Platforms Get Away With Chests, Pay No Taxes

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New Delhi: On June 13, 2022, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting advised newspapers, private TV stations and digital news publishers to refrain from publishing advertisements on online betting platforms. On July 24, G2G Gaming reported that FanCode, owned by Dream11, which is the official digital broadcaster for the then-ongoing Indian West Indies Tour, was seen promoting FairplayNews, a surrogate brand for the fairplay betting site. .club, during the broadcast of the 1st ODI. Obviously, the online betting platforms have found a way around the current laws.Read also – Online players in Tamil Nadu, beware! The government may soon ban virtual games. all you need to know

Fairplay advertisement at a live cricket match (Courtesy of I&B Ministry press release)

On October 3, the Indian government sent out two strongly worded advisories – one for private TV stations and the other for digital news publishers and OTT platforms urging them to refrain from broadcasting advertisements from online betting sites and substitute advertisements from these sites. The reviews were supplemented with evidence containing direct and substitute advertisements from offshore betting platforms such as Fairplay, PariMatch, Betway, Wolf 777 and 1xBet. Also Read – Garena Free Fire Max Redeem Code: Step by Step Guide To Do

Fairplay advertisement at a live cricket match (Courtesy of I&B Ministry press release)

ONLINE BETTING PLATFORMS RUN AWAY WITH FULL COINS AND PAY NO TAX

We are talking about offshore online gambling companies with deep pockets collecting thousands of crores in “deposits” every month in India. According to a report by Moneycontrol, the top six of these operators alone hoard about Rs 5,500 crore every month. A detailed report titled “Offshore Online Betting And Gambling In India: A Risk Assessment” by ESYA Center shows how VIP-Bet Club offers betting tips allegedly based on inside information on sports matches whose results have been corrected. The site (https://vip-bet.club/) leads to the following results. Also Read – Lucknow Park Turns Into Haven For PUBG Enthusiasts With Most Families Unaware Of The Aftermath

Screenshot taken from https://vip-bet.club/

Screenshot taken from https://vip-bet.club/

In their report, ESYA Center also shared a screenshot of their WhatsApp conversation with the VIP Bets admin. The operator of VIP Bets’ WhatsApp account told ESYA Center that a monthly package could be purchased for 150 euros and after payment, he would add them to a Telegram group to place bets. The operator suggested using digital wallets like Neteller, Skrill or Ria, although the person is also willing to accept payment through agents like Western Union, according to the ESYA Center report.

Screenshot of WhatsApp chat between ESYA Center and VIP Bet Club (Courtesy: ESYA Center report)

It is one of those offshore online betting platforms. The same report talks about platforms such as JeetWin, CSGO Lounge, DOTA2 Lounge — all three registered in Curaçao; VIP Bets is registered in North Macedonia, according to the report.

The Moneycontrol report also cites a KPMG report and estimates that offshore gambling sites deplete the Indian online gambling industry by at least $25-30 billion! India’s online gaming industry, which is expected to generate revenue of over Rs 25,000 crore by 2025 – according to the same KPMG report – is facing another round of sleepless nights due to Google’s alleged discriminatory policies allowing only fantasy and rummy apps in its game store.

HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT LOSE MONEY?

Betting and gambling, whether offline or online, falls under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as both are supplies of services within the meaning of the GST Act. Currently, 18% GST is levied on online games of skill and 28% GST is levied on online games of chance. And not to mention that none of the offshore online gambling platforms pay the taxes, because technically they are operating illegally.

Even though the Indian government is cracking down on these companies by warning the platforms that provide them with ads, it’s more like pulling the leaves off a plant rather than its roots to prevent it from growing. Strict laws should be formulated to prevent loopholes that force these offshore companies to pay their dues or cease operations in India and revenue generated from advertisements should be channeled to legal news channels and social media platforms.

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