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25/09/23 - India Needs To Up Their Game


Casinos in India are facing a significant challenge that demands their immediate attention.


Delta Corp, a prominent Indian casino operator, has had their shares crash as much as 20% today, 25th September, due to two GST tax payment notices totalling Rs 16,822 crore (USD$ 2,028,025,438) on Friday, September 22. This amount includes interest and penalties for the period spanning from July 2017 to March 2022 and is three and a half times the company's market capitalisation of Rs 4,693 crore (US$ 565,778,348).


In an exchange filing, released close to midnight on Friday, Delta Corp announced "Demand of GST on gross bet value, rather than gross gaming revenue, has been an industry issue and various representations have already been made to the Government at an industry level in relation to this issue."


The stock had already declined 23 per cent in a single day in July after the GST council revised the GST rates on casinos higher from 18 per cent to 28 per cent. With today's drop, the Delta stock is down to its lowest level in 33 months and the company's Chief Financial officer resigned last month which has further intensified the pressure on the company.


Previously, taxes were paid based on net gaming revenue, which resulted in Indian casino companies not being overly concerned about their net win. Consequently, Indian casino management operated games at the most sluggish pace imaginable. However, with the new tax regulations, casinos must now reconsider their strategies. optimise their business and maximize their earnings from each player's buy-in.


Delta Corp has expressed its intention to challenge the tax demand and any related legal proceedings. Failure to comply with the payment could result in a show cause notice being issued against the company but Delta Corp is determined to explore all available legal remedies to contest this tax demand. One saving grace is the company is debt-free.


Delta Corp is India's largest operator of casinos. Its segments include real estate, gaming, hospitality and others. The gaming and hospitality businesses operate under the DELTIN brand. The company also owns casinos in Nepal and hotel-casinos and three riverboat casinos in Goa. In addition, the company is planning to launch a new casino vessel in Goa this October to replace an existing riverboat casino that supposedly outsizes all the casino vessels situated on the Mandovi River. Further plans in the pipeline are to construct a casino-hotel resort close to the Goa airport.

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