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Super Group exits India over new online betting tax

| By Robert Fletcher
Betway operator Super Group has withdrawn from the Indian market in response to a new online gambling tax rate that came into effect this month.
India blocking illegal

Operators are now having to pay a flat 28% turnover tax for online gambling, casino and horse race betting. The rate came into effect yesterday (1 October) after being announced by the Goods and Council Tax Council (GST) in India in July

Super Group says the new rules mean the Indian market is no longer commercially viable for the business. As such, it has dropped all services with immediate effect.

“We are continuously evaluating evolving regulatory landscapes across the many markets we serve,” Super Group CEO Neal Menashe said. “Informed by years of operating our geographically diverse business, we remain confident about the long-term growth opportunities in front of us.”

Super Group adds that despite the exit, full-year financial projections are unchanged.

Industry body blasts higher rate

Tax will be applied to the full-face value of a bet, rather than gross gaming revenue (GGR), making it a turnover-based tax. For online gambling, tax will be applied to the full value of all bets placed with operators.

With land-based casinos, tax will be applicable on the face value of the chips purchased at each venue. With horse racing, tax will be applied on the full value of the bets placed with bookmakers and totalisators.

When the tax was set out in July, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) hit out at the decision. 

The AIGF, the apex industry body for online gambling in India, told iGB the rate will make it harder for businesses to survive. It added that this could lead to more players turning to unlicensed operators.

“This decision will be extremely detrimental to the entire Indian gaming industry, with the GST on deposit increasing liability up to 400%-500%, and will lead to lakhs of job losses,” the AIGF said.

Wider changes in India market

The new tax rate is the second major change to India’s online gambling market this year. In January, India’s government also published a new set of rules to regulate online gambling.

The amendments state any online game offered must not be in violation of any existing laws. These include state-wide gambling bans.

Proposals were also set out for self-regulatory bodies. These would comprise online gaming businesses and be responsible for creating rules for the industry.

Core focus areas include safeguarding players against harm, addressing addiction, preventing financial crime and protecting children. 

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