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Exploring the French and their intriguing gambling history

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The French and their interesting history with gambling: How their interests have changed over the decades.


In every country or region, gambling has a history that dates back a couple of years or centuries. The French fall among those with a rather long and interesting history with gambling.

We take a look at the history of the French and how gambling has changed throughout the years.

A long road of gambling

While some regions have frowned upon gambling for decades, the French quickly authorised gambling in the 1500s. Francis I was the first to allow gambling in May 1539.

During this time, he allowed a lottery known as Blanque that, in return, paid a heady annual fee to the Treasure. Another interesting thing is that the French were the first to add the Queen to the deck of cards in the 1500s. This led to the creation of many popular casino games we know and love today, such as Blackjack (also known as ‘vingt-et-un’ or 21), which may have originated in French casinos around 1700 A.D.

Many believe it only reached the United States by the 1800s. Some think Blackjack originates from the French card game called ‘Chemin de Fer’, which translates to ‘Railroad’.

Another fun fact about the French gaming history and the 17th century is that the French mathematician Blaise Pascal was responsible for the invention of the roulette wheel. This later led to the introduction of the game of Roulette. Roulette is one of the most popular games of chance in land-based and online casinos today.

Moving forward in France

Aside from the lottery, however, other forms of gambling were strictly prohibited. Despite regulatory restrictions, it was found that Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat continued to flourish until they eventually became legal in 1988.

In 1988 online slot games finally became legal after being banned in the state. Today online slots are one of the most popular games in land-based and online gaming venues. The legal gambling age in France used to be 21, but in 1997 it was lowered to 18.

An interesting thing to note is that despite Roulette stemming from France, it was one of the many games outlawed from the region for many years. This was along with slots and other popular casino games of chance.

The French Gambling Act came into force in 2010, and various gaming activities became legal in the region. This includes Poker, sports betting and horse race betting. With the new regulated gaming activities, a regulatory body known as the ARJEL (Regulatory Authority for Online Games) was established.

France has made millions in revenue with online sports betting, particularly football betting. During the 2010 World Cup, they brought in €83 million, about double what they made from the previous year.

Something you might not know about France is that this region favours many of the lesser-known sports in terms of betting, for instance, handball.

French online gambling regulations in 2023

When it comes to France, your first thoughts might be the Eiffel tower, romance and delicious baked goods. But you can find so much more in this region, including great games. If you want to know more about the online gaming scene in France, you don’t have to go far.

Here at CasinoWow, we make sure to cover everything, including the current online gaming legislation in the most popular regions across the globe.

The history of casinos and casino games

At CasinoWow, we take you on a journey where you can explore all things igaming. This includes everything from the latest and best online casinos, games and bonuses to the most interesting facts and details we can find. We even gathered the most interesting history facts in our page: The history of online games.

If you want to learn more about casinos, such as the history of how they got started, the legalities and the start of the different types of games, we have guides and pages available for you to check out.

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