Then, in the 17th century, a famous French mathematician, Blaise Pascal, invented the first Roulette (which means a “small wheel” in French). Another popular card game was invented here - Baccarat. A great paradox is that you can’t play any of these games in France now, as they are considered harmful and highly addictive. French Roulette is banned in France. We almost can’t stand the irony. However, that’s how things are done in France.
In the 18th century, the pari-mutuel betting was invented in France. From that time, gambling sphere started to pick up speed. In 1988, slot machines became legal and were presented at all land-based casinos. They’ve brought much funds to the French treasury, and continue to fill it up even nowadays. Up until 1989, gambling was allowed only from 21 years old, but from that year the gambling age was reduced to 18 years old. Now, you can play at any online or land-based casino if you are over 18.
Now, HolyMoly Casinos want to proceed with gambling laws in France. Gambling is regulated here, but the laws are not so strict as in other European countries. Well, they are not strict but pretty controversial, as some activities are banned here. There are, actually, only three allowed gambling activities in France (according to the legislative bill of 2009):
All the games of chance, including slots and video poker, are prohibited. As we told above, slot machines and casino games are still available and legal in brick and mortar operators. Anyway, it would have been better, if French casino sites offered such an opportunity as well. Now, you won’t find any French online casinos or international ones licensed by ARJEL offering its customers any slot games.
Online casinos in France are legal, and the sphere is regulated by three main bodies:
- ARJEL - a regulator of the whole gambling sphere, and the body issuing the licensing to the local and foreign online and land-based casinos;
- The Francaise des Jeux - a regulator of various lotteries and betting activity;
- Pari Mutuel Urbain - an exclusive regulator of horse racing.
The France Gambling Act (approved in 2010) is the main law, regulating the sphere. According to this law, you can play at foreign online casinos, and you won’t be punished for spending your time at any offshore online casino with the French license.
There are not so many casinos which managed to get the French license, but the major gambling websites, such as PokerStars and PartyPoker, were the lucky ones to get the access to the French market. Of course, these casinos don’t offer any slots. Only a casino without the French license can offer those games of chance. You can choose one of them and play there freely without any risk to be punished (as the punishment is not specified by the government for now). There are even more reasons to choose a casino without French regulation. The main one is a wider audience, as French casinos are for the French only.
The European Commission wasn’t glad with such French restrictions, and it led to the “revolution” in 2010. The pressure of the European Union made the government of France to create the Gambling Act 2010-476 on the 12th of May 2010. The Act includes the decision of creating the French Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL). The EU made France to allow the residents of the other countries of the European Union play at their casinos. It also ended up the Government monopoly.
Oh, this monopoly is one more interesting issue. There are used to be two main state-own gambling operators: PMU (focused on horse racing) and FDJ (focused on betting and lotteries). These two guys were the owners of around 500 land-based casinos, horse racing tracks, and “racinos” (a mix of the first two). The first online casinos were also opened by these major French operators. But after the revolution, in 2010, foreign casinos also became available to the French.
Logically, it’s not profitable for a casino to have the French license, because of their high taxes. For example, any poker room needs to pay an additional tax of 2%, and in general, the taxation is 7,5%, when the average is just up to 4-5%. The taxes for sports betting are even higher - 8,5% on every individual bet. It sounds not so serious, but the things become worse with a 33% corporation tax. In addition, every casino should have a “.fr” domain. For not complying with this rule, you will be fined with €10,000 every day. Just imagine, how much money you are going to spend just to offer your poker rooms and sportsbook to the French. All of this pushed 50% of operators to leave the French market.
Okay, let’s sum up all the written above. Most popular gambling activities in France are poker, horse betting, and Tour de France (major cycling event) betting. This country is a venue for many poker tours, such as World Poker Tour (WPT) and European Poker Tour (EPT). It’s also the country of the best poker players like Antoine Saout and two of three major online poker rooms. Yes, it’s great, but the taxation and restrictions of slots spoil the situation. You can still play at any foreign casino where France is not restricted.
Now you know everything about the boring side of the French gambling, and here are some interesting facts:
In 2018 France is going to pool players with Spain;
There is the Partouche group with 39 casinos in France worth visiting.
Let’s try to figure out the tips for you to choose best online casinos accepting players from France.
How to Choose a Decent Casino for the French
HolyMoly Casinos are not going to tell you the obvious things, like the reputable licensing, good reputation, nice design, and a good selection of games. It is obvious that a good casino should have all of that, plus 24/7 Support, and a decent mobile version.
Now, let’s talk about some specific stuff for online casinos that allow real-money players from France:
The website should be available in French;
Not a limited game library for the French;
International phone number available;
Be ready for limited banking options (Bank Transfer, HiPay, and PayPal).
It’s very hard to find a casino, where the French are not restricted, you won’t need to search for any, as we’ve chosen the best French casinos and make up a list.