Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at French Roulette, a round of Poker, or having some fun at the slot machines, here’s what to expect at the biggest, best and most unique French casinos in France (and Monaco) for gamblers of all levels. Plus, learn why there are no casinos in Paris with slot machines or Roulette.
When I first moved to France in 2011, I never considered that there might actually be Casinos in France until I saw one with my own eyes in the coastal city of Hyeres, located on the French riviera.
In hindsight, it was a naive assumption. Of course, there are casinos in France. Almost every country in the world has casinos.
Gambling is as old as time.
When you think of gambling, chances are Las Vegas is one of the first things that come to mind. But gambling is much older than most people realize.
The oldest casino still in operation is the Casino di Venezia, on the Grand Canal in Venice Italy which opened in 1638.
And the word “Casinò” which we all know but have no idea where it comes means “little house” in Italian. “Casino” is the diminutive form of the Italian word “Casa,” (house). Before Casinos became known as Casinos, card games were played in little private rooms or pavilions that were part of a larger villa for hosting parties. As the word evolved, it became its own noun to mean a public room or building for gambling and other entertainment.
Gambling has a long and intriguing history in France as well, dating back to the 15th century. France has also made quite a few contributions to the development of gambling, including many popular casino games such as Roulette and the standard 52 playing card deck suits. Many countries have their own version of playing cards but the world adopted the French design.
But gambling is much older than that.
There’s archeological evidence that gambling has existed in one form or another for millions of years as far back as the paleolithic period before written history. It evolved in ancient cultures such as Egypt and China, where it spread to Italy, France, Spain, the rest of Europe, the Americas and then the world.
Gambling in France and Casinos in France
Before we dig into the list of unique French casinos in France, let’s go over some basics.
Is Gambling in France legal?
Yes, gambling in France is legal but it’s highly regulated.
Land-based brick-and-mortar casinos can offer a wide variety of gambling options including card games, casino games, sportsbooks, and horse race betting.
Online casino operators offer the same as land-based casinos but cannot offer some classic casino games such as Roulette, slot machines, and table games because lawmakers felt those would be too addictive.
What is the legal gambling age in France?
If you’re from the US, you might be surprised to learn that anyone aged 18 or older can legally gamble in France. In fact, the gambling age in most countries is 18.
How many casinos are in France
At the time of this writing, there are around 203 licensed land-based casinos in France that generate over 2.5 billion euros each year (not including online casinos). The number of Casinos in France fluctuates as casinos open and others close.
Most of the land-based French Casinos are located in Metropolitan France, while a small handful (less than 10) of French casinos are located in overseas territories.
There are also special French gaming clubs that only offer card games—ie no slots or Roulette. More on this in a moment.
With a population of 6 billion people, that means there is one casino for every 335 000 people. That’s more than the UK with about one casino for every 425,000 people.
What kind of gambling can you expect in a French Casino
Entertainment, catering and games
To operate as a land-based Casino in France, a Casino MUST provide three different activities:
- Catering and food
In other words, a Casino cannot only offer gambling.
Types of Casino games allowed in France
The range of authorized games casinos can offer is restricted and controlled by the Homeland Security Code, which allows slot machines and the following casino games, and electronic games.
- French Roulette
- American Roulette
- English Roulette
- Punto banco
- Casino Hold’em Poker
- Stud poker
- War game
- Wheel of fortune
- Ultimate Poker
- Three-card Poke
Poker in casinos in France
Casinos can offer the following six types of poker card games:
- Ultimate Poker
- Three card poker
- Texas hold’em poker
- Casino stud poker
- Casino Hold’em Poker
- Omaha poker 4 high
You can see a complete list of regulations and laws about casinos in France here.
There are no traditional casinos in Paris, but…
Casinos are not that difficult to find in France but you need to know where to look.
Due to regulations and strict gambling rules, Casinos tend to be located in coastal towns, seaside resort towns with thermal or health resorts, as well as cities classified as tourist resorts.
You can find casinos of varying sizes in many large French cities, such as Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Lille, as well as smaller lesser-known towns.
Paris is another story.
If you’re a fan of slot machines and Roulette, you’re going to be disappointed because Paris might be the only capital city in the world with no Casinos with slot machines and roulette tables.
As I mentioned previously, gambling is highly regulated in France. In the 1920s a law was passed that banned ALL Casinos in Paris and within a 100 km radius of Paris.
Instead, Pais is home to a handful of Gaming clubs (club de Jeux)
2018 law allows Gaming clubs (Clubs de Jeux) in Paris.
In 2018, a new law was passed that loosened the gambling regulations in Paris which allows Gaming clubs or gaming rooms (clubs de Jeux) to operate under highly controlled and strict conditions to avoid money laundering and fraud.
