France (ANJ) Licensed Casinos

All online Casinos with a French Gambling License

France and Gambling

French Licensed Casinos

The country has an age-old association with gambling. It is one of the first countries to legalize gambling. This was first done in 1987.

The gambling age was also lowered to 18 from 21. It was around 1988 when slot machines were made legal. Today there are two bodies that regulate the gambling industry in this country.

These are Française des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain. PMU mainly handles horse race betting activities FDJ, on the other hand, looks into lotteries and betting games.

Both operators are state-owned organizations. Online gambling was legalized in 2010.

ARJEL or regulatory authority which looks into online games supervises online gambling activities.

French Gambling Law

As per French gambling law, betting and gambling are aleatory contracts. That means the profit or loss of parties involved will depend on uncertain future events. Gambling on games such as those on chance is forbidden under French law. Prohibition is shown clearly in article L320-1. However, limitations also apply to games that rely on players’ skills.

This shows that a classic differentiation exists under French law. This is between wagering on games of skill versus chance. Former is forbidden. Even though games of skill are not prohibited explicitly, there are some restrictions. In general French authorities consider wagering addictive and compulsive. They also do not vary as per chance or degree of skill.

There are several exceptions that exist and specific regimes. This is apparent when one delves into the details of the gambling law in France. Also, these exceptions are applicable for cockfighting as well as for gambling operators.

Private Enterprises and State Control

The national gambling authority was created in France in 2019. This has taken over the powers of the formerly existing online gambling regulation authority or ARJEL. ANJ is competent in the case of sports betting and online gaming. The scope of intervention for ANJ extends to operators who have exclusive rights.

These are organisations such as Pari Mutuel Urbain or La Française des Jeux. They need to submit to ANJ their promotional strategy, gaming program as well as and action plan. This has to be done every year. Also, ANJ monitors aspects such as terrorist financing, money laundering, fraud, and underage gambling.

ANJ granted power recently to internet providers to block sites that provide illicit gambling. They can execute such orders after an administrative judge issues such orders.

There have come into effect changes in the law since March 2022. This replaces the current judicial process. It now allows administrative blocking of illicit sites. ANJ acts as an independent administrative authority. Modalities of their operation, as well as organization structure, are mentioned in the decree released in March 2020.

History of Gambling

France has a long history of gambling. It is one of the oldest industries here, gambling establishments date back as early as the 17th century. The country has contributed to developing many popular games in this category. For instance, Blaise Pascal was the first mathematician who invented the roulette wheel in the 17th century. This then led to the introduction of roulette and its different variants. Parimutuel betting also is of French origin. Queen is a permanent feature on a deck of cards that was also introduced in France.

Even though gambling has been in the country for a long time, there are strong restrictions in place. Players can gamble online as well as offline but regulations and laws are in place as well. For instance, though roulette was invented in France, it is not one that is legal for online betting in the country. Also, online slots are also not allowed for gambling online.

That is because lawmakers find it too addictive. The legislation came into being around 2010 in the form of the French Gambling Act. This opened the doors for state-backed operators. They could offer online gambling. However, the games mentioned were still forbidden. Also, exchanges such as Betfair and spread betting are forbidden.

As per the gambling act of France online poker, horse race betting and sports betting are legal. These games are considered skill and knowledge-based. These are opposed to games of chance such as roulette and slots.

Current Gambling Status in France

The gambling act was created by a regulatory body called ARJEL, also known as a regulatory authority for online games. They supervise all gambling activities in the country. They also take an active approach when it comes to limiting the activities of unauthorized overseas operators. Many such operators do allow French players to register and gamble on their websites.

ARJEL publishes annually a list of international operators who are licensed and approved by them. These include Poker Stars, PartyPoker and others such as state-owned operators.

Popular Betting Segments

The most popular betting segments are split into two categories and they are:

  1. Sports Betting
  2. Remote Gambling 

● Sports Betting

France has been home to land-based casinos from the early days. Though many restrictions exist, online casinos do exist. They also offer popular games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. Slot machines also became legal in the country around 1988. This was the time when the gambling age become 18 from the previous limit of 21.

Among all betting sports, horse racing is the most popular. It is an activity that is often considered a national pastime. Much tax money is generated from horse racing gambling activities. Much of this money is then reinvested into horse races as a development of the sport.

