no gst indian gamers: Now, international platforms wooing Indian gamers with ‘No GST’ messages

Several international gaming companies are luring Indian users to their websites with social media posts that promise of earning money and “avoiding 28% GST” levied on online gaming in the country.

Platforms such as and have roped in micro-influencers to reach out to Indian gamers.

They are offering these influencers up to Rs 1,000 per post on social media platforms such as X (Twitter), Instagram and Facebook, asking users to switch to their platforms, ET has learnt.

“They (offshore players) are taking advantage of the fact that gaming companies are in a Catch-22 situation right now as far as GST is concerned,” a senior executive at an Indian gaming company told ET.

One of the posts promoting 1xbet entices users to register on their platform with direct messaging such as “No 28% GST and no TDS”.

Other advertisements and posts by platforms such as Winbuzz have put out ads saying that even if players were to earn Rs 1 crore on fantasy gaming apps, they would end up paying Rs 28 lakh as GST to the government, while if these players played on Winbuzz, they stood the chance to take home all the money as there was no need to pay taxes on winnings obtained from their website.

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ET has reviewed several of these ads and posts and found a similar pattern.These posts also have disclaimers of sorts at the end, which claim that the post is not “promotional” or “paid for” and that the gamer is “just doing their bit” as “anyone else should”.

India has barred advertisements that promote betting, gambling, or wagering of any kind, hence these disclaimers.

Some of the posts promoting foreign gaming sites are put out on fake Twitter accounts being run by companies that manage several such accounts, an industry insider said.

Most of these platforms could not be reached for comments as they have no office or representatives in the country. They also do not list any contact details on their websites.

On July 11, the GST Council, comprising representatives from the Centre and all the states, had approved imposing 28% goods and services tax (GST) on horse racing, casinos, and online gaming.

Gaming companies and their representative organisations have said the decision to impose the tax on their turnover, or full face value, would be “catastrophic” for the industry as it would lead to repeated taxation when users play multiple rounds, making the business unviable.

A Reuters report on Wednesday said, quoting an unnamed government official, the GST Council will meet on August 2 to decide whether to impose the tax only once on the funds deposited to play online games, or each time a bet is placed.

The Indian gaming industry is estimated to be worth $2.8-3 billion at the end of 2022-23 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27% over the next five years.

“A tax burden where taxes exceed revenues will not only make the online gaming industry unviable but also boost black-market operators at the expense of legitimate tax-paying players, further undermining the industry’s image and capacity to survive,” Malay Kumar Shukla, secretary of industry body E-Gaming Federation (EGF), had said in a recent statement. “It is in addition to the loss of employment opportunities and the huge impact on marquee investors who are heavily invested in this sunrise sector.”

Apart from taking advantage of the confusion due to the imposition of a 28% tax, several of the offshore operators which allow betting and gambling in India through their sites continue to advertise and operate in the country, industry sources said.

In April this year, the government had introduced new rules for online gaming under which it had barred betting and wagering of any kind on the outcome of a game or a real-life event. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had also asked media companies and online advertisement intermediaries to refrain from carrying advertisements and promotional content related to betting platforms.

The advertisements, however, have continued. ET had in April reported that online betting and gambling platforms such as FairPlay and Appa Book were being promoted on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by high-profile personalities and micro-influencers many of whom command millions of followers.

Though the frequency of these advertisements has since come down, the companies have continued to target Indian players despite the new regulations specifically barring such promotions.


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