Only certain forms of gambling in France are legal and regulated by the government and the main gambling activities in the country include certain land-based casino gambling activities (table & card games and slots), sports betting and lotteries. You can also find land-based poker venues that run live poker events, and there are plenty of online poker rooms.
Today you can find online casinos that are fully licensed in France, but they don’t have certain popular games such as online slots, online baccarat or online roulette, which is ironic considering many of these games were invented in France. Today, French players can, however, visit foreign gambling sites to play on these games, but it’s becoming increasingly harder for them to sign up to these sites.
Gambling History in France
France has a long history of gambling and is reported to have added the Queen to the deck of cards in the 16th century (replacing the Nobleman). It’s well known that Roulette was developed in France back in the 1700s and pari-mutuel betting is also said to have originated in France in the 1800s. In more recent times, in 1988, was the year in which land-based slot machines were made legal and France became one of the most gambling-friendly countries in Europe. Also in this same year, the legal gambling age was lowered from 21 to 18.
Players quickly turned to online casino gambling in the mid-’90s with the emergence of numerous foreign-based gambling sites, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the online casino industry was properly regulated. Before 2010 only national companies were permitted to operate gambling sites online and the two prominent market leaders were Francaise des Jeux and the PMU.
In 2010 the new Gambling Act came into effect, and it was at this point when certain games such as slots, baccarat and roulette became prohibited. The new legislation also allowed for both the regulation and taxation of foreign-based online casinos, online poker, bingo and sports betting sites. However, approximately half of the online gambling operators that ended up acquiring a gambling licence half a decade ago have already left the market, and the main reason for this is due to the extremely high taxes that are imposed by authorities.
France Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
France as a whole is still recognized as being a gambling-friendly nation with its fairly liberal outlook towards gambling activities in general. When the 2010 Gambling Act was introduced, a regulatory body known as ARJEL (the ‘Regulatory Authority for Online Games’), was also formed and this was designed to specifically oversee legal online gambling activities in the country. One of the roles of the authority was to crackdown on foreign-controlled gambling sites that aimed their business towards French citizens but were unlicensed in France.
High taxes are one of the main setbacks that potential operators consider before applying for a license in France, and this factor alone has driven away numerous operators who no longer wish to continue offering their services to the French market. There are also high taxes on winnings from online poker and sports betting which has pushed players away from gambling at their very own home-grown gambling sites and into the arms of foreign-controlled websites where players don’t have to pay any taxes. Despite the high taxes and lack of certain popular games, the online gambling market in France is still flourishing and continues to show steady growth. At the time of writing, there are NO laws that prevent players from gambling at foreign gambling sites
Online Casino Benefits to Players from France
Players in France can now access hundreds of the world’s top-rated online casinos, and some of the very best ones with the best selection of games are NOT licensed in France, and they are both owned & operated by foreign operators. French players can sign up to world-class online casinos that tend to be licensed in Gibraltar, Malta, Kahnawake and Curaçao (or in one of several other major licensing jurisdictions around the world) and these websites are packed with hundreds of cutting edge games. Many of the games are supplied by one or more of the most advanced online casino software providers in the world, some of which include Playtech, Microgaming, NetEnt, Gamesys, NextGen and Betsoft.
Some of today’s best French online casinos out there today also now have an impressive range of live dealer casino games such as live baccarat, live casino hold’em, live blackjack and live roulette from Evolution Gaming. Some of the other main benefits include access to localized player support (quite often toll-free via telephone and available in French), plus live chat and email support also generally available. You can view the websites in French as opposed to English, and you can visit these casinos using either a desktop or laptop, smartphone or tablet device. Other notable benefits for French players include the fact that Euros are now accepted at almost every online casino in the world, there are plenty of reliable French online payment options accepted, and there are loads of generous bonuses up for grabs.
FAQ Useful to Players from France
Are foreign-owned online casinos that aren’t licensed in France safe to play at?
Yes. Today’s best online casinos that welcome French players are generally licensed either in Gibraltar, Malta, Kahnawake and Curaçao (or in one of several other major licensing jurisdictions around the world) and the vast majority are perfectly secure.
Am I breaking the law by playing at foreign controlled online casinos that aren’t licensed in France?
No. You are NOT breaking the law by playing at one of these casinos.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings when gambling online in France?
Yes and No. You have to pay taxes on your winnings from poker and sports betting winnings at French-licensed gambling sites, but you DON’T have to pay taxes on your winnings at foreign gambling sites that are licensed and operate from outside of France.
What kind of online payment options can French players use when gambling online?
Several popular French online payments can be used to deposit and withdraw at today’s online casinos, and some of the main payment methods include debit & credit cards and certain e-wallets. Don’t forget that you can also play in your own local currency of Euros.
Do I have to download any software to play on the games and can I play on mobile?
French and foreign licensed gambling sites today are generally entirely non-downloadable, and the games can be enjoyed either on desktop or on mobile.
Online Gambling Highlights in France
- Some of the world’s best online casinos and other similar gambling sites currently welcome French players
- Foreign licensed online casinos also have games that are restricted in France, such as online roulette, online baccarat and online slots
- Almost every online casino that accepts real cash wagers from French players also accepts Euro, and they welcome several major French online payment options
- You can now find hundreds of games and some French online casinos today also have live dealer games
- Play instantly in your web browser (or occasionally from within a secure download client) and enjoy playing either on desktop or mobile
- Attractive bonuses for both new and existing members, great loyalty rewards & VIP programs and plenty of frequent promotional offers
- French is supported, and the professionally trained player support is generally available 24-hours per day (via live chat, email and, occasionally, toll-free telephone)
- Play at hundreds of top-rated gambling sites that are safe to sign up to (protected by 256-bit SSL encryption technology) and enjoy playing at sites that are controlled by some of the most reputable operators from the online gambling industry
Problem Gambling Help in France
Gamblers Anonymous France is one of the most notable organizations that tackle problem gambling in the country and one of the other similar websites that you can visit today to seek free advice, guidance and support is Adictel. These non-profit organizations have trained counsellors, and they provide toll-free telephone and email support.
You can also find forums, live support groups, questionnaires, problem gambling articles & stories and other useful tools that are designed to help combat problem gambling in France. The majority of foreign gambling sites that currently welcome French players also provide plenty of useful links to several other similar internationally acclaimed problem gambling support groups such as Gamble Aware and GamCare.