The other form of popular sport for betting is Tour de France. This is one of the biggest sporting events in this country. It inspires much gambling activity as well. Sites such as William Hill and Paddy Power can offer different odds and betting strategies for such sports events. Another less known sport is handball which also has a strong following. The French handball team is the current World and Olympic champion. Hence, the French league has many sports bookmaker sponsors.

The other popular sport for sports betting is football. It is one of the popular spectator sports in this country. Hence, when it comes to sports betting, French gamblers enjoy betting on football. There are two major tournaments, Ligue 1 and 2 which are bet upon in the domestic market. Since online gambling has become legal it is on the rise as well. For instance, when World Cup 2010 came around the online gambling market gave more than 80 million in revenue. This was double the amount when the market was not under ARJEL regulation.

● Remote Gambling

The biggest change in gaming law in this country came in 2010. There was pressure to end restrictive laws from the EU. As a result, the French government passed Gambling Act this year. The act led to the creation of a regulatory authority for online games or ARJEL. This organization then took on the responsibility to license as well as regulate online gambling activities in the country.

The act helps protect the interests of the players. It disbanded the government monopoly that existed before the law was passed. With the passing of the law the market was opened up to the competition. EU gaming sites could now offer their services in France. Initially, there were about 35 countries that applied for licenses. They became private entities that were licensed to provide different gambling activities to French players. These included horse race betting, sports betting, and online poker.

Before privatization came in, French politicians did not include games of chance in legal gambling. These included slot machines, roulette, and table games which were thought to be too addictive. Traditional games in casinos found no place in gambling sites of France. Several international brands set up shop in France. These include PartyPoker, PokerStars, and Everest Poker among others. Also, there are about a dozen sports betting organizations that also received licenses. As a result, competition came into the market. It was good for players but it also brought in taxes.

Additional tax requirements 

The Gambling Act in France lays additional taxes on sports and poker. For instance, poker pots have to shell out an additional 2% tax than other poker sites. Also, players need to pay around 7.5% as compared to the industry average of 4 to 5%. This is also indicative of the regulatory nature of gambling in this country. The overall approach is to protect French people from the addictive and damaging effects of gambling. In the same spirit, the country places an 8.5% tax on sports betting.

Three-Step Test for Legality of Games

A game is considered an offense when the following conditions are met. That is when one of the following three elements is not found:

  • There is the hope of gain.
  • Organizers make offers to the general public.
  • Players pay to play.

Since amendments to the French gambling laws in 2014 chance factor in games is not a condition to prohibit them in online gambling. These conditions came in after a court case decision was taken in 2014. It was for game terminals. The game was found illegal since it allows the winning of prizes. It also allows participants to pay and organizers act knowingly.

1. The First Condition – The Hope of Gain for Players

When one hopes to earn money, a prize, or any service of monetary value it characterizes hope of gain. When players win nothing and simply pay to play for fun then this condition is not fulfilled. Hence, such games are legal in France. By the same logic hardware machines such as slots that rely on chance prohibit indirect benefit and come under legal scrutiny.

2. The Second Condition – The Public Nature of the Offer

Games offered to the public outside of France are considered illegal. When games are played among family or close friends these are considered legal.

3. The Third Condition – The Financial Outlay on Part of the Player

When an organizer offers games for free to participants then these games are legal. When players need to buy credits to participate in games then these can be classified as illegal.

Casinos Operating in France

Many casinos accept players from France. Let’s take a quick look at them.

PartyPoker

This is a long-standing brand in the world of online poker. Main attractions here include poker tournaments, cash games, and different promotions. Players will find a large collection of different casino games here. These include over 600 titles in live dealer games, and table and casino games. Those who love poker can participate in several poker tournaments here.

There are also many bonuses that one can find. For instance, those new to the site can avail of a no deposit bonus of the amount of $25. Besides that, once a new player registers, there is a welcome offer as well. This includes a matched bonus of up to $1000. It includes tiered bonus amounts with consecutive deposits. Besides this, regular players can earn loyalty points every time they play. The bonus points also convert to cash after a certain amount accumulates.

Finally, the website has a clean, easy-to-use interface. Customers can also download an app on their mobile devices. iOS or Android users can enjoy cash games, tournaments, and eSports on the go, using the PartyPoker app. There are also about fifty different payment options. That provides large convenience to the players. They can choose to make payments or receive funds using wire transfers, credit cards, personal checks, or eWallets.

Everest Poker

This is another well-reputed site that is open for players of France to gamble. Highlights of the site include an extensive welcome package. There is also multi-lingual support. Players can improve their playing skills with the interactive school provided. Also, there is a twisted poker tournament series held here. Of course, the site offers only Omaha and Hold’em cash games. The lobby filter is also limited. There is no mobile app on the site. However, it is a site that is customer-focused. As a result, there are extensive rewards for loyalty. Also, many promotional offers are found here.

This international site holds operating licenses under gaming commissions of the UK and Gibraltar. The software provider here is Playtech. There is an eight-tier VIP program for regular members. All those who sign up become part of this loyalty program. Summit points are allocated to them as they wager real money on games. Also, there is a generous sign-up bonus for the new members. They can get as much as $700 when they sign up at the site.

The website is part of the iPoker network. There are cash games that run here 24 hours every day of every week. New players or beginners can wager as low as 1 cent or two on game rounds. Of course, there are high roller no-limit Hold’em games as well. There are several cash tables for Omaha which have pot limits and are short-handed. Other novel games here include Speed Poker. This game has a fast-fold format. This allows players to change opponents and tables after every fold. Another novel game here is Twister Poker. This is another tournament format that is of sit-and-go setup.

This site is a haven for poker players. It also includes responsive customer support.

PokerStars

This is yet another site that is long-standing. This site is licensed under the Isle of Man gambling commission. As the name indicates, the focus here is on poker games. You will find several poker variants here such as Texas Hold’em, Razz, Stud, Omaha, Triple Draw, 5 card draw, and others. The website runs on iOS and Android as well as on Mac and Windows.

The site has been around since 2001. The welcome bonus is a generous one here. New players can earn as much as $600 when they make a deposit here. Also, they can avail themselves of free spins and free cash rewards. Deposit methods are several here. These include several eWallets, bank drafts, and credit and debit card options. The same methods can be used for withdrawing one’s wins.

Highlights of the game include it being a large poker site with an international presence. Also, there are different poker game variants with different limits. Every tournament here sees large-scale participation. There are guaranteed tournaments every weekend with millions as cash prizes. Players from this site also participate in WSOP. The mobile app is a reliable one as well.

Though currently, the site has come under scrutiny for unfavorable customer experiences, this website sees maximum traffic, especially for players.

Bovada

This site is an international one and is preferred by many. The site currently is one of the high-ranking sites in reliability and popularity. There is a deposit match-up bonus here which includes $1000 bonus money on the first deposit. The bonus scheme continues for the second and third deposits as well. There is also a separate welcome offer for Bitcoin users. They can avail of a welcome bonus maximum of up to 125% and a value of $1250. There is a separate crypto sport betting bonus as well. Also, poker players can enjoy up to $500 as a welcome bonus on poker games alone.

Stand out features of this casino are several. There are over 200 games in this casino. This includes an extensive live casino section as well. Also, players can enjoy sports betting here. The site is good for cryptocurrency users. Also, players can enjoy fast withdrawals.

BetUS

This site is great for gamblers who love to bet on sports. Since France allows sports betting, this site is a favorite among many players in France. They can bet on their favorite national games here as well. This sports betting site covers several major leagues such as the NFL, NBA, and many others. Whether it is eSports, China CSL, soccer, or anything else, it is covered by this site. The website also has a user-friendly interface. There are over 200 titles in slot games here. Hence, besides sportsbook players can indulge in blackjack, bingo, keno, video poker, and others.

BetOnline Sports

This is yet another site that is popular among sports bettors in France. Players can enjoy great mobile compatibility. They also get good customer support, banking methods, and bonuses. This site has been around since 2001. It has a large collection of casino games; however, the focus is on sports and poker. Bonuses here include a 100% match-up bonus of up to $3000.

Las Atlantis

This is yet another safe and legal casino for players from France. Players can sign up here with MasterCard, or Visa as well as cryptocurrency. The methods are safe and secure and come with attractive bonus offers. There are as many as six different welcome offers. Promotions are specific to slots and sports betting. The site also offers good mobile compatibility.

Conclusion

As apparent from the details above, France has several unique aspects in its gambling regulations. Hence, licensed casino sites in France are limited. However, many international sites can offer legal gambling to residents of this country. Those who play under France gambling norms can expect a haven for their gambling experience.

France Gambling Law and Regulation FAQ

The France gambling laws offer limited licenses for poker, and sports betting online. Otherwise, there are international sites where French people can register and gamble.

You will need to have a company incorporated in the country to apply for such a license.

As well as the license fee, the Gambling Commission in France charges annual taxes. These taxes are used to help fund the regulatory body and its activities.