Racing industry faces crippling tax hike

India’s racing industry has been stirred after a document went viral on a social media app, which could mean racing revenues become subject to the same tax rate as alcohol and tobacco, local media reports.

The document, which purports to be the GST draft, would impose a 40 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on bookmakers and racecourses.

GST is the largest indirect tax reform in India which subsumes most taxes including gambling and betting taxes. It is proposed to come into effect from 1st April, 2017.

While the document is yet to be authenticated, it is already causing concern amongst India’s racing giants who fear the tax could be the final nail in the coffin for the already burdened industry.

Vivek Jain, chairman of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), acknowledged that he had heard about it, but not seen it yet. “I reserve comment until I see it, the draft pages,” he said to India’s Mid-Day on the phone. “If true, this would be very serious. I had written to my counterparts in other clubs that we need to be united to tackle this issue, but unfortunately, some of them feel it would be too premature to take it up at this stage,” he added.