Skip to main content

Debatable if taxation in India will lead to discourage those who choose to gamble

By Bharat Dogra 

An important debate ensued in the recent GST Council meeting on taxing casinos. Finally on June 29 the decision on taxing casinos, online gambling and horse racing at 28% was deferred, particularly on account of the objections voiced by the Finance minister of Goa (as well as some others). Now a panel of state finance ministers headed by the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has been formed to hear all sides before a final decision is taken, likely to be in August.
While commenting on this debate the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made an important statement. She said, “The one thing I would like to highlight to you all is whether it is horse racing , online gaming or casinos, the common thread which the committee highlighted was that they are all part of betting and gaming. In other words they are essentially gambling.” She added that there may be an element of skill or of chance but all these are essentially treated as gambling and taxed at the same 28% rate and in a way the panel appears to be in favor of continuing the status quo”.
This relates to the economic and taxation aspects of the debate, but this also has implications for the social impacts side of the debate. While taxation as a means of raising resources for the government is well recognized, it is debatable whether taxation will lead to discouraging those who choose to gamble in these various games. Keeping in view the serious and adverse social impacts of gambling, we need to be concerned also about any legitimization and justification tax regimes can provide for various forms of gambling.
A big player in casinos was quoted to have stated some time back in media, “The Indian government has asked casinos to build integrated resorts in Goa. Gambling operators who did not enter Macau, when the game was liberalized at the beginning of the millennium do not want to miss the boat in Goa, and want to bet on what might be the next Macau.”
Whatever may be the truth about the future plans it is clear that even with their present day limited range casinos have become identified in the public mind with several worsening social problems. Women may be least involved in gambling but still suffer more of its adverse social impacts.
While gambling has been a serious addiction for a long time in history, in modern times this problem has taken new forms with technology making it possible to spread gambling in new ways on a much wider scale. In addition powerful interests have been pleading for legalizing more forms of gambling including gambling and bets relating to sports events.
Crystal Fulton, Prof. of University College, Dublin has written, "Harmful gambling can have crippling financial and social effects on the gambler, their friends and family. In the first national study on the social impact of harmful gambling in Ireland, we examined how it affected recovering gamblers, their families and friends..... Talking to people from all walks of life ... we found that a common theme was the devastating social effects gambling had on people's lives." (The Conversation, "More than just financial loss, the social impact of gambling cannot be underestimated." Nov. 1, 2017.)
A review of existing research on this subject by Shou-Tsung Wu and Yeong-Shyang Chen says, "Although some researchers have found that the development of casino gambling has no direct association with an increase in criminal activities, most studies have shown that casino gambling may be correlated with the following social deviations : domestic violence, divorce, bankruptcy, drug and alcohol abuse, risky or illicit sexual behaviour (especially prostitution) and problem gambling. (Allcock 2000, Chhabra, 2007, Harill and Potts, 2003, Pelry 2003).
"Additionally, Stokowski (1996) and Long (1996), who studied gambling towns in Colorado and South Dakota, clearly indicated that the rates of criminal activities increased due to the development of casino enterprises in these two locations. The increase in the number of pathological gamblers is another concerning issue regarding the development of casino gambling."
According to Gordon Moody Association (Help for Problem Gamblers), "Anyone who gets caught up in the downward spiral of problem gambling finds only too soon that the negative impact on his or her life can be devastating. Finding money to gamble is usually the most immediate and obvious issue which brings with it enough problems, but in addition an all consuming compulsion to gamble at any cost leads to difficulties which affect employment, quality of life, family relationships and mental and physical health.
And, of course, problem gambling doesn't just affect the individual. It's estimated that for every problem gambler at least 10 other family members, friends and colleagues are also directly affected."
A 2010 study in the UNLV Gaming Research and Review Journal revealed that those classified as problem gamblers were, on average 84% more like to use hard drugs, 31% more likely to binge drink and 260% more likely to hire a prostitute.
Hence it is clear that gambling has very serious social impacts and the rapid spread of legal gambling should be resisted by social movements. In addition communities should also resist the widespread practice of various forms of illegal gambling. In school education and in other community places there should be a clear message against gambling, backed with adequate information on the adverse social impacts of gambling. The highly dubious arguments given for legalizing gambling, including betting in sports events, should be resisted strongly by providing all the strong evidence against the adverse social impacts of all forms of gambling.
The debate on gambling should not be restricted to tourism, taxation and revenue aspects, as the most important aspects relate to adverse social impact of gambling which should get the highest importance. The unfortunate tendency on the part of films to present mainly the glamorous side of gambling while neglecting the sufferings caused by it is another cause of concern.
---
The writer is Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘A Day in 2071’, ‘Navjivan’ and ‘Man over Machine-A Path to Peace'

