Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Online Gambling in France

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Exterior of the Casino Barriere de Deauville in France. This is the header image of my guide to online gambling in France.

Casino Barriere de Deauville – Simon’s Guide to Online Gambling in France

Gambling is legal in France, and has quite a history in the country. France has contributed to the creation of several forms of gambling. The roulette wheel was invented by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. The original version of baccarat, chemin de fer also originates from the country as well. Parimutuel betting, as the name suggests, also has French origins. The 52-card deck used today was also created in France, with the Queen replacing the Nobleman in the 1500s.

Operating any sort of gambling establishment in France requires a licence. The regulations are not particularly strict, and they focus on keeping French gamblers from becoming addicted to the games. However, gambling taxes are rather high, forcing several operators out of the market.

Gambling in France is not supervised by a single entity, but by several. Betting activities have traditionally been divided between the Pari Mutuel Hippodrome (PMH) and the Pari Mutuel Urbaine (PMU). The country’s national lottery, as well as some lottery-style games such as bingo, are in the hands of Francaise des Jeux (FDJ). Online gambling is regulated by the Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL).

Online gambling has been legal and regulated in France since 2010. Three forms of gambling are currently permitted to be conducted online by licensed companies:

  • sports betting,
  • poker,
  • and horse race betting.

Online casino operators may not receive a licence, as it is considered to be too addictive.

Gambling taxes and licensing fees on top of the corporate tax rate make it difficult for online gambling operators to turn a profit in France. Unlicensed French operators may be heavily fined. However, players placing bets on international gambling websites are not prosecuted, though some of these may be blocked by ISPs and very few offshore casinos accept players from France.

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in France

 

Online casino gambling in France: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Casino gambling is legal and quite popular in France. There are currently over 150 brick and mortar casinos in operation within the country, as well as a landlocked casino cruise ship, the Lydia, moored in the port of Barcarès. Casinos offer several table games including baccarat and poker. Slot machines, which have been legal since 1988 may also be found in these establishments.

Though online gambling has been legal in France since 2010, online casino gambling is still prohibited, and no online gambling licences are issued to casino operators. The reason for this is that casino games are believed to be more addictive than other forms of gambling. However, locals playing on international online casino sites are not prosecuted, though very few accept players from France and these websites might be blocked by ISPs in the country.

The following online casinos accept players from France currently:

This is an animated GIF banner ad of the online casino Black Lotus. Black Lotus casino accepts players from France. The animated banner reads: elemental 7, play now, Bonus code: Earth, 10 free spins.

Black lotus casino – accepting players from France

This is the animated GIF banner ad of Lotus Asia online casino. Lotus Asia online casino accepts players from France. The animated banner reads: get $1000 free, download, instant play.

Lotus Asia casino – accepting players from France

 

Bingo in France

 

Online bingo in France: legal, state monopoly

 

Bingo has been a popular game in France for several centuries. There are several bingo halls to be found within the country, often incorporated in bars and pool halls. The French version of bingo is somewhat different from the game known in the US, with the cards being rectangular instead of a square. Still, the basics of the game are the same.

Online gambling was legalised in 2010, which included lottery style games such as bingo. However, licences for operating lotteries are not issued, as it is a monopoly of FDJ. There are 6 types of bingo games available on the website of FDJ. Locals may also play on international online bingo sites, though some of these may be unavailable and they rarely accept players from France.

The following bingo websites accept players from France:

I can not recommend any bingo sites that would accept player from France right now.

 

Poker in France

 

Online poker in France: legal, requires licence

 

Poker is one of the most popular form of gambling in France. Live poker games and tournaments may be found in several brick and mortar casinos, though there are also dedicated poker clubs. One of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the country, the French Open takes place at the Casino Barrière.

Online poker has been legal and regulated in France since 2010. Though poker is among the games generally played at casinos, it is considered a game of skill rather than luck, exempting it from the ban on online casino games. There are currently 15 gambling operators licensed to provide online poker services within the country.

Despite the game’s popularity, the French online poker market has been struggling since the regulation. The main reason for this are the high taxes and that the market is “fenced off” from the online poker players of other countries, thereby dramatically reducing the player base.*

The following online poker sites accept players from France:

Currently, I can not recommend any poker website, that would accept players from France.

*Source: Report: More Declines for the French Online Poker Industry During Q3 2015 (pokernews)

 

Sports betting in France

 

Online sports betting in France: legal, requires licence

 

Sports betting, especially horse race betting, has quite a tradition in France. Parimutuel betting, where the bets are pooled and then divided among the winners in accordance with the calculated odds, originates in France. To date the largest sports betting company in France is the PMU, which traditionally offered only horse race betting, but has since branched out towards other sports.

Online sports betting is among the gambling activities that were legalised in 2010. Both PMU and FDJ offer online betting on horse races and various sports events. The most popular sport to bet on is, as in most of Europe, football. Online sports betting is not a monopoly in France, other companies may apply for and receive online sports betting licences as well.

The following online sportsbooks accept registrations from France:

I can not recommend any online bookmaker, which accepts registrations from France currently.

 

Lottery in France

 

Online lottery in France: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery is legal in France, and it is the monopoly of FDJ, the operator of the French national lottery. Francaise des Jeux offers various lottery draws and lottery style games such as scratchcards and bingo. FDJ was the cofounder of the European lottery EuroMillions, along with the Spanish Loterías y Apuestas del Estado and UK’s Camelot.

Online lottery is also legal in France and it is in the hands of FDJ – no other companies may receive a licence for providing online lottery games. All of FDJ’s games are available online, including the several types of scratchcards. There are also no laws against locals participating in any international online lottery draws available to them.

The following websites let people from France purchase lottery tickets online:

Coming soon!

 

Bitcoin gambling in France

 

Bitcoin gambling in France: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bitcoin gambling, and the use of Bitcoin in general is not specifically regulated by French laws. The use of the cryptocurrency is quite widespread within the country; there are Bitcoin ATMs as well as stores accepting it as payment.

In accordance with French online gambling laws, online gambling services may only be provided with a licence. Also, online casino games are banned due to their addictive nature. As a result, there are no Bitcoin casinos licensed within France. However, there are no laws against locals playing in international Bitcoin casinos.

The following Bitcoin casinos accept players from France:

Bitcoin casinos are not eligible for a license and the unlicensed Bitcoin casinos are best avoided. Therefore I can not recommend any.

 

If you have questions or any feedback don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Please let me know in the comments section if you think we might have gotten something wrong or if you have additional information, clarification about the legal status of online gambling in this country.

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2016-04-07

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in France
Description
This online gambling guide focuses on the legal status of casinos, online gambling, sports betting, lottery, bingo, poker and Bitcoin gambling in France and its overseas territories.
Author

1 Response

  1. Ken Legg says:

    We are a registered charity in France We would like to know if we can organise a Bingo or Horse race night
    for cash prizes, do we have to have a gaming licence?

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