Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Online Gambling in France

This is a picture of the exterior of Casino Le Lyon Vert. Under the picture you can read about gambling, onlien gamblign laws, regulations, rules in France including the legal status of sports betting, bingo, keno, lottery, bitcoin and casino gambling.

France Gambling Guide

 

Gambling is legal in France, and has quite a history in the country. France has contributed to the creation of several forms of gambling, many of them have French names to this day. The roulette wheel was invented by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (roulette itself is a French word meaning little wheel). 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 and most of the words associated with betting and casinos comes from the French language. But the biggest contribution is probably the standard 52-card deck, which 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 prevention of problem gambling and making sure these establishments pay taxes. However, these gambling taxes are extremely high, keeping the number of gambling establishments down and forcing several operators out of the market. When all the taxes are combined operators have to pay the following taxes:

Gambling tax in France (all percentage of gross gaming revenue, from 2020 onwards)

  • 37.7% for horse racing
  • 40.8% for online poker
  • 55.2% for online sports betting
  • 44.5% for retail sports betting
  • lottery 54.5% and for other lottery type games (bingo, keno, raffles) 42%

 

For gaming clubs (special type of casino, VIP, entrance fee, dress code):

  • 10% of revenue up to EUR100,000.
  • 30% of revenue EUR100,000 – EUR1,500,000.
  • 40% of revenue EUR1,500,000 – EUR2,600,000.
  • 55% of revenue EUR2,600,000 – EUR5,500,000.
  • 70% of revenue above EUR5,500,000

For casinos it’s 28% first + the following progressive tax on the remainder, based on annual gross gaming revenue:

  • Up to EUR100,000: 6%.
  • EUR100,001 and EUR200,000: 16%.
  • EUR200,001 and EUR500,000: 25%.
  • EUR500,001 and EUR1 million: 37%.
  • EUR1,000,001 and EUR1.5 million: 47%.
  • EUR1,500,001 and EUR4.7 million: 58%.
  • EUR4,700,001 and EUR7.8 million: 63.3%.
  • EUR7,800,001 and EUR11 million: 67.6%.
  • EUR11,000,001 and EUR14 million: 72%.
  • EUR14 million: 83.5%

 

If this wasn’t enough a 11.2% tax is paid on 68% of the gross gambling revenue from slot machines.
In addition every gambling establishments has to pay 13.7% tax on any winnings by players equal to or exceeding EUR1,500 (this is because gambling winnings over €1500 are taxable in France and players never paid tax on them, so now casinos have to).

As you can see, it’s incredibly high, the highest gambling tax rate in all of Europe. No wonder that despite the size, affluence and the number of tourists visiting the country it has relatively few casinos. And this is the reason why there are no standalone casinos in France, they are always part of a complex (restaurant+hotel+venue), because of the crippling tax rate it’s impossible to get by just from gambling alone. Keep in mind that this gambling tax is paid on top of regular, corporate taxes and taxes paid on the wages of employees. In fact with this crazy system it’s possible for a casinos to reach more than a 100% tax rate, so you have to pay extra money to the state after handing them all your hard earned money+ licensing fees, crazy… (no wonder there were so many tax avoiding, money laundering casinos in Paris before casinos were outlawed in the capitol…)

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) UPDATE: L’Autorité nationale des Jeux ANJ replaces ARJEL as the regulatory authority of most forms of gambling and online gambling from 2020.

Online gambling has been legal and regulated in France since 2010 (Law 2010-476 dated 2010 May 12 on opening the online gambling and betting market to competition and regulation*). Three forms of gambling are currently permitted to be conducted online by licensed companies:

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

Online casino operators can not receive a licence, online casino gambling is illegal.

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. Also. casinos can only be opened in sea, thermal and climatic resorts, as well as in cities classified as tourist resorts (except Paris, which outlawed casinos in 1920, but in 2018 allowed so called “gaming clubs” clubs de jeux, which are just casinos with another name, only one operating so far**, Paris Elysées Club). Online gambling websites registered and licensed in France are also in a similarly bad situation, unsurprisingly there aren’t many of them either. Because there are few French online gambling websites and zero licensed online casinos, players from France overwhelmingly turn to international gambling websites. Players placing bets on international gambling websites are not prosecuted, though many of these may be blocked by ISPs and only a very few of these offshore casinos accept players from France (see list below).

 

*Source: Practical Law – France

**Source: The Local.fr – Paris opens doors to first ever ‘gaming club’

 

Online casinos accepting players from France

The following online gambling websites accept players from France:

I could only find one, there really aren’t many which accept player from France due to the reasons mentioned above.

Black Lotus Casino

This is Black Lotus Casino's 2020 animated GIF banner advertising their new slot and their free spins and casino match bonuses. You can read about these promotional offers below the animated banner. By clicking on the banner you will be taken to the casino's website where you can register and play.

