Poker is a Game of Skill and a Mind Sport, and it is legal in India.
According to the Indian Public Gaming Act, games of mere skill are exempted from the act and are considered to be legal. Various instances in the Act, such as Section 12, 13A, 13B and others refer to mere skills as being exempted from the act.
Several Indian States, such as West Bengal, Karnataka, and Nagaland have specifically recognised poker as a game of skill.
Our platform partner PokerStars is the biggest and most regulated poker brand in the world, with licenses across the globe.
A Game of Skill is where the outcome is predominantly determined by a player’s level of skill, and not chance. These include skills like logical thinking, strategic movements, memory and association of an opponent’s playing style, reading betting patterns, quick reactions and so on.
Section 194B of the Income Tax Act requires the person responsible for paying (PokerStars in this case) to any person (our players) any income by way of winnings from any lottery, crossword puzzle, card game, or other game of any sort in an amount exceeding 10,000 shall, at the time of payment, deduct income tax at the rates in force (30% as of now).
TDS is applicable at the time of payment, which is when a player's 'Net Winnings' are calculated.
Section 1948 provides that tax should be deducted when the payment of 'Net Winnings' that is paid to the winner is for an amount exceeding 10,000.
However, no TDS is applicable if the payment of 'Net Winnings' is less than 10,000.
As stated above, TDS is calculated at the time of payment on 'Net Winnings' (Payout-Deposit) which is calculated after a withdrawal is requested. At the time of payment, 'Net Winnings' of more than 10,000 are subject to TDS of 30% and payment to the player will be after deduction of such taxes.
To give an example:
We have taken some additional steps to ensure this policy is balanced and fair to all parties, i.e. the player as well as the government, and, as a checkpoint, any player that has received a single or cumulative payment of 'Net Winnings' greater than or equal to 2,00,000 in any given quarter, will be charged a 30% TDS on all future payments of 'Net Winnings' from there on irrespective of the amount.
This counter is reset at the end of the financial year and starts from scratch on April 1.
If you have any further questions, please contact Support.