At gaming clubs, players can only play table card games such as:
- Ultimate Poker
- Texas Hold’em Poker
- Omaha poker
- Punto Banco/Baccarat
- Poker 21
- Stud Poker
- 3 card Poker
You won’t find popular casino games at gaming clubs in Paris
- No Roulette in Paris
- No Slot Machines in Paris
- No blackjack in Paris
Other games of chance allowed in gaming clubs
With special permission from the Minister of Home Affairs, gaming clubs are allowed to offer the following games of chance:
- Baccarat- chemin de fer
- Baccarat on two tables.
What to expect in a Parisian gaming club
No Paris gaming club you visit will be the same, with different shapes, sizes, games and decor, making each feel unique. Some have swanky restaurants and bars, and others have cigar lounges. Some require a dress code, others don’t. You may even get searched at the door.
It’s also federally required for Parisian gaming clubs to ask customers to show a national ID or a passport.
Sorry, but your driver’s license won’t work so don’t get mad if you can’t get into a Paris gaming club with just a driver’s license. The same is true for casinos.
Cover fee to enter a Paris gaming club
Gaming clubs usually charge an entrance fee or cover charge to filter out curious eyeballs who don’t plan on betting.
Here are a few of the gaming clubs located in Paris and their entrance fees.
- Paris Elysées Club (15 €): First-ever Gaming club to open in Paris.
- Club Barrière Paris (15 €): Possibly the first Parisian gaming club to open in the whole country
- Club Montmartre (10 €): Has the largest poker room in the country.
- Club Circus Paris (11 €):
- Imperial Club (15 €):
- Club Berri (15 €): or annual membership of 150 €
- Club Pierre Charron FREE: Popular with the community of poker players
Casino with slots and Roulettes near Paris:
As I already mentioned, a law was passed in 1920 that prohibited any Casinos in Paris and within a 100 km radius of Paris.
However, in 1931, an exception was made for Casino Barriere Enghien-Les-Bain to operate within a 100km radius of Paris.
CASINO BARRIÈRE (ENGHIEN-LES-BAIN) near paris (1931)
If you’re in or near Paris and want to experience a Casino with Roulette, slots and blackjack, Casino Barrière Enghien-Les-Bains is your only choice.
Casino Barrière Enghien les Bains is the only casino located on l’Île-de-France. It’s located near a thermal bath resort town situated on the shores of Lake Enghien, 13.5 kilometres (8.4 mi) from the centre of Paris. It’s easy to reach by train, shuttle and car from Paris.
This casino is spread out over 4300 square ft/ 4000 square meters and has more than 500 slot machines and around 40 table games, including French and English Roulette. There are also a few restaurants and a hotel with a spa.
Casino Barrière Enghien-Les-Bains is the ONLY Casino in France that charges an entrance fee of 14 to 16 euros, depending on the day.
The Oldest Casinos in France
Casino Grand Cercle in Aix les Bains (1824)
Casino Grand Cercle was initially built in 1824 but moved in 1850 to its current location in the heart of Aix-les-Bains due to growing pains.
Aix-les-Bains is a thermal spa town on Lake Bourget in the
Even if you are not a gambler, it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area to catch a glimpse of the elegant interior; decorative ceilings and architecture are a mix of Rococo and Baroque style typical of the Belle Epoque.
There are roughly 222 slot machines and hosts various poker tournaments.
Monaco: Casino de Monte Carlo (1863)
On the French Riviera, Southeast of France, is Monaco’s world-famous Casino de Monte Carlo, featured in James bond films such as Never Say Never and Goldeneye.
It’s not only one of the oldest casinos but the fourth oldest casino in operation in Europe; it’s also one of the most stunning.
Technically, Monaco is not a part of France. It’s an independent state with a king and royal family. However, in 1863, when the Mont Carlo casino opened, it was under the control of France.
The casino was originally opened to save the Grimaldi royal family from bankruptcy, and it worked. As a result of the casino’s success, residents of Monaco have not had to pay personal income tax since 1869. However, Citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the gaming rooms of the casino.
- In 1956 American Actress married Prince Rainier III of Monaco
- Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City.
- Monaco has the world’s smallest monarchy.
The Monte Carlo Casino is relatively large. There are over 1000 slot machines, French and English Roulette, and more than 56 traditional live gaming tables where you can play Punto Banco, Black Jack, Craps, and Poker Texas Hold’em Ultimate.
Entry fee: 17 euros to enter.
Dress smartly; there is a dress code in the gambling areas: No shorts, Bermudas, jeans with holes, sportswear, running shoes, flip-flops, sandals for men, beachwear or sleeveless shirts.
