India’s largest poker site Adda52 is in hot water after a group of professional poker players decided to boycott its tournaments over its flawed Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) policies.
The protesting pros have accused the site of failing to update its taxation policies, unreasonably hurting the players’ pockets. The boycott was led by Indian poker pro Raghav Bansal, who made a post on the Facebook group The Players Group (TPG) and urged members to abstain from taking part in Adda52’s Sunday tournaments. TPG has more than 3,700 members.
Players Pay More Than They Should
Bansal’s post highlighted the manner by which Adda52 deducts TDS on tournaments. Until now, the site’s MTT tax policy has not been revised, with 32% deducted from the prize pool in every tournament. This outdated policy forces players to pay way too much than they should, and works in contrast to the policies adopted by other major poker sites.
PokerDangal another online poker website in India permits players to withdraw up to Rs. 30,000 per day without charging a TDS, while PokerBaazi makes it a point to deduct TDS only on net winnings. These policies help to make sure that more money is kept in the poker system. Bansal said Adda52’s taxation policies will only push away poker regulars.
Bansal is among India’s prominent and top poker pros with more than $1 million in total live earnings. During the 50th World Series of Poker (WSOP) this summer, the New Delhi native finished in the money in five events, including a third-place win in the $600 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack 8-Handed event for $88,410.
In 2017, Bansal finished second out of 180 entrants in the HKD 103,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller during the PokerStars Championship Macau where he won his career-best score of $335,910. Bansal is also a member of the TPG where he recently expressed his frustration at Adda52’s TDS policy.
Adda Management Reaches Out
As a result of the boycott, Adda52’s scheduled Sunday majors last week had a lower turnout, with the Mega Suits tournament only recording a total of 502 entries, and the Big Slick drawing just 669 entries, compared to figures in the past weeks.
The players appeared to turn to other sites to play poker, with PokerStars India’s Sunday Special Progressive KO attracting the highest number of entries to date. PokerBaazi’s BSS SuperStack tournament also enjoyed a slight increase in participation numbers during the sit-outs.
The impact of the boycott has reached the poker site’s top brass and talks were held with tax specialists to arrive at a resolution. Gujral said the Adda52 management invited players’ representatives to hold discussions on the matter but nobody from their group turned up owing to short notice.
TPG Outlines Demands
While no one from The Players Group was able to attend the discussions, the poker pros’ concerns regarding Adda52’s tax policies were on the agenda. The group proposed that Adda52 bear the burden of additional tax paid by players if the site must comply with the same tax policy. In response, the poker site said they will take the idea into consideration and will get back to the group once a decision is reached.
TPG also maintained that Adda52’s tax policy is not healthy for the poker economy and they will continue to snub the site’s major tournaments unless the issue is fixed. Adda52 will also not be able to advertise on TPG anymore. The group is also questioning the site’s tax policy discrepancies in relation to MTTs and cash games. Cash games players are allowed to have closed wallets where their winnings are deposited in the form of chips. They will only pay tax during cashouts. TPG wants the same system to be applied to MTTs.
As stated in Section 194B of India’s Income Tax Act, TDS shall be deducted on any winnings from card games surpassing Rs. 10,000. However, the provision does not specifically indicate how winnings should be calculated, and whether set-off of losses is allowed in winnings on other games.
This has led to different interpretations, with different online poker websites adopting different policies. But some online poker operators choose to bear the brunt of the TDS by coming up with special offers and promotions, or by paying the entire or a portion of the TDS using their own resources.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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