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France - online gambling regulations

Country Specifics

The country of France is known for its romance, French baguettes, and the major role it has played in the creation of the most popular gambling games known today. With online gambling being the latest phenomenon taking the world by storm, it is only fair to assume that the French would be the first to dip their hands in the butter.

Unfortunately, this could not be any less accurate. It seems that while certain forms of online gambling were legalized nearly a decade ago, the most popular forms of online gambling, including roulette and slot games, are banned from the country.

Online Gambling Regulations in France

This is quite odd, seeing as how gambling has been present throughout the years. It is especially odd, seeing as how the French were responsible for the creation of various popular games, including the roulette wheel. This was invented by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. Chemin de Fer, the original baccarat version, also originates from the country of love. Then, of course, there is Parimutuel betting that also comes with its French origins.

All in all, it is expected that the country that has done so much for the gambling industry would be one of the top players in the market. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how the French laws and regulations have developed over the years. We’ll also dive into the legalities to find out what options are available for French players looking to take part in online gambling entertainment.

History and laws on gambling in France

It’s interesting to note that while roulette was created in France in the 17th Century, it is illegal to play online in the country today. But let’s start at the beginning. The first form of gambling was legalised in May 1539 by Francis I. This was the lottery known as Blanque at the time, from which a large fixed annual fee was paid to the Treasury. Over the years many of the French monarchy leaders decided to ban gambling. One could say it was a hot and cold topic with many leaders having different views. The same was for "on and off again" laws.

Over the years many lotteries were created without government authorization, which caused major distress and resulted in the Parlement de Paris banning them from 1598 to 1661. It was in the 17th Century that the government was forced to establish a public lottery to relieve the financial problems within the country.

The laws continued to change, and all forms of gambling were put through a rollercoaster of legislation. Luckily the EU intervened in France, as they did in Spain and several other European countries, and forced the government to end their restrictive gaming laws. Eventually, the government eased up a little and even legalised online gambling in France in 2010. Of course, it was only legalised to a degree. Only companies offering sports betting, Poker and horse betting were provided licences to offer their online games to French citizens.

With the Gambling Act established in 2010, the Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL) was created. This regulatory body is in charge of granting licences and regulating all forms of online gambling in France.

The Gambling Act was a big part of history in the making, as it ended the government monopoly and allowed foreign operators to finally enter the French market. There were over 35 companies applying for licences after the Act was implemented.

The downside is that to this day only online poker, horse race betting, and sports betting are legal. According to French authorities, all other forms of gambling are considered too addictive. These games include roulette, slot games, and all other table games. All French licensed gambling sites provide only legally acceptable forms of gambling entertainment.

Are gambling winnings taxed in France?

There are always a few things you need to know before you consider taking part in online gambling. Apart from the basic laws and regulations surrounding the activity, it is also important to know what the taxes are on the activity. Some countries require no taxes, whereas others such as Spain implement heavy taxes. In France, players are required by law to declare all gambling winnings. Players are also required to pay tax on these winnings. Any casino winnings that are more than €1,500 are taxed with 12% and must be declared as income. For lottery players, winnings are tax-free.

Online casino operators suffer the most when it comes to taxes. Interestingly enough, ARJEL reported earlier in 2018 that it would have to consider easing up on taxes. The country’s online gambling market is booming and interest is growing. The tax situation is, however, putting a damper on the situation. Online casino operators might soon see relief in the taxes applied to online gambling gross revenue. Individual players, especially ones taking part in sports betting and Poker, might also feel a little relief with lower taxes since the number of gamblers taking part in these specific activities has grown rapidly over the years.

Is online gambling legal in France?

The legal situation regarding online responsible gambling in France might be confusing for players. While all forms of gambling are legal and regulated in France, only a number of online gambling forms are allowed.

Online slots and table games including roulette and blackjack have become the top preferred forms of online gambling. Unfortunately, French citizens are not legally allowed to play these games and won’t find any of these gaming variants in licensed French online casinos.

There is luckily some light at the end of the tunnel, as players who decide to take part in these forms of online gambling on illegal foreign sites won’t get prosecuted. There are various sites that have been blocked and very few online casinos are open to French citizens.

If you are looking for top-quality online casino entertainment at a licensed foreign site, it is best to choose a site that has been vetted and reviewed. Take a look at our top-rated online casinos that have made their wide variety of games available to French players.

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