Sikkim High Court Allows Interim Stay On US$76 Million Tax Demand Against Delta Corp

Delta Corp, India’s only listed hospitality and gaming firm that owns and manages hotels and casinos, stated that Sikkim High Court had given it an interim stay on a GST demand notice received from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Hyderabad, when it comes to paying Rs 628 crore, which is $75.5 million US dollars, in back taxes supposedly owed for the work of the Deltin Denzong Casino, located outside Sikkim, according to a filling that took place on October 22.

GST demand notice as just one of the similar back tax demands:

The exact words mentioned by the said firm during the filling are according to the Inside Asian Gaming: “Pursuant to a writ petition filed by the Company before the Honorable High Court of Sikkim challenging the above demand, the Honorable High Court has by its order dated 20th October 2023 ordered status quo to be maintained in respect of the demand until the date of next hearing.” 

However, the GST demand notice mentioned above is only one in a sea of corresponding demands from many different government agencies, the final amount of which is over Rs 23,200 crore, which is approximately US$2.8 billion. To put it simply, the overall market capitalization of the firm is nearly US$420 million at the moment.

Furthermore, among the above mentioned corresponding demands, on October 11, it received notices of supposed shortage in GST payments for the time frame July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022 of Rs 16,823 crore, which is roughly $2.02 billion US dollars. In addition, exactly 3 days later, one more demand was received from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Kolkata, which was associated with the payment of Rs 6,384, which is approximately US$768 million.

Reason for sizable demands:

The primary reason behind the issued demands and claims is according to Delta Corp: “They are based on the gross bet value of all games played at the casinos during the relevant period, not dissimilar to recent moves by India’s GST Council to slap a 28% tax on gaming deposits for operators nationwide. “

Relatedly, it added: “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 Company has been legally advised that the DG Notice and the tax demand is arbitrary and contrary to law, and the Company will pursue all legal remediesavailable to it to challenge such tax demand and related proceedings.”