Black Lotus Casino bonus offers

USA and Canada players are accepted.
  • Get 300% match bonus, up to $3,250. Use the code: VENTURE300
  • $100 bonus. Use code: VENTURE100

Bonuses for existing players:
  • Deposit and get 37 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 37MILLION
  • Deposit $45 and get 299% up to $1,000. Code: 299MILLION & then get 47 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 47MILLION
  • One free spin on the "Millionaire's Bonus Wheel" , instant prizes, limited time only
  • Summer Samba Mini Game for returning players, huge instant wins credited to your player account if you are lucky, all throughout the summer
  • Every day between 6am and 10am EDT you'll get 50 Free Spins to play during our Happy Hour.
 

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

All bonuses and promotions are subject to the following wagering limitations and playthrough requirements.
  • Playthrough requirement: 40-60x for match bonuses and usually 60x for free spins and other bonuses, depends on the bonus check the casino's web page for the specific, up to date, current playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Wagering limitation:
  • 100% - Slots and Keno
  • 50% - Roulette and Three Card Poker
  • 25% - Baccarat
  • 10% - Video Poker
  • 5% - Blackjack, Craps
  • 0% - Everything else

 

 

 

Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in France

 

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

 

Casino gambling is legal and quite popular in France. Online gambling has been legal in France since 2010 too. However, 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 thought to be more addictive than other forms of gambling, because of slots. This is weird because land based casinos are allowed to have slots and the same games as online casinos. Not to mention the government makes the most money from slots in casinos, which are taxed the most. Because there are no local, licensed alternatives, players from France can only turn to foreign online casinos. Locals playing in international online casinos are not prosecuted, though very few accept players from France and these websites. And many are blocked in the country. In fact I could only find one online casino, which accepts players from France right now.

Online casinos accepting players from France - click to see

The following online casino websites accept players from France:

 

Black Lotus Casino

[caption id="attachment_17025" align="alignnone" width="728"]This is Black Lotus Casino's 2020 animated GIF banner advertising their new slot and their free spins and casino match bonuses. You can read about these promotional offers below the animated banner. By clicking on the banner you will be taken to the casino's website where you can register and play. Black Lotus Casino bonus offers[/caption] USA and Canada players are accepted.
  • Get 300% match bonus, up to $3,250. Use the code: VENTURE300
  • $100 bonus. Use code: VENTURE100

Bonuses for existing players:
  • Deposit and get 37 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 37MILLION
  • Deposit $45 and get 299% up to $1,000. Code: 299MILLION & then get 47 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 47MILLION
  • One free spin on the "Millionaire's Bonus Wheel" , instant prizes, limited time only
  • Summer Samba Mini Game for returning players, huge instant wins credited to your player account if you are lucky, all throughout the summer
  • Every day between 6am and 10am EDT you'll get 50 Free Spins to play during our Happy Hour.
 

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

All bonuses and promotions are subject to the following wagering limitations and playthrough requirements.
  • Playthrough requirement: 40-60x for match bonuses and usually 60x for free spins and other bonuses, depends on the bonus check the casino's web page for the specific, up to date, current playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Wagering limitation:
  • 100% - Slots and Keno
  • 50% - Roulette and Three Card Poker
  • 25% - Baccarat
  • 10% - Video Poker
  • 5% - Blackjack, Craps
  • 0% - Everything else

 

Click here for more info on casinos in France.

 

 

Bingo in France

 

Online bingo in France: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

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 (even in Paris, where casinos were banned). 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.

Bingo is considered a casino game but it is in a special category in France, even minors are allowed to play traditional bingo (poules au gibier) in fairgrounds, schools, or organized by non-profits (bingo establishments don’t allow anyone under 18 to enter, because they serve alcohol).

Online gambling is legal in France. However, online casino gambling remains illegal, and bingo is considered a casino game in France, therefore online bingo websites can not get a licence. This would suggest that there are no licensed French online bingo websites. However, the French lottery FDJ, seems to be an exception, it has online bingo, the only licensed, online bingo in France. There are 12 types of bingo games available on the website of FDJ under the brand name liveBINGO. Locals may also play on international online bingo sites, though most of these are blocked in the country and they rarely accept players from France.

The following bingo websites accept players from France:

I couldn’t find any that would accept player from France right now. I can only recommend FDJ liveBINGO right now (despite the name it’s actually not bingo with live bingo host streamed with a webcam online calling the numbers, it’s digital bingo, instant game, false advertising).

 

Poker in France

 

Online poker in France: legal, requires licence

 

Poker is the most popular card game in France. Live poker games, cash games and tournaments take place in several brick and mortar casinos, and there are also standalone poker clubs and VIP poker rooms (usually called gaming clubs in France, dress code, entrance fee, posh). One of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the country, the French Open takes place regularly at the Casino Barrière. Poker clubs are not considered casinos.

Poker is in its own separate category in the French gambling law and it is regulated separately, has its own set of rules.

Online poker has been legal and regulated in France since 2010. Though poker is generally played in casinos, it is considered a game of skill and 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. UPDATE: Only 12 now, they went out of business, because of the crushing taxes they couldn’t compete with the bigger and better international websites.

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.* It means that poker players from France can not play against payers from other countries if they play on a licensed, French poker site. This is why to his day most French poker players prefer foreign, bigger international poker websites. Although very few of them accept players from France.

