A gamer who objected to India’s Revenue Secretary for voicing against the imposition of Gaming 28% GST has openly denied his statement, writing that the Revenue Secretary insults India’s gamers by calling gaming ‘betting’.
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An Indian pro-gamer has openly responded to the statement of the Revenue Secretary of India, in which gaming was said to be against social values. The letter comes in the backdrop of the ongoing controversy over the proposed 28 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on gaming by the GST Council. India’s Revenue Secretary Sanjay Malhotra justified the 1200-1300 percent increase in GST in several interviews. He argued, ‘If demand is inelastic and people are really addicted to it, then the government gains in revenue. On the other hand, if demand is elastic then a social purpose is served because it is addictive and against our social values, because it is speculation.’
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In an open letter, pro gamer Deep Patel challenged this characterization, saying, ‘In one fell swoop you called us ‘addicts’ and gaming ‘betting’. You also said that gaming is against ‘our social values’. Sir, if what you said is true, then why should gaming be allowed at all?’
According to his LinkedIn profile, Deep Patel is playing FIFA Poker and Chess and has represented India in several prestigious gaming events. The paper explained the difference between a game of skill and a game of chance. The letter states, ‘You call ‘gaming’ as ‘betting’. Sir, this is totally unfair and wrong. You are well aware that betting is banned in India. Betting is purely a game of chance. We, the gamers in India, play Chess, Poker and hundreds of other games of skill. Please don’t insult us by calling us criminals.
Responding to the revenue secretary’s statement that ‘this (Gaming 28% GST) may also have an economic rationale as people expect to use this time in more productive activities’, the letter highlighted the global economic importance of the gaming industry attracted attention.
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He wrote – We gamers are hardworking and law abiding youth of India. We fully support our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a digital economy, which will make a major contribution to India’s proposed $5 trillion economy.
The controversy comes at a time when India’s gaming industry is experiencing rapid growth. According to gaming-focused investment fund Lumikai, India witnessed a phenomenal growth in the number of gamers, reaching over half a billion in FY22 as compared to 450 million in the previous year.