Comments

TRENDING

This activist played a monumental role in cases related to environmental issues

By Ekansh Agarwal, Pooja Agarwal, Shubham Tripathi, Sachin Uttarwar, Himani Rathod*  Rohit Prajapati is an environmentalist and has set up a voluntary organization named Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, which is a voluntary organization. Rohit calls his organization a people's movement that constantly raises voices against different environmental issues. Rohit believes that environmental problems are not only constrained to preventing pollution and proper disposal of wastes but should be seen holistically. He believes that social activists can never work in isolation and must work with the community to pressure the authorities to take corrective actions, and the only way to work with the community is to raise the issues that benefit the community at large. Hence, he also tries to raise the issue of social importance along with environmental issues. When asked what he thinks about the current norms and regulations of CPCB and SPCB, he said that the existing standards and regulations are

India needs to take care of geo-economics in order to address its security issues

By IMPRI Team  National security is indispensable for a country’s survival and growth. Although security has been a complex issue in human history, its complexity increases in the contemporary period because of technological developments, climate change and various other factors. The complexity of security has led to constant thinking and rethinking about the idea of security, its processes, and dynamics. Given the multiplicity of security challenges that India faces, it is important to investigate the nature and scope of these challenges. As part of its series, T he State of International Affairs- #Diplomacy Dialogue , #IMPRI Centre for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi , organized the IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk with Dr Arvind Gupta, on Emerging Dimensions of India’s National Security. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta, CEO and Editorial Director at IMPRI, New Delhi began the discussion by mentioning the

Complaints of adverse impacts due to COVID vaccine should be settled efficiently

By Bharat Dogra  In recent weeks it has been proved beyond doubt that mass COVID vaccination among women and girls has led to a massive disruption of menstrual cycle and more particularly to excess bleeding among them. A scientific paper that has been widely cited in this context is titled ‘Invesigating trends in those who experience menstrual bleeding changes after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination’. This paper authored by Katherine M.N.Lee et al was published in ‘Science Advances’ dated 15 July, 2022. According to this survey, as many as 42% of those with regular menstrual cycle bled more heavily than usual. Earlier in March another paper in the International journal of Women’s Health written by Nadia Muhaidat had reportd tht 66 per cent of women had experienced menstrual abnormalities after vaccination. In September 2021 the British Medical Journal had proposed that a link between excessive bleeding and COVID vaccination was plausible, adding that such complaints are being increasingly receive

Endless wait for pension for India's 60 million unorganized sector senior citizens

By Bharat Dogra  The most important support needed by elderly persons is for regular and adequate pensions. Only about 10 per cent of senior citizens in India have access to regular and reasonable pensions. They are mostly those who have served in the civil government, armed forces and related parts of the formal sector. For the remaining over 90 per cent of senior citizens, pensions either do not exist, or else are irregular, uncertain or extremely inadequate. The pensions for this unorganized sector are provided mainly by the National Social Assistance Program or NSAP (and to a lesser extent by some other programs). Out of the nearly 82 million elderly citizens in this informal sector, this scheme of the Union Government manages to reach just about 22 million people. Many eligible and selected persons have been denied pension due to insistence on Aadhar and biometric recognition, various irregularities and other factors. Thus around 60 million elderly people are still waiting to ge

World appreciates Bangladesh’s relative stability amidst global inflation, Ukraine war

By Samina Akhter*  Due to the Ukraine-Russia war after the corona epidemic, the whole world is suffering from economic recession. In various countries of the world, the value of currency is falling, inflation is increasing. One country after another is going bankrupt. At that time, Bangladesh is slowly taking steps to understand the situation. After overcoming the crisis, Sheikh Hasina's country is running on a positive trend of economy. And the media of different countries of the world are praising this. World media is talking about Sheikh Hasina and her country. According to a report of Thailand's Bangkok Post, Bangladesh will not have a crisis like Sri Lanka. According to a report of the Financial Times of India, the economy of Bangladesh is stable even in the global recession. On the other hand, the report of The Express Tribune of Pakistan said to Pakistanis, learn from Sheikh Hasina. He is the pride of Bangladesh. The highlights of these reports are as follows: The crisis

