In a bold move spurred by India's newly implemented online gambling tax, Super Group, the powerhouse behind Betway, has decisively exited the Indian market. A flat 28% turnover tax on online gambling, applicable to casinos and horse race betting alike, was instituted by the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council, reshaping the financial landscape for operators across the nation.
Super Group Bids Adieu to Indian Operations
Super Group cites the recently enacted tax laws, which came into play on October 1st, as rendering the Indian market unfeasible from a commercial perspective. Neal Menashe, CEO of Super Group, conveys the company's adaptive strategy, "Consistently navigating through varied regulatory landscapes in our global operations, we're optimistic about identifying and capitalizing on long-term growth avenues moving forward.” Despite their abrupt exit, Super Group anticipates that the full-year financial projections will remain stable.
Industry Reactions to the New Tax Regime
The taxing mechanism applies to the total face value of bets, contrasting with the conventional approach of taxing gross gaming revenue (GGR). Physical casinos will see the tax imposed on the face value of purchased chips, while in the realm of horse racing, it will apply to the aggregate value of bets placed with bookies and totalisators.
The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the paramount body for online gambling in India, voiced its concern, warning of potential negative repercussions such as propelling players towards unregulated operators and invoking massive job losses. A robust remark from the AIGF underscores the gravity: "The enhanced GST on deposits, amplifying liabilities by a staggering 400%-500%, will severely impair the Indian gaming industry and trigger an avalanche of job losses reaching into the lakhs."
Broader Implications for India’s Gambling Sphere
This seismic tax alteration is the second substantial modification to India's online gambling environment this year alone. Earlier in January, the Indian government unfurled a fresh batch of rules aimed at finessing the regulation of online gambling activities. Essential aspects of these amendments encapsulate stringent adherence to extant laws, including region-specific gambling prohibitions, and the establishment of self-regulating bodies tasked with formulating industry-specific rules.
In focusing on vital issues such as player protection, addiction mitigation, financial crime prevention, and child safety, these bodies underline a commitment to ethical practices within the industry.