Gambling is legal and quite popular in French Polynesia, though certain forms of it are still illegal. French Polynesia is an archipalego located in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of 118 islands. French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France, which received the title of overseas country in 2004.
Unlike overseas departments, overseas collectivities such as French Polynesia have their own head of state. These collectivities have the jurisdiction to create their own statutory laws. As a result, while French Polynesia is represented in the National Assembly, French laws do not apply automatically.
In French Polynesia, all forms of gambling are prohibited, except for those specified to be legal. Among the latter is horse race betting, lotteries and games offered by Pacifique des Jeux. This is a subsidiary of Francaise des Jeux, the company running the French national lottery as well as other lottery style games and sports betting.
Cruise ships that are not registered in French Polynesia may also operate casinos, as long as they are only open to passangers. Another recent exclusion from the ban is poker, which had previously been considered a game of chance, but is now deemed to be a game of skill.
Prohibited games include gaming houses open to the public, as well as gambling in public, though a distinction is made. It is also forbidden to bet on cock fights. Online gambling is also illegal, in the sense that operators may be prosecuted, but not players.
France has introduced an online gambling law allowing online sports betting, horse race betting and poker to be offered by licensed operators, but French polynesia has not followed suit. There are no laws against locals playing on unlicensed online gambling sites, but some of these may be blocked by ISPs.
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- Casino gambling in French Polynesia
- Bingo in French Polynesia
- Poker in French Polynesia
- Sports betting in French Polynesia
- Lottery in French Polynesia
- Bitcoin gambling in French Polynesia
- Online gambling websites accepting players from French Polynesia
Casino gambling in French Polynesia
Online casino gambling in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Although casino gambling is legal in France, it is currently illegal in French Polynesia. there have been extensive talks about legalising casino gambling and introducing brick and mortar casinos, but with no actual results as of yet.* Casino games are still quite popular within the collectivity, and through legalisation and regulation these games could be supervised more aptly.
Online casino gambling is also illegal, as it is believed to be more addictive than other forms of online gambling. As a result, there are no licensed online casino operators in France or in French Polynesia. However, there are no laws against locals playing in international online casinos.
Bingo in French Polynesia
Online bingo in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Bingo appears to be illegal in French Polynesia, as it is considered a game of chance that is not exempt from the prohibition. As a result, there are no bingo halls or similar establishments on the islands. This might be surprising, as bingo is considered a lottery style game in France, and is legal.
The Pacifique des Jeux, unlike its French counterpart, offers no online bingo. As unlicensed operators may not offer online gambling services, including bingo, this means there are no legally available options for online bingo in French Polynesia. However, locals are free to play on international online bingo sites available to them.
Poker in French Polynesia
Online poker in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Poker has previously been regarded as a game of chance, and is often played at casinos. However, in recent years, it has been increasingly considered a game of skill, which makes it exempt from the ban on games of pure chance. Still, there don’t seem to be any brick and mortar poker in French Polynesia.
As online poker is not considered a game of chance, the prohibiton of online gambling does not There are several operators that have received such licences, and offer online poker games legally, though none of these are based specifically in French Polynesia.
Sports betting in French Polynesia
Online sports betting in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Sports betting is legal in French polynesia, but only when bets are made on horse races, not on other sports events. There is one horse race track in French Polynesia, the Hippodrome de Tahiti or Hippodrome de Pirea. Horse race betting has traditionally been the most popular form of gambling in France, where parimutuel betting actually originates from.
Online sports betting is, as other forms of online gambling, illegal in French Polynesia. Though the Francaise des Jeux offers various sports betting options, the Pacifique des Jeux does not. Locals are free to wager on international online sports betting sites, though some of these may be blocked.
Lottery in French Polynesia
Online lottery in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Lotteries are among the few types of gambling legal in French Polynesia. The largest lottery operator is Pacifique des Jeux, which offers traditional number games as well as scratchcards and Keno. The Euromillions is also available from French Polynesia. There are also several other, smaller authorised lottery and tombola operators.
The Pacifique des Jeux does not offer any way to participate in the draws online, in accordance with the ban on online gambling. However, Locals are free to participate in any international online lottery draws that are available to them.
Bitcoin gambling in French Polynesia
Bitcoin gambling in French Polynesia: illegal, players are not prosecuted
Bitcoin is not specifically regulated in France or in French Polynesia. In accordance with the gambling regulations of the islands, all forms of gambling are banned except for those explicitly authorised, and Bitcoin gambling is not. As a result, there are no licensed Bitcoin casinos available in French Polynesia, though locals may play in international Bitcoin casinos with no repercussions.
Online gambling websites accepting players from French Polynesia
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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: 2015. 12. 29.