Online Gambling Laws in France
For quite a few decades, France’s laws to do with gambling (both online and offline) were quite restrictive.
In 2010, it was decided by the EU that the country’s online gambling laws were too restrictive and needed to be relaxed.
The French government formally passed the Gambling Act and created:
- the Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL)
The purpose of ARJEL is:
- to review online casinos offering gambling services to people in France
- to provide casinos that meet the organisation’s criteria with a licence
- to continually regulate casinos that have received a licence
The passing of the Gambling Act was perhaps the biggest change in the history of the country’s gambling laws. It paved the way for lots of international gambling operators to start offering their services to people in France.
However, while the Gambling Act covers sports betting and poker games, it also introduced quite heavy taxes on both of these forms of betting. The taxes are considerably higher compared with other countries.
- For sports betting, there’s an 8.5% tax on all wagers placed
- For poker pots, the tax rate is 2%
These quite high taxes resulted in some operators leaving the French market altogether. Another point to make about the Gambling Act is that it doesn’t actually cover traditional online casino games such as slots, table games and live dealer games.
ARJEL won’t actually hand out licences to any sites offering casino games. The reason is that the French government sees slots and other casino games as being a lot more addictive than other forms of gambling, such as playing lotteries or betting on sporting events. Even though poker is technically a casino game, it’s still allowed by the Gambling Act because it’s seen as a game of skill, not as a game of luck. To stand a decent enough chance of winning at poker, you need to make careful decisions and use strategies successfully.
So where does that leave French residents who want to play online casino games? Thankfully, playing casino games is perfectly legal – you won’t be prosecuted or fined for playing slots, table games, live dealer games or any other online casino games. You can play all these games and more simply by signing up to an online casino that isn’t based in France. You should find plenty of international online casinos that offer gambling services to French residents.
Playing casino games is perfectly legal in France - You can play all games by signing up to an online casino that isn't based in France!
Since the French government only regulates sites that don’t offer casino games, it’s important you find an online casino that’s safe and reputable. Most international online casinos are trustworthy, though there may be the occasional one that’s not entirely reliable.
Online Casinos Available to French Players
So when it comes to finding online casinos in France, there are two main types:
- There are sites regulated by ARJEL that don’t offer casino games
- There are sites regulated by other regulatory authorities that do offer casino games
When it comes to finding somewhere to play casino games, the most important thing is that you sign up to a licensed casino. If a casino has a licence, this means it’s been checked over and given the go-ahead to offer its gambling services; in other words, it can be trusted. Some of the organisations that offer gambling licences include:
You should be able to find a casino’s licence at the bottom of the webpage. If you can’t find it anywhere, it’s best not to sign up and to find somewhere else to gamble at instead.
French residents should have quite a wide range of online casinos to choose from. Deciding on a casino to sign up to can be quite hard, especially since there’s so much choice available. To help you decide which licensed casino you should play at, there are several factors you should take into consideration. These include the following:
For many players, the bigger a casino’s games collection is, the better. After all, if you’re going to sign up to an online casino, you’ll want to have access to plenty of games. It helps if a casino updates its collection by adding new games regularly. More often than not, you’ll find that French casinos have games by lots of different providers. Some of the biggest, most successful ones include:
- Play’n Go
- Big Time Gaming
- Playtech, to name just a few
Any good casino should offer hundreds of slots, plenty of table games, a good number of live dealer games and a decent number of other games, from virtual sports and bingo, to video poker and simple games of chance.
Most French casinos accept all the most widely used payment methods. No matter what payment method you’re currently using, you shouldn’t have problems finding a casino where it’s accepted.
Credit and debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, bank transfers and even cryptocurrencies are among the payment methods most casinos will accept. Fees for deposits and/or withdrawals aren’t that common, thankfully. Deposits are nearly always instant, though when making a withdrawal the amount of time you’ll have to wait for your money to reach you can vary greatly. It depends on the casino itself and the payment method you’re using. Most casinos should get your withdrawals processed in a few working days or less.
Use an e-wallet and your money should reach you once your withdrawal’s been processed.
