Chandigarh : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday categorically termed online gaming “nothing but gambling”.
Addressing the media at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council held in Chandigarh, Sitharaman 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.
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 on online gaming and others.
The GOM will submit its report on July 15 and it will be discussed at the next GST Council meeting to be held in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai, the home town of both Sitharaman and Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan.