With Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Congrad Sangma – the Head of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Casinos, Racetracks and Online Gambling, tweeting regarding GST rates under deliberation, speculations on GST rate on these items began making rounds. Although the CM did not refer to the tax rate that the committee will propose very soon to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the assumptions are that the proposed tax rate could be 28%. Currently, casinos, racetracks and online gaming companies pay 18% GST. The entire episode brought attention back to this fantastic and growing online gaming market, its size, growing job prospects, and other relevant dimensions of this industry.
There are also conflicting views regarding the nature of games. On the one hand, companies that operate online games say they are games or games of skill, rather than betting or gambling. However, concerns are expressed by a section of the population, claiming that these games increase addiction and temptation and take away the most precious time and energy of rapidly growing children and adolescents, who otherwise could devote their time and their valuable energy to their education and other creative endeavors. . Online games also cost his pocket after a threshold they set to play for free.
According to Sangama, the online gambling industry earns almost Rs. 30,000 crores annually with a growth of 20-30% year-on-year. According to IAMAI, the gaming industry is growing rapidly and exponentially at 35% CAGR. Considering the size of the population, especially the youth, online gaming is considered nascent in India and has huge space to grow and can become one of the biggest industries in the country, generating thousands employment opportunities. Players in this industry are also growing in number with around 45,000 people estimated to be currently employed by these players or companies.
Today, people are spending more than a year ago on mobile, internet, computer and console games, according to a March 21 report from EY and FICCI. They claim that the number of paying gamers in India increased by 17% from 8 crore in 2020 to 9.5 crore in 2021. Sufficiently encouraged by the Covid-19 pandemic, the total number of online gamers increased by 8% between 2020 and 2021. As per EY, it went from 36 crore in 2020 to 39 crore in 2021 and is expected to cross 45 crore in 2023.
Online games have become a favorite pastime and coping mechanism for many Indians during the pandemic months. Today, despite the opening of schools and offices, interest in games remains stronger, as evidenced by increased spending. The rapid growth in the number of mobile users and internet speed and availability has also led to this meteoric growth of the gaming industry. Besides, the lowest data rates in the world also contribute a lot to this growth.
Previously, states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala imposed a ban on transaction-based gambling but it was lifted in 2021 when some of the gambling companies moved the respective high courts above the prohibition.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has called mobile the main vehicle of the gaming market in India, thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing by 15% over the past five years.
Meanwhile, a number of cases have also been reported regarding online gambling crime. According to information provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, Home Office, the total number of recorded cases under the Gambling (Online Gambling) Act (involving communication devices as medium/target) for cyber crimes is 20, 22 and 63 for the year. 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The latest published report covers the year 2020.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also issued a notice to all private satellite TV stations stating that no advertising should portray online gambling for real money winnings as an income opportunity or option. alternative employment. According to the notice, private TV stations will have to follow the guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
Further, in line with the MeitY’s purpose and goals of ensuring an open, secure, trusted and responsible internet, the government has notified the Information Technology Rules 2021 (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Code of digital media ethics) under the Information Technology Act 2000. Said rules provide for the removal of any information/application that violates any law, as notified by an appropriate government or its authorized agency.