France is a country with a very amusing history- the Napoleonic struggles which made the France republic are studied by scholars all over the world. The country has also had a long history of gambling, equally important to the local citizens.
All gambling activities are currently legal in France. The most popular gambling activities among the residents include card games, slots, horse betting, and sports betting.
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The History of Gambling in France
The history of gambling in France has contributed quite a lot to the setting of gambling norms currently relied upon by the rest of the world. It dates back to the mid-1600s when the French added the Queen to the selection of cards that complete a full deck. France has also been a pacesetter in other casino gaming avenues such as pari-mutuel betting and the much-cherished roulette.
All along the years, gambling has always been recognized as a legal activity in France. Still, regulation bodies have been set up by the ministry of justice to control the growth of the industry, as well as ensure the security of the participants. These bodies have come up with several bills shaping the current state of the gambling environment in France.
A parliament bill passed in 1987 saw the country lower the legal gambling age from 21 to 18 years. The following year, France joined the group of the friendliest gambling territories after legalizing slots gambling. Later in 2009, the official legalization of sports and poker betting was proposed by the EU. The latter bill also required the French government to put an end to all online gaming restrictions.
According to the law, land casinos have been authorized to offer casino games & card games alongside sports and race betting. Their online counterparts, on the other hand, can offer the same with the exception of casino games. But no matter the extent of the existing regulations, the most important thing to the state’s law implementers is the high taxation they impose on casino operators. If the casino can pay the necessary taxes, then it will not encounter any compliance issues while operating in the region.
Unlike other online gambling territories, the high taxes imposed on local fully-licensed casino operators are the largest setback to the advancement of the gambling market in France. Almost half of the online casinos which acquired operating licenses over the last decade have already exited the market.
The high taxes imposed on these casino operators also affect casino players to a large extent. This is why the largest percentage of punters in the region intends to stick to foreign online casinos.
The Laws Governing the Gambling Market in France
Regulation-wise, there are no laws classifying any form of gambling as illegal. This means that French players are free to choose between locally licensed online & land casinos and foreign online casinos.
There are currently three regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing the French Gambling market. These are ARJEL, Francaise des Jeux, and Pari Mutuel Urbain. The Francaise des Jeux oversees online gambling regulation and the latter is mandated to control the horse betting industry. Although there are no licenses for spread games, exchange bets, and casino games, ARJEL issues operating licenses to casinos that want to venture the territory.
All gambling operators are required to obtain licenses from ARJEL failure to which a casino’s operations will be shut down and huge fines levied. This is also a requirement for sports betting and horse racing online betting houses. To obtain the licenses which require renewal after 5 years, each casino must provide identification documents, asset details, and clear-cut information about the betting services they intend to offer.
French Online Casino gambling in a nutshell
As already mentioned, online casino gambling is a legal activity in France. The country officially recognized online casinos for the first time in 2005. Since then, a string of legislation has followed to try and regulate the industry.
According to February 2019 gambling statistics, France’s online casino ops were among the record setters for the past period. They grew by 25% and the revenues are expected to increase by an even larger margin for the current period.
The leniency of the government towards online gambling has attracted lots of criticisms. Recently, the EU commission announced that the country was incompliant to the gambling laws set by the EU to protect online casino players. This is the reason why the country is currently working on ways to regulate the online casino environment besides taxation. The most recent limitation being considered very harsh and unreasonable is to ban classic casino games from the online casino game offering.
At first, only locally hosted online casino domains were legally allowed to operate in France. However, to date, both locally hosted and foreign online casinos can obtain licensure to operate in the region.
The 2009 Gambling Act passed by the French government in 2010 is considered a very important step in the development of the French online casino industry. It saw the establishment of ARJEL, the end of a government-controlled land-based monopoly that had dominated the whole gambling industry, and most importantly, the opening up of the French market to foreign casino operators.
Even with the absolute legality surrounding the French online casino market, finding reputable and safe casinos for wagering real money is quite hard for French punters. To save you that trouble of having to look for the safest French online casinos, our experts have done all the searching for you. We have included a list of licensed, safe casinos sure to give you that premium online casino entertainment you are looking for!