28% tax on real money online gaming will erode $2.5B of investment: Investors to PM
Gaming tax could lead to a potential write-off of the $2.5 billion invested in the sector and hinder prospective investments amounting to around $4 billion in the next 3-4 years, investors tell PM
The GST Council's decision to levy a 28% tax on the real money online gaming industry will lead to an impairment of $2.5 billion of investment made in the segment, a group of 30 Indian and foreign Investors said in a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a letter dated July 21, leading Investors Including Peak XV Capital, Tiger Global, DST Global, Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited, Alpha Wave Global, Chrys Capital, Lumikai etc have sought the Prime Minister's intervention in the decision of GST Council which is expected to hit prospective investment to the tune of USD 4 billion in the next 3-4 years.
"The current GST proposal will set up the most onerous tax regime for the gaming sector globally, which will lead to a potential write-off of the $2.5 billion capital invested in this sector," the letter said.
Investors said the GST Council's decision has caused shock and dismay and will substantially and meaningfully erode investor confidence in the backing of this or any other sunrise sector in the Indian tech ecosystem.
"This will also adversely impact prospective investments to the tune of at least $4 billion in the next 3-4 years and hence the growth of the gaming sector in India," the letter said.
Investors said if "full value of bets" is understood in a manner where GST is levied on every contest played every time with fully taxed winnings, the GST burden will increase by 1,100%.
Further, on account of taxation of redeployed player winnings, the same money will get taxed repeatedly resulting in a scenario where over 50-70% of every rupee will go towards GST, thereby making the online real money skill gaming business model unviable the letter said.
Investors said that levying 28% GST on the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) or Platform fees will lead to a 55% increase in GST quantum which would make it feasible for Indian online gaming operators to survive and be a key contributor to the Indian economy.
"However, in light of the decision by the GST Council, we humbly request your kind and urgent attention to this matter," the letter said.