Simon’s Reunion Island Casino Gambling Guide

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A picture of Casino de St-Gilles - casino Réunion. The picture shows the casino at night from the outside. This is the header image of my Reunion Island poker and gambling guide

Casino de St-Gilles (a casino on Réunion Island) – Poker, Gambling and online Gambling Guide

Casinos (and other forms of gambling) are legal and regulated in Reunion Island.

Réunion (or Reunion Island) is a French overseas department located in the Indian Ocean. It is situated east of Madagascar and about 175 kilometres southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island. It has a population of 844,994 and a land area of 2,511 square kilometres. Like the other four overseas departments, it is also one of the 27 regions of France, with the modified status of overseas regions. As such, it is an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. It is, therefore administratively, considered a part of Europe.

This obviously means, that the same gambling laws apply to Réunion, as to mainland France. Land based gambling operators are eligible for gambling licenses, according to French law. However, apart from the four land based casinos on the island, there is no trace online of any other legally operating gambling venues or operations.

Online gambling was the monopoly of the French national gambling company Française des Jeux (FDJ). In 2010, law No 2010-476 of 12 May, usually referred to as the French Gambling Act was enacted, which opened up the market to private operators. However, the new regulation imposed harsh taxes (33%) and several other measures on licensees, that made the legal French online gambling market somewhat unappealing to operators. The legislation established a regulatory body called ARJEL (Regulatory authority for online games), which is trusted with overseeing and controlling the gambling industry and issuing licences*.

Only online sports betting (live betting, pool betting and fixed odds betting), online horse race betting (pool betting) and online poker (Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker 4) was legalised.

ARJEL also orders ISPs to block unlicensed foreign gambling sites. However, playing on such platforms is not criminalised by French law, therefore residents of France (and its overseas departments, therefore Reunion Island too) are free to wager on websites they can access.

*Source: Online gambling: Finnish and French models
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Casino gambling in Reunion Island

 

Online casino gambling in Reunion Island: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Land based casinos are legal and licensed in France, and therefore in Reunion Island also. Currently, there are a reported 4 legally operating casinos on the island: Casino Saint-Denis, Casino de St-Gilles, Casino de Saint-Pierre and Casino du Sud.

Under French law, only sports and horse betting games and online poker sites are eligible for a licence.

All online casinos that have slots or other casino games can not apply for a licence. However, players who place bets on on these platforms cannot be prosecuted by French law (offshore casino are outside of French jurisdiction). Although accessing these sites might prove somewhat difficult, as many of them are reportedly blocked by French ISPs on ARJEL’s order. These measures apply to Réunion too, as an overseas department of France.

The following online casinos accept players from Reunion Island:

This is an animated GIF banner ad of the online casino Black Lotus. Black Lotus casino accepts players from Reunion Island

Black lotus casino – accepting players from Reunion Island”

 

This is the animated GIF banner ad of Lotus Asia online casino. Lotus Asia online casino accepts players from Reunion Island

Lotus Asia casino – accepting players from Reunion Island”

 

 

Bingo in Reunion Island

 

Online bingo in Reunion Island: illegal

 

Even though bingo is quite a popular game in France and land based bingo halls are eligible for a licence, there are none in Réunion. None of the four casinos on the island seem to have a bingo hall.

Online bingo sites cannot operate legally in France. By law, only online poker sites, sports and horse betting platforms are eligible for a French online gambling licence. There is one legal bingo operation in the country – a lottery type bingo game offered by FDJ. It is also available online, but it’s not real bingo.

Foreign online bingo operators are technically illegal and some such sites are blocked by authorities. However, players cannot be prosecuted for playing on these platforms. 

 

 

 

Poker in Reunion Island

 

Online poker in Reunion Island: legal, licensed

 

In Reunion Island, poker is legal and licensed, according to French laws, which apply to overseas departments also. Reportedly, all of the four legally operating casinos in Réunion offer poker tables to their players. Separate poker clubs are also eligible for a licence under French law. However, there don’t appear to be any such venues in operation in Réunion.

Online poker is legal and licensed in France, and therefore Reunion Island as well. The major drawback of this system is, that French laws do not allow for the sharing of player pools between countries. This means that French players are only allowed to play poker online against each other. However, an amendment to the French Gambling Act is recently being discussed by legislators that would resolve this situation and let French players join the global pool*. In the meantime, French players who choose to play on unlicensed foreign poker sites cannot be prosecuted by authorities.

*Source: France Looks Into Increasing Player Liquidity To Increase Online Revenues

 

 

Sports betting in Reunion Island

 

Online sports betting in Reunion Island: legal, licensed

 

Land based sports betting operators are eligible for a licence under French law – which applies to Réunion as well. However, there don’t appear to be any brick and mortar betting shops on the island.

Online sports betting operators can also obtain a license under French law. There are quite a few such sites operating legally, on “.fr” domains. Many unlicensed foreign online bookmakers are blocked by authorities. However, if a player from France or one of its overseas departments or territories manages to access these, he or she cannot be prosecuted or penalised in any way for doing so.

 

 

 

Lottery in Reunion Island

 

Online lottery in Reunion Island: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery is a state monopoly in France. Residents of mainland France and its overseas territories and departments can participate in both the national lottery conducted by the FDJ and also the EuroMillions. Games of both these operators are accessible through an online platform.

Foreign online lotteries are technically illegal. Websites of some international internet lottery operators are blocked by French authorities. However, French players (and players from Reunion Island) are not prosecuted or penalised in any way for participating in foreign online lottery draws.

 

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Reunion Island

 

Bitcoin gambling in Reunion Island: unknown, players are not prosecuted

 

I couldn’t find any official, valid information on ARJEL’s stance on Bitcoin gambling and using cryptocurrencies in online gambling. Last year an illegal Bitcoin gambling operation was shut down by French authorities. The people behind it were charged with conducting illegal gambling, but it is unclear, whether it was simply illegal, because it was an unlicensed operation, or Bitcoin also had to do something with it.

However, I couldn’t unearth any precedent, where French authorities licensed a Bitcoin gambling site or authorised any of their licensees to accept Bitcoins from their players. There is also not one reported case, where they refused a possible licensee a licence, because it wanted to accept wagers in cryptocurrencies or expressly restricted a licensed operator from doing so. One thing is for certain, though: residents of France and its overseas territories and departments are not prosecuted for gambling online neither in Bitcoins, nor in any other currency.

 

 

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: 2015. 1. 28.

 

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Simon's Reunion Island Poker and Gambling Guide
Article Name
Simon's Reunion Island Poker and Gambling Guide
Description
An overview of the legal status of various forms of online and offline gambling on Reunion Island, a French overseas department.
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