The Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Intelligence, India’s law enforcement agency tasked with combating tax evasion, announced it has taken action against the global gambling operator Parimatch. The agency accused the Cyprus-based sports betting and gambling company of tax evasion and reported one Parimatch official has been detained during its recent crackdown. According to the authorities, the company has been discreetly offering remote sports wagering and casino gaming to Indian customers despite the fact online gambling largely remains illegal in the country.
As a result of these operations, significant amounts of money in the local currency, the Indian rupee, have left the country and caused it to lose millions in tax revenue since Parimatch is not registered in India. The Directorate General of GST Intelligence was founded in the late seventies for the purpose of combating tax evasion in the country. The entity revealed it has been keeping a watchful eye on the transactions of the gambling company over the previous couple of days.
Parimatch Sponsors Several Major Soccer and Cricket Teams in India
It was also established that Parimatch has secured various sponsorship agreements with local soccer clubs, cricket teams, and kabaddi leagues, including the Chepauk Super Gillies, Tamil Thalaivas, the Pro Kabaddi League, and the Saurashtra Premier League. Additionally, the company unveiled in September 2022 that it was chosen as the principal shirt sponsor of FC Goa for the 2022/2023 season.
The team competes in the Indian Super League (ISL). The club’s president, Mr Akshay Tandon, said at the time he was delighted with the deal and stressed the sponsorship was ‘vitally important’ to FC Goa. Parimatch has also attracted several local cricket players as brand ambassadors, including Dinesh Karthik and Arshdeep Singh.
Despite remote gambling being prohibited in some Indian states, Parimatch accepts registrations from customers throughout the country. It allows them to set up accounts in the local currency (INR) and deposit with familiar payment methods like RuPay. The company claims on its official website that its operations in India are ‘legit’ because only setting up gambling houses is against the local law.
For clarification, some states like Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Nagaland have enacted laws to allow the provision of certain forms of online gambling under local, i.e state, licenses. However, the Cyprus-based company offers its services in the country with a license issued in Curacao. Further investigation into the Indian operations of the company is underway.
The news of the Directorate General crackdown comes in the wake of Parimatch’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian market last month. The gambling firm recently had to suspend its operations in the war-torn country after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved Presidential Decree No. 145/2023 and signed it into law.
Under the new legislation, over a hundred individuals and more than 280 legal entities will suffer sanctions, including some betting companies that are allegedly associated with Russia. The Parimatch Ukrainian domain was subsequently blocked as well.