Gambling in France is very popular and many traditional forms of betting activity actually have their origins in the country.
Online betting and gambling in France is legal and the countries residents are free to choose from a small pool of licensed providers. However because there is only a small pool of operators in the space we’ve only got one recommended option for French punters – the good news though is it’s a solid choice with a tasty sign up bonus.
Check out the best French betting sites below and also the key rules and regulations regarding gambling in the country.
Key Facts: Online Gambling In France
- Majority of gambling activities are entirely legal and fully regulated within the nation.
- All land based gambling legal in licenced establishment.
- Online betting & gambling legal with small pool of licenced operators.
- Illegal to use online sites without licence.
- Most non licenced sites blocked by internet service providers.
Best & Licensed Betting Site For France:
Gambling Legislation & Law Timeline
The above key points provide a good overview of the legal situation regarding gambling as it stands today in France. The following legislation timeline, meanwhile, helps to explain exactly how that situation came to be:
1836 – Gambling Largely Banned
In 1836 the French government passed an act which banned all forms of gambling apart from horse racing betting. In spite of this act, gambling continued to thrive in the country through illegal gambling dens.
1891 – Further Prohibitive Legislation
Whilst essentially already illegal under the 1836 act, the French parliament passed further legislation to specifically ban all forms of fixed-odds betting and non-horse racing pool betting in 1891. This was largely in order to protect the French invented and state run pari-mutuel horse racing betting industry within the nation.
1920s and 1930s – Various Forms of Gambling Legalised
Through the 1920s and 1930s, many different forms of gambling were legalised in France as long as they were undertaken through state owned providers. The two most notable such providers created were Française des Jeux (FDJ) for betting games and lotteries and Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) for horse race betting.
1980s and 1990s – Further Relaxation of Restrictions
The land-based gambling industry in France continued to be legalised and opened up through the 1980s and 1990s, to the point that gambling became essentially wholly legal. Notably, too, in 1987 the legal gambling age was lowered from 21 to 18.
2001 – First Online Gambling Legalised
It was in 2001 that online gambling was first legalised in France but once again this was with the proviso that it be provided by the state run FDJ and PMU organisations. Those companies flourished and a huge amount of their income was and is committed to charitable causes within France.
2010 – French Gambling Act
Following pressure from the EU, who opposed France’s state monopoly over gambling, French authorities passed the French Gambling Act (Law No 2010-476) in 2010. That act made online poker, sports betting and horse racing betting legal in France and set out the framework for licensing and taxation of the industry.
A regulatory body called ARJEL (the ‘Regulatory Authority for Online Games’) was also created by the act. Casino games, however, were not included under the umbrella of the act as they were deemed too addictive to legalise online.
Are Players Taxed On Winnings?
The above provides all the information you require regarding the legality of gambling in France. Taxation, however, also plays a part in shaping the industry and should be briefly discussed.
Gambling in general, and online poker and sports betting in particular, are quite heavily taxed in France. This makes it difficult for operators to turn a profit in the country and by extension can have an impact on the size of winnings and payouts available to punters. On top of this, punters are also liable for tax at a rate of 2% on poker pots and of 8.5% on all sports betting winnings.
Recommended Deposit Methods
With the exception of online casino games, online gambling is fully legal and regulated within France. Punters using fully licensed sites, therefore, can freely pick and choose their favoured deposit methods.
Even if punters use an overseas based unlicensed provider, in fact, they are individually not doing anything illegal in doing so and as such can still confidently select any method they prefer. Depositing via debit or credit card, then, is often the chosen method due to the speed, ease and security which this method offers.