France has played a significant role in the gambling industry, helping to invent or make improvements to several card and/or table games that have become staples of the casino experience. The French added the queen to the deck of cards and created roulette, pari-mutuel betting, and “vingt et un,” which translates to “twenty-one.”
Gaming is a tightly regulated hobby in the EU member state. While sports betting, horse racing, and poker are all widely available at land-based locations as well as online, casinos and slot machines face stricter regulations. For example, casinos are limited to specific tourist cities (not Paris) and resort areas, with many of them floating on the sea.
|El Royale review|| 250% up to $12,500||Visit Site El Royale|
|Super Slots review|| 300% up to $6,000||Visit Site Super Slots|
|Wild Casino review|| 250% up to $5,000||Visit Site Wild Casino|
|Bovada review|| 50% bonus up to $250||Visit Site Bovada|
|MyBookie review|| 50% up to $1,000||Visit Site MyBookie|
As a member of the European Union, France has been forced to adopt some more relaxed gaming restrictions and allow their citizens to access licensed online operators from other EU allies. While some forms of betting are still easier to come by than others, you can find pretty much any kind of wagering you need.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best gambling sites in France, teach you about our review process, and give you all the information you need about the legalities of betting in “L’Hexagone.”
Why Are These Sites Recommended?
Now, you’re probably wondering what it is about our list of recommended French gambling sites that would make us call them “the best.” First, the websites provided must be compatible with whatever specific conditions the reader is looking for. For example, in this case, the sites must all be accessible from France.
After the specific factors like sport, wager type, or location are covered, our team of expert reviewers ensures every betting site shared on LegitGamblingSites.com meets our exceptionally high standards. Any gaming operator found here can be sure to possess the following qualities (among many others).
Legitimacy and Reliability
Numerous Game and Wager Options
Easy Deposits and Fast Payouts
Mobile Device Compatibility
Bonuses and Loyalty Rewards Programs
Is Gambling Legal in France?
Some forms of gambling are legal in France, explicitly betting activities that require skill or strategy. According to ARJEL, the country’s regulatory authority over all online gaming activities, sports gambling, horserace betting, and poker are legal. However, they are strictly controlled – much more than many other EU member states.
In order to serve the French population, the site operators must first be licensed with ARJEL. Online bookmakers must also have entered into formal agreements with the sports leagues governing any game or event that the sportsbook wishes to post odds on. Additionally, website headquarters must be located within an EU state.
Before 2009, the industry was even more restrictive. Initially, France only allowed specific French gambling site operators to serve the country. All of the horserace wagers had to be done through Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), while sports wagers were monopolized by the Français de Jeux.
A complaint was filed to the European Commission in 2006. EU member states are allowed to ban gambling for reasons of public interest such as addiction prevention or to fight organized crime but cannot allow domestic operators to enjoy exclusive rights to a market while blocking cross-border competition entirely.
At first, France ignored the Commission’s requests but eventually amended their laws in 2009. However, there are some site owners who feel that the country is still in violation for blocking other online gambling activities – casinos, for instance. While sports betting has opened up, there are still frustrations over continuing to allow Pari Mutual Urbain to control the horserace industry.
At this time, the European Commission has closed all investigations into French gambling laws, satisfied with their licensing program which includes foreign website operators.
How Does France Regulate Gambling?
There are two regulatory authorities which oversee the entire gambling landscape in France. The Ministry of Home Affairs handles all issues of legalization and licensing for land-based gaming establishments. Online betting is the jurisdiction of Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL).
If a corporation wishes to provide services to the French people, they must first acquire the proper license from the proper government agency. They are available for providers hoping to offer poker, sports gambling, or horse track betting, with each activity requiring a specific license. Many sites choose to apply for all three.
After submitting an application, ARJEL begins their review process. They research numerous legal, financial, and technical factors, including agreements with major sports associations and the software the betting website will use. The entire licensing process may not take longer than four months, by law.
France also has strict rules in place for gambling-based advertisements. Any online ads are legally obligated to include a warning and a link to a government website dedicated to fighting addiction. They also must avoid sites which cater to minors and cannot buy television or radio ad time 30 minutes before or after programming for children.
France’s History with Gambling
For example, if a country wants to ban all gaming as a public health measure, that’s acceptable; however, if they legalize gambling activities for certain local providers, they must also give foreign corporations from other EU states access to the same licensing procedures and offerings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which online gambling activities are legal in France?
There are currently three forms of gaming that are licensed and regulated in France. They are all considered skill-based games: poker, sports gambling, and horserace betting.
Which versions of poker are legal to play online in France?
France has strict regulations concerning poker, only legalizing specific versions of the game. These are the approved varieties to be played online, either in cash games or tournaments:
- Texas Hold’em limit
- Texas Hold’em pot limit
- Texas Hold’em no limit
- Omaha 4 high pot limit
- Omaha 4 High/Low limit
- Omaha 4 High/Low pot limit
- Omaha Poker 5 High pot limit
- Seven Card Stud Poker High limit
- Seven Card Stud Poker High/Low limit
- Seven Card Stud Poker Razz (or Low) limit
- Triple draw deuce to seven (2-7) Lowball (or Low) limit
What are the risks involved with using a gambling website outside of France’s borders?
The only French gambling sites accessible while being hosted in other EU member countries have completed the local licensing process. Unlicensed offshore websites will most likely be blocked to French residents.
Does France tax winnings from online gambling?
Sports betting – France taxes sports wagers at 5.7%. Another 1.8% is taken for social security contributions, and a final 1.8% tax is used to fund the National Centre for Sports.
Online horse betting – Online wagers on horse betting are taxed at 5.3%, with an additional 1.8% going to social security. The companies organizing and hosting the races also receive 6.3% of the wagers in taxes.
Online Poker – Online poker wagers are taxed at 1.8%, with an additional 0.2% for social security.
Who licenses the regulated and legal online betting sites in France?
The regulatory body which governs online gaming and licensing in France is the Autorite de Regulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL), or “the Regulatory Authority for Online Games.”
Can I access one EU country’s legal online gambling site from another?
Yes, as long as they’re offering gambling services for horseracing, sports betting, or select versions of poker. These are the only three forms of betting played online legally and granted licenses by ARJEL. Before a website can open operations in France, they must first obtain all the necessary permits from the regulatory authority.