The 25% GST (Goods and Service Tax) regime introduced in India on October 1, 2023, has significantly impacted the iGaming industry.
The iGaming industry applies to licensed and regulated websites that offer real money gambling services and includes dedicated poker sites, online bookmakers (sports betting sites), online casinos, lottery & bingo sites, and other similar gambling sites.
Here is a closer look at how the higher tax rate has and will continue to affect the wallets of people who play at these sites.
How has the 28% GST Regime Affected Players’ Wallets?
The unfair tax hike on real money wagering on games of skill and chance at Indian iGaming sites has basically made playing online casino games and placing sports bets unviable for many players.
The newly imposed higher tax rate has meant that the cost of participating in legally permitted online wagering activities has dramatically soared for the average player.
The decision made by the GST Council and central Indian government authorities has had nothing but a detrimental impact on the entire iGaming industry. It has forced many players to play at offshore-owned and licensed casinos and betting sites that fall outside of Indian jurisdiction.
The decision to enforce a 28% tax on full face value has led to an almost unbelievable 1000% increase in taxation, which will eventually prove catastrophic for India’s iGaming industry, which was booming before the new ruling.
A 30% tax, called Tax Deducted at Source (TDS), is also deducted from each player’s winnings, which means players have no incentive to continue gambling at sites that impose such harsh measures.
Although the Indian government has made attempts to block offshore igaming sites from offering real money gambling services to people living in India, players have found a legal way of side-stepping restrictions by using proxies or VPNs to access them and continue gambling as they were.
Indians can still enjoy playing their favorite games from award-winning providers and place sports bets on thousands of monthly markets at world-class sites known for having the industry’s most competitive odds without handing over so much of their wagering/winnings to the government in the form of tax.
For some iGaming operators, the hike from 18% to 28% was too much, and they have exited the Indian market altogether. They have stated that expanding and growing the business with this new tax regime is much harder.
Businesses have found it difficult to invest in new games due to the huge reduction in cash flow, and it has caused a spike in unemployment and a decrease in revenue for the government.
What are the Best iGaming Sites in India in 2024?
There are still plenty of world-class iGaming sites that Indian players can visit in 2024 to place sports bets or play casino games from a Wi-Fi/internet-connected smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, provided they are aged 18 or above.
Some fully licensed and regulated real money gambling sites online have online casino games (regular, computer-generated games and live dealer games), others only have sports betting services, and many have online casino games AND sports betting services under one roof.
If you go to the official TheTopBookies.com iGaming review site, you can find a complete list of highly recommended Indian online sports betting casinos. The sites have been carefully handpicked and then expertly reviewed by a dedicated team of researchers before being recommended.
You can find secure links to each site’s official online registration form inside the honest and unbiased reviews. Each site has been carefully examined using the same strict vetting process, and their top suggestions include the following iconic brands:
- 1XBet (best for Indian betting)
- Mega Pari (weekly deposit bonuses)
- Pari Match (excellent cricket odds)
- Dafabet (best for cricket and kabaddi betting)
- Bet Tilt (home to some of the industry’s most competitive odds)
- 10CRIC (for many people, this is India’s number 1 all-round betting site and casino)
- 1Win (epic sign-up bonus for new players)
Other top sites they also have secure links for (where you can claim exclusive welcome bonus offers) are MelBet, LopeBet, BC.Game, Sporsbet.io, 22Bet, and Blue Chip.
You can also look at tips to manage your finances for a successful gambling experience for additional knowledge purpose. Before signing up to any of these trusted Indian-focussed iGaming sites, remember to read through several reviews and compare them to find out which site might be the more suitable option for you.
They are all free to sign up to, and they are the most secure, reliable, and trustworthy Indian iGaming sites you can visit in 2024.