The Group of Ministers (GoM) on casinos, race courses and online gaming, on Monday, discussed various aspects, including the possible GST rates and technicalities, in regard to this activities.
After the meeting, held at North Block in Delhi, GoM Convener and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said that the members have been able to move forward to a large extent on issues related to rates, valuation on which the rate should be applied, and certain issues of online gaming were discussed in detail.
Sangma, who had led the GoM to study GST rates on Covid-related materials last year, said that the Monday’s meeting also discussed whether there be a common or different GST rates on online gaming.
“Governments, several industries, stakeholders and the societies are to be involved in the operation of the casinos, race courses, and online gaming. Keeping all aspects in mind and considering the views of all stakeholders, we would decide the rates and other related matters,” he told the media.
According to Sangma, the annual turnover of online gaming only is around Rs 30,000 crores and the annual growth is 25 to 30 per cent. Few more technical aspects need to be discussed and the next meeting of the GoM would be held in the second week of May, he said.
Other members of the GoM include Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the Finance portfolio, state Finance Ministers Chandrima Bhattacharya (West Bengal), Kanubhai Patel (Gujarat), Dr Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (Tamil Nadu), Suresh Kumar Khanna (Uttar Pradesh) and T. Harish Rao (Telangana), and Goa Transport and Panchayati Raj Minister Mauvin Godinho.
The Meghalaya government has decided to legalise gambling and online betting for only the tourists coming to the state. State Law and Taxation Minister, James P.K. Sangma, had recently announced that the state government is considering introducing casinos and online gambling for tourists to generate revenues.
“No residents of Meghalaya would be allowed to participate or contribute in the proposed legalised gambling and online betting,” he had told the media.
The groundwork for preparing Meghalaya as a hub for online gaming, online betting, and legalised gambling began in February last year when the Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act, 1970 was nullified and the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Ordinance, 2021 approved.
However, various organisations, including the influential Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF), voiced “apprehension and shock” over the state government’s decision.