Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday categorically termed online gaming “nothing but gambling”. She said casinos, horse-racing, and online gaming are all gambling.
“Whether it is horse-racing or online gaming or casinos, the common thread that the Committee highlighted was they are part of betting and gaming. “In other words, they are essentially gambling. There may be an element of skill in it or an element of chance in it. But essentially, all the three are gambling,” Sitharaman said. The views of some states about the issue of extending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation from June 30 were heard so far but nothing was decided.
She said the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, on betting, casinos, horse racing, online gaming which are taxed at 28 per cent, was in favour of status quo in this regard. Sangma said the Goa Finance Minister had requested him to let him present his views on GST on casinos at the Council meeting and it agreed to hear again the issues of online gaming and others. She said the GST rate rationalisation GoM, headed by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, looked at the exemptions and the inverted tax structures, and the GST Council approved the revised rates whereby tax rates have been revised upwards on many items and reduced on some items.
The GoM on Information and Technology, headed by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, in its report, recommended use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure better data and compliance issue.
The risk-based models will be developed for fresh registrations and the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) will work on the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.