Casinos in France can only the following types of poker:

  • Casino Hold’em poker
  • Casino stud poker
  • Texas hold’em poker
  • Omaha poker 4 high
  • Ultimate poker
  • Three card poker

And online poker sites can only offer the following types of poker:

  • Texas Hold’em limit.
  • Texas Hold’em pot limit.
  • Texas Hold’em no limit.
  • Omaha 4 high pot limit.
  • Omaha 4 High/Low limit.
  • Omaha 4 High/Low pot limit.
  • Omaha Poker 5 High pot limit
  • Seven Card Stud Poker High limit
  • Seven Card Stud Poker High/Low limit
  • Seven Card Stud Poker Razz (or Low) limit
  • Triple draw deuce to seven (2-7) Lowball (or Low) limit

The following online poker sites accept players from France:

Currently, none of the poker websites that I use (I use Betonline’s and Betsson’s poker section) accept French players so I can’t recommend any. There are not many that would accept French players, because of the way how online poker works (there only a few poker networks, they accept the players, they dictate who can play or not, not the online casinos, they only host the network, and right now none of the bigger ones accept French players). I don’t use any of the French poker sites, and I don’t intend to as long as they don’t allow international player pooling, I don’t recommend them for this reason (and also because of the high taxes they have shit bonuses, if any, rakes are really high, limited types of games, it’s just bad, not worth it).

*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 racing 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 racing betting, but has since branched out into other sports as well and it now France’s biggest bookmaker.

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 (but PMU and FDJ dominate the French sports betting market).

The following online sportsbooks accept registrations from France:

I can not recommend any online bookmaker, which accepts registrations from France currently. None of the online sports books I know and use accept players from France at the moment and I don’t want to recommend something I never used myself.

 

Lottery in France

 

Online lottery in France: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery is legal in France, and it is the monopoly of FDJ (Française des Jeux), the French national lottery. The French lottery offers various lottery draws and lottery style games such as scratchcards and bingo. FDJ was the co-founder of the European pooled lottery EuroMillions, along with the Spanish Loterías y Apuestas del Estado and UK’s Camelot, the three biggest lottery companies in Europe.

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, bingo, instant games, keno and sports betting. There are also no laws against locals buying lottery tickets online or in person in foreign countries. However, FDJ has a pretty good selection and the Euromillions offer really high jackpots. There is no point in looking for alternatives IMO.

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

only FDJ, it’s a monopoly

 

Bitcoin gambling in France

 

Bitcoin gambling in France: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bitcoin is legal in France. France’s Financial Markets Authority, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) accepted the Pacte Bill in 2019 making it possible to create a bitcoin trading and exchange company in France.* However, no word on bitcoin gambling.

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

In accordance with French online gambling laws, online gambling services may only be provided with a licence. However, online casino games are banned due to their addictive nature. As a result, there are no bitcoin casinos licensed within France and there can’t be any. But bitcoin poker, sports betting and bingo sites can operate and accept bitcoin or other alternative cryptocurrencies. Despite this, none of the licensed gambling websites currently accept bitcoin or litecoin or any other crypto ,therfore if you are looking to place bets online suing bitcoin you have to turn to foreign gambling sites.

The bitcoin casinos below accept players from France.

Online bitcoin casinos accepting players from France - click to see

The following online casino websites accept bitcoin and players from France:

 

Black Lotus Casino

[caption id="attachment_17025" align="alignnone" width="728"]This is Black Lotus Casino's 2020 animated GIF banner advertising their new slot and their free spins and casino match bonuses. You can read about these promotional offers below the animated banner. By clicking on the banner you will be taken to the casino's website where you can register and play. Black Lotus Casino bonus offers[/caption] USA and Canada players are accepted.
  • Get 300% match bonus, up to $3,250. Use the code: VENTURE300
  • $100 bonus. Use code: VENTURE100

Bonuses for existing players:
  • Deposit and get 37 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 37MILLION
  • Deposit $45 and get 299% up to $1,000. Code: 299MILLION & then get 47 Free Spins on Millionaire’s Life. Code: 47MILLION
  • One free spin on the "Millionaire's Bonus Wheel" , instant prizes, limited time only
  • Summer Samba Mini Game for returning players, huge instant wins credited to your player account if you are lucky, all throughout the summer
  • Every day between 6am and 10am EDT you'll get 50 Free Spins to play during our Happy Hour.
 

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

All bonuses and promotions are subject to the following wagering limitations and playthrough requirements.
  • Playthrough requirement: 40-60x for match bonuses and usually 60x for free spins and other bonuses, depends on the bonus check the casino's web page for the specific, up to date, current playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Wagering limitation:
  • 100% - Slots and Keno
  • 50% - Roulette and Three Card Poker
  • 25% - Baccarat
  • 10% - Video Poker
  • 5% - Blackjack, Craps
  • 0% - Everything else

 

 

 

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, especially if you are from France or nearby.

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: 2020-07-18

Gamble responsibly,
SimonTheSorcerer

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in France
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling 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
Simon's Online Marketing Kft.

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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *