France - On Top of The Gambling World

by Dave Brown
Gambling Industry - France

France is not only the land of romantic strolls on Champs Elysees, divine croissants for breakfast, cozy bistros by the Eiffel Tour and endless lavender fields. It is also known for its long and rich gambling industry. The country has hosted some of the oldest and most popular gambling venues on the planet and it has also largely contributed to the development of a number of casino games.

However, France is also a Christian-Catholic country where gambling has been completely forbidden for long periods of time in the past. The French Code of Homeland Security prohibits games of chance. Throughout the years, a few exemptions stared being granted. This has lead to the gradual legalization of different forms of gambling activities. Generally speaking, these activities must be offered by authorized operators or provided in certain venues.

Let's dig a little deeper into the topic and find out exactly what the French gambling scene has to offer at the moment.

French Contributions To The World Of Gambling

  • In the 1500s, the Queen took the place of the Nobleman in the deck, changing the way we play cards forever.

  • In the 17th century, French mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the roulette wheel.

  • Later on, the game of roulette was invented.

  • Parimutuel betting also originates in France.

Gambling Regulations In France

The original legal age for gambling was 21 up until 1987, when it was dropped to 18. One year later, slots machines were legalized after a long period of banning period.

Gambling activities are regulated by Francais des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain, two important bodies owned by the state.

The country legalized online gambling in 2010. During the first month after online gambling because legal, more than 1,2 million players opened their online gambler accounts on licensed websites. This total amount of money they wagered rose to €83 million. This was twice as much as the money that was wagered during the same period the previous year. All virtual gaming activities are supervised by ARJEL. The Regulatory Authority for Online Games publishes lists of approved online gambling operators overseas. The most popular operators on the planet are allowed to compete against state-owned venues. The same body also issues three different types of licensing for the three known types of online gambling activities that the laws consider legal. These are, as follows:

  1. online poker games such as Omaha Poker 4, Texas Hold'em Limit and others

  2. online sports betting, including fixed odds betting, live bets and pool betting

  3. online horse racing

Casino games and spread betting are not given licenses as they are considered to be too addictive. Poker is an exception as a game's outcome mainly depends on players' skills and not on luck as online slots. 

There are plenty of restrictions that are yet to be eliminated. However, one thing is certain: millions of French players continue to find gambling a favorite pastime and the market is showing obvious and steady signs of growth.

Land Gambling In France

France hosts world-renown brick-and-mortar casinos that allow players to enjoy their favorite games of blackjack, roulette, baccarat or slots. They became legal to play in land casinos in 1988. The Security Code issues authorizations and regulations for casino games played in thermal or seas resorts along with cities considered tourist resorts (with the exception of the capital city). Casino games are also legalized on cruise ships that are flying the country flag. and-based gambling activities are centrally supervised by the Ministry of Home Affairs at the national level. Depending on the game and its nature, different governmental and state representatives are allowed to interfere during the license issuing process. These interventions are usually carried out by the state perfect.

It is possible for some gaming clubs to offer passionate gamblers the chance to play card games as well as games of chance, provided they have received their authorization from the Minister of Home Affairs.

While greyhound races are not the most popular forms of sports betting in the country, there are authorized operators offering pooled betting according to the Decree 83-922 dating back to 1983.

The French seem to love horse betting the most, as it is considered a genuine national pastime. A lot of the tax money horse racing markets generate goes back into this beloved sport.

Contrary to what you might think, the Tour de France cycling event - the biggest in the world – isn't that appealing for gamblers who prefer betting on horse races. Handball is another sport that captivates the hearts and attention of punters since the national team is an Olympic and World Champion.

Just like in other Western countries, football is the king of sports in the land of fine wine and blue cheese. Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are the main betting options bettors here go to when wagering on domestic markets.


Monaco is not really part of France but located at the French Riviera it's a popular resort for French tourists. Monaco is home to one of the most luxurious casinos in the world - Monte Carlo. 

What The Future Holds

French gambling habits may soon change as the government is considering legalizing online games of chance that are currently outside the law in their virtual form. Since these games are recording considerable growth in other European countries, France will not want to be left behind. The financial advantages in relation to the French government's wallets will definitely weigh heavily in the decision-making process. Online lottery, horse racing, and sports betting activities in France have contributed to the expansion of the gambling economy throughout the continent. Accordingly, the country is expected to start embracing all forms of online gambling and stop causing distress to its passionate players and poking holes into the country's budget.

Other Articles in our series of "Gaming Industries Around the World":

Japan - A Casino Market Worth $15 Billion!

Nigeria - All You Need to Know About Gambling in Nigeria


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