Promotions and Bonuses
Online casinos can be really competitive, which is why the bonuses up for grabs can be quite large indeed. Some casinos are more generous with their bonuses than others. Every casino will offer some sort of welcome bonus, rewarding you for your first deposit – or even your first few. Some casinos have a no deposit bonus you can claim once you’ve signed up and before you’ve actually deposited any money into your account. Promotions vary greatly, of course, though most casinos will have a few regular and limited-time offers to claim. Many will have a loyalty scheme that offers better rewards the more you play, and a VIP club with exclusive perks for the most loyal players.
It’s not enough for an online casino to be available on computers and laptops; casinos have to be available on mobiles as well. The majority of online casinos these days have a mobile casino that can be accessed on a broad range of smartphones and tablets. Mobile casinos are designed to resemble the main desktop site as much as possible.
Not every casino game can be played on handheld devices, though you should find most mobile casinos have more than enough games to keep you busy while you’re out and about. Some casinos even have their own app that you can download onto your device. Apps tend to have a higher performance quality than mobile casinos, though some of them do have a slightly smaller selection of games.
Languages and Currencies
You should find that the vast majority of French online casinos can be accessed in French and are available in several other languages as well. As for currencies, French casinos typically accept the euro and a number of other major world currencies.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to contact customer support while playing at a French online casino. Should something go wrong, it’s good to know there’s a team of customer support staff on hand to help you out. Ideally, a casino should offer several ways of getting in touch; these can include:
- A live chat feature
- An email address
- A phone line
- links to social media accounts
If customer support’s available 24/7, that’s great because you can get in touch no matter what time of the day or night it is.
The best way to find the right French casino for you is to do some research:
- Come up with a list of casinos that are licensed
- Whittle the list down by comparing what the casinos have to offer
- Read casino reviews to help you get a better idea of which casinos are worth signing up to
- Think about what you want from an online casino and cross off any casinos that don’t have what you’re looking for
French residents have access to a good range of online casinos, so finding one that suits your needs shouldn’t be too hard at all.
Stick with the Casino Gorilla and you’ll find the best French online casinos around. He only recommends the very best casinos. Sign up to a casino recommended by the Casino Gorilla and you’re sure to have a brilliant online gambling experience!
Gambling in France
Despite the taxes and restrictions, France does actually have quite a rich gambling history. In fact, two of the most widely played casino games, roulette and baccarat, can trace their roots to the country. Roulette was invented by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal at some point in the 17th century. Baccarat, on the other hand, is believed to have originated in the early 20th century; however, some claim the game was developed as far back as the late 15th century. France is also where the Queen was added to the standard deck of playing cards.
Gambling in general has long been a popular pastime in France. It’s a legal activity that anyone over the age of 18 can practise. Along with ARJEL, there are two other main regulatory authorities in France:
FDJ is responsible for regulating lotteries, while PMU is charged with overseeing sports betting. Both lotteries and sports betting are very popular indeed. The two activities saw their betting income soar following the introduction of the Gambling Act in 2010.
Gambling in general has been growing in popularity over the last decade or so. However, the fact remains that the French government doesn’t regulate sites offering online casino games. There’s every chance that at some point in the near future, the government will begin to offer French gambling licences to sites with casino games. Should the government do this, it will end up regulating all forms of online gambling in the country; this could well make it safer for those looking to play casino games online. On the other hand, the government is prepared to tax sports betting and poker, so there’s a chance casino game winnings may be taxed. This is all speculation, as no major changes to the Gambling Act have been formally announced.
For the time being, people living in France can enjoy all types of online gambling. Casino games aren’t regulated by the government, so French people will have to sign up to casinos based in other countries. This isn’t a problem as such, though you always have to make sure a casino’s licensed and can be trusted before signing up. Hopefully, the laws will become even more relaxed in the future. It would be great to see lower taxes (or none at all) and the French government regulating casino games.
So that’s just about everything there is to know about French online casinos. If you’re on the lookout for a new casino to sign up to, the Casino Gorilla knows all the best ones. He only ever recommends casinos he himself would sign up to. Plus, he knows what sets the really good casinos apart from the others. Take your pick from the Casino Gorilla’s recommendations and have fun!