Do or die? August revolution and India's ruling class: hard facts as seen by Dr Lohia

By Prem Singh  "Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: 'Do or Die'. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge." (Excerpt from Gandhiji's speech at the All-India Congress Committee meeting) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia wrote a long letter to the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, on March 2, 1946. That letter is important and was appreciated by Gandhiji. The letter brings out the brutal and conspiratorial character of British imperialism. Lohia wrote that letter from jail. After playing an underground role for 21 months in the Quit India Movement, Lohia was arrested in Bombay on 10 May 1944. He was imprisoned first in Lahore F

Steve Otto strived to unite different trends of Communist camp, confronted dogmatism

By Harsh Thakor  One of my closest comrades Steve Otto, expired last week while sitting on the porch of his house. Some months ago, he lost his wife Cammy. He ran blogs ‘Ottos War Room’ and ‘Idiot Factor.’ I may not have personally met him but I don't have words to express my sense of loss at his demise and my gratitude for his support to my work. A writer who dipped his pen for service of the oppressed peoples. Few have ever been so supportive to me, giving such a platform to project my view. Such figures create avenues for young writers to blossom in the revolutionary movement. In hardest times, he helped me stand afloat. I deeply admire how he supported my writings on struggles in Punjab, Naxalbari, Maoism and progressive cultural activists, Hindi film actresses and actors, philosophers and swimming. Overall he was manifestation of the Marxist revolutionary as a spiritual being, revealing a subtle human touch. Steve portrayed why a Marxist or Maoist was creative. I recommend eve

GN Saibaba's book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating India's parliamentary system

By Harsh Thakor  “Why Do You Fear Me So Much: Poems and Letters from Prison” by Professor G.N.Saibaba portrays the sheer inhumanity prevailing within prison walls in India, illustrating the barbaric jail practices. It is the best illustration of how genuine activists are falsely fabricated in India today ,with the judiciary virtually a tool or completely subservient to the ruling classes. The book portrays how neo-fascism is penetrating the parliamentary system at height unscaled, laws passed similar to colonial times. We get an insight into how spiritually the resolve of a political prisoner to combat fascism is further intensified within the confines of prison walls. The book illustrates the death defying courage of Professor Saibaba and his wife Vasantha Kumari in bearing the situation. It is the voice of all the oppressed people of India. A mascot for all revolutionary democrats confronting proto-fascism. Introduction In the Introduction Vasantha’s letter to Sai is published. H

Do we need this coal project in West Bengal, which displaces 21,000 people?

By Bharat Dogra  As the crisis of climate change has aggravated rapidly, there is a strong reason for being highly cautious about development of any new coal projects. Nevertheless, countries of the global south cannot entirely ban such development as they have to be concerned also about their crucial energy needs as well and of developing their own resources within the country for this. Countries of the global south have shown greater sense of responsibility than the developed and richest countries in this respect and they could have played an even more helpful role if the rich countries had kept to their earlier promises of generously helping the global south in this effort. Their promise of arranging a fund of 100 billion dollars a year for helping in this was a very modest effort which fell short of real needs, but the rich countries have been falling behind even in meeting this modest commitment of 100 billion dollars a year, which should be compared to the annual spending of 250

Wickremesinghe should know: Sri Lanka has nothing to gain by declaring support to China

By NS Venkataraman*  There appears to be a unanimous view in Sri Lanka and other countries that appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President of Sri Lanka is the best decision that has happened in the present turbulent time in Sri Lanka. Ranil Wickremesinghe has served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka six times and he has not completed full term even once and is not generally recognised as an exceptional administrator. However, he has been recognised as a reliable and decent and least controversial person by popular view and that is perhaps why governance of Sri Lanka has been handed over to him. Except a few professional demonstrators in Sri Lanka, the country is, by and large, willing to support him if he would take appropriate policy decisions and implement them in a pragmatic way. This is a good situation as far as it goes. Obviously, the priority for Ranil Wickremesinghe is to retrieve Sri Lankan economy from the present mess, which implies that he should ensure tha