Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Lottery, gambling, betting taxable under GST Act


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GST

Mains level : Not Much

The Supreme Court has held that lottery, gambling and betting are taxable under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.

Try this question from CSP 2018:

Q.Consider the following items:

  1. Cereal grains hulled
  2. Chicken eggs cooked
  3. Fish processed and canned
  4. Newspapers containing advertising material

Which of the above items is/are exempt under GST (Goods and Services Tax)?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

What did the court say?

  • A three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the levy of GST on lotteries does not amount to “hostile discrimination”.
  • The court held that lottery, betting and gambling are “actionable claims” and come within the definition of ‘goods’ under Section 2(52) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
  • Lottery, betting and gambling are well known concepts and have been in practice in this country since before Independence and were regulated and taxed by different legislations.

Parliament to decide

  • The court said that the Parliament had an absolute power to go for an “inclusive definition” of the term ‘goods’ to include actionable claims like lottery, gambling and betting.
  • The court accepted the government’s stand that the Parliament has the competence to levy GST on lotteries under Article 246A (inserted after GST Act) of the Constitution.
  • The power to make laws as conferred by Article 246A fully empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to GST and expansive definition of goods given in Section 2(52).

Must read:

Goods and Services Tax

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