Gambling Guide to France

GambleScope Research Team

France has a rich history associated with gambling, not just because of the insane number of casinos here, but due to the contribution of France to the gambling industry. France has the most land-based casinos in Europe. The nation's capital, Paris, has the most popular ones to its credit, as well as the most significant number of any city in France.

Did you know that Blackjack and Roulette were invented in France? French Mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the Roulette’s Wheel. Not just Roulette, chemin de fer, Parimutuel, and baccarat have French origins. Even the 52-cards deck is said to have originated here. It is no wonder gambling is popular in France.

The Legal Status of Gambling in France

Every gambling business operating in France needs a gambling license. Though there aren’t any strict regulations in general, most of that which exists here are aimed at keeping gamblers in line and gambling responsibly. However, the taxes are high, and many businesses struggle to profit for this reason.

Current Gambling Laws in Force

Gambling is legal and well regulated in France. However, the laws are relatively lenient compared to other countries. In 1987, a law was passed to reduce the legal age of gambling from 21 to 18. The following year, slot machines were legalised, though they were initially banned. Online gaming is legal and regulated. There are a few regulatory bodies for the gambling industry in this country, with duties split between different gambling operations. PMU and FDJ are the main regulatory bodies, and ARJEL is another.

Who Regulates the Country’s Gaming Industry?

Traditionally, betting regulation is done by PMH (Pari Mutuel Hippodrome) and PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbaine). National lottery and lottery styled-games like bingo are regulated by FDJ (Francaise des Jeux). Online gambling was legalised in 2010 and is regulated by Autorité de régulation des Jeux en ligne (ARJEL). PMU is also responsible for controlling horse racing.

What is the Tax Situation on Winnings from Gambling?

Any winnings through gambling are taxable in France. Winnings that are above €1,500 will be taxed at 12%. Lottery winnings are paid out as a lump-sum amount after deducting tax, and there’s 19.6% VAT. Heavy taxation is a problem many, not just operators, have in France.

Attitudes to Gambling

Gambling is a popular activity in France. It is a significant contributor to the country’s income. There’s a fair share of enthusiasm for this particular leisure activity. Already a billion dollar industry in France, there are plans set in motion for expansion. This is a motivating factor for both tourists and citizens alike.

Attitudes of authorities

Authorities don’t have a problem with gambling, as long as the regulations are met and the gamblers engage gambling responsibly.

Views of Society in general

Gambling is and will always be popular in France. However, it isn’t popular as it is in other countries. It is important to note that only 45% of France people gamble and about 1.3% are considered addicted. This is low compared to other popular destinations like Australia or even Macau.  It is probably because betting on sports and lotteries are even more popular than casinos. There’s a growth in gambling over the last year. To attract younger people to partake, the gambling age was lowered in France recently.

How Safe is Gambling in France?

Offline

France is known for its rich culture, tradition, scenic landscapes, castles, museums, mouth-watering cuisine and casinos. Tourism is rampant here, with a few million visiting France annually. Tourists swarm here every year to enjoy the cuisine, high-end shopping malls and outlets, outdoor activities and adventures. However, it also attracts scammers and thieves who prey on these tourists.  However, France is ranked at 58th place out of 162 on a list of safe countries to visit. With the right information and some caution, it should be more than possible to stay out of trouble here.

Online

Online casinos aren’t approved as they’re considered addictive. Consequently, they are banned here, and licenses aren’t issued to online operators. While the Internet providers often block foreign sites, online gambling in offshore sites isn’t frowned upon. Some offshore sites accept players from France and players using offshore sites aren’t prosecuted.

Options and Venues Worth Exploring

Landbased Venues

There are about 200 casinos in France. The casinos that offer exclusive rooms are probably the best in Europe. Paris is home to the majority of casinos in France and most are open throughout the day. Though there are many options for casino entertainment in this part of the world, here are top picks.

CASINO LE LYON VERT: Casino Le Lyon Vert is known for its luxury, and it is the third largest in France. This casino was founded in 1882 and has a fascinating history to go with it. It has almost succumbed to bankruptcy more than once and had the name changes several times. However, the architecture here is magnificent, and the rich experience is worth a visit. It has the most extensive selection of games to chose from with 224 slot machines, 176 video poker machines, and plenty of table options. They’ve not spared any expense, and it is not surprising that the food here is unparalleled.

CASINO BARRIÈRE ENGHIEN-LES-BAINS: Enghien-Les-Bains is sparsely populated located at the helm of Montmorency valley, which is only about 11 kilometres from the capital of France. The lush green surroundings and the lake around this casino make the setting unique and scenic. Many events happen here all year round, and the architecture in this casino is nothing short of splendid. It is open all days of the year, and all the popular games are offered here. This casino attracts people all year round, and this casino has its fair share of regulars and high rollers.

CASINO DEAUVILLE: Though Deauville is a reasonably small town, this Casino is located in a globally famous resort. It is known for its elegance, opulence and interiors. This casino houses 3 bars and restaurants, a discotheque, meeting rooms and a theatre. With a range of games to choose from including Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Video Poker, Poker, Blackjack and, there are slot machines too. The best part though – the wages start at just one cent! Though tourists flock here over weekends, weekdays it is mostly local crowd. 

CASINO BARRIÈRE LE RUHL DE NICE: Nice is a famous city on its own, but this casino makes it an even better location to visit! The city has scenic places to visit, and for gambling lovers, this casino is probably one of the most important highlights of this city. It is ranked among the top few casinos in France and is also among the largest. The cuisine in the hotels here is just another highlight, and that makes it difficult to get seats here unless reserved in advance.

Online Sites

There are 40 online casinos in French and most are based out of France due to legal issues to get licenses. Unibet, Bwin, William Hill, BonanzaGame, RedKings, Osiris Casino, Intertops, BetMotion, Buran Casino and Parimatch are few famous online casinos you can try.

Overall Rating for France as a Gambling Nation

On a scale of 0-5, we would rate France at 3.5. While France boasts some very popular and distinguished casinos, the tax situation is a bit of a drawback. Although not covered in this guide, sports betting, the national lottery and other forms of gambling are also available in France, making it an excellent destination overall for any gambler looking for something new.