Largest Casino in France
Le Casino Barrière de Deauville
Casino Barrière in Deauville is a baroque-style casino in the Normandy region of northwestern France.
Deauville is one of France’s most popular and beautiful seaside resort towns, known for its horse races, boardwalk, marina, and luxury. Coco Chanel opened her first fashion boutique in Deauville in 1913.
Deauville is also the closest seaside resort near Paris and is often referred to as the Parisian riviera.
The lavish Deauville casino was established in 1912 and designed by French architect George Wybo, who designed the famous Printemps Haussmann department store in Paris. Casino Barrière de Deauville was also one of the first French casinos in France to install slot machines in the 80s when they were legalized for importation in France.
With over a 44,000 square foot space, it’s easily one of the largest casinos in France. It features 325 gaming machines and thirty-six table and poker games. The property has three restaurants and one bar.
There are also three restaurants, two bars and a nightclub to dance the night away.
Most Unique Open-air casino
Casino Pleinair Partouche in Ciotat
Casino Plein air opened its doors in 2017 in Ciotat, a coastal beach town on the French Riviera less than an hour from Marseille, France.
It’s called casino “Plein Air,” which means outdoors in French because it’s the first of its kind in Europe where customers can admire a view of the sea while playing slot machines and table games on an outdoor terrace measuring roughly 1300 sqm.
There are over 200 slot machines, 53 electronic English roulette stations equipped with electronic blackjacks, and 8 traditional game tables (English roulette, blackjack, Texas Hold’em Poker, and Ultimate Poker)
Since the casino has a large outdoor area for gambling, one of the main advantages is that smokers can enjoy a puff or two while making their bets.
Some other things unique to Casino Plein Air are:
- A giant 17-seat jacuzzi
- A bowling alley accessible free of charge
- Tale Tennis, aka Ping Pong
- A virtual reality zone
- A restaurant and a food truck
- Daily shows.
The Imperial Palace Casino (1913)
The impressive Imperial Palace Casino was established in 1913 in the Haute-Savoie region of France in Annecy, a beautiful lakeshore town in southeastern France.
The casino is located on a peninsula between Lake Annecy and the Alpine mountain with a spectacular view.
If you’ve never been to Annecy, its cobblestone streets and canals in the old town are stunning. it’s even earned the nickname “The Little Venice of the Alps.”
In addition to 165 slot machines, electronic Roulette and blackjack games, there are also tables to play English Roulette, Black Jack and Ultimate Poker.
A new addition to the casino is gambling in a climate-controlled open-air covered terrace with a view of Lake Annecy.
Grand casino in Cabourg (1850)
Casino Cabourg is a historic place that opened in the 1850s, typical of the French Belle Epoque style buildings on the seafront.
Cabourg casino has two Texas Hold’em Poker lounges, two blackjack tables, an English roulette table, 1 electronic roulette station, 4 electronic blackjack stations, and 75 slot machines.
Another nice touch is the beautiful 400 m² terrace, a restaurant overlooking the beach and the sea, a lounge bar, a room for live concerts, karaoke nights, entertainment, and shows.
Casino in a chateau
Casino Arcachon (1853)
Casino Arcachon is located minutes from Bordeaux in Arcachon, a seaside resort town in southwest France known for oyster harvesting.
What makes casino Arcachon interesting is its inside of the lavish Château Deganne. In 1853, Adalber Deganne, the then-mayor of Arachan, had the chateau constructed as a holiday home for the nobility. After he died, it was purchased and turned into a Casino in 1903.
There are 75 slot machines, 2 gaming tables (blackjack + boule 2000), and 19 electric games of English roulette and Black Jack.
In the summer there are outdoor concerts and shows
Interesting Themed Casino in France
Grand Casino de Lyon – Pharaoh
You’re in for a unique experience at Casino Le Pharaon in Lyon, France. Pharaon is the French word for pharaoh.
The entire casinos decore is inspired by Ancient Egypt, with Egyptian statues, frescoes and hieroglyphics. And the most interesting or bizarre aspect of the casino is the fact that some of the female staff wear elaborate Egyptian costumes with short black wigs that look like bobs.
In the gaming area, there are nearly 250 slot machines, 3 English roulette tables, 3 Blackjack tables, 3 texas hold’em tables, 1 ultimate poker table, and electronic blackjack and English Roulette.
In the summertime, it’s one of the few casinos in France that allow dress shorts, Birkenstock style sandals and jeans.
Most Modern Casino Design
Casino Barrière Cap d’Agde
In 2018 the Casino Barrière Cap d’Agde moved locations into one of France’s largest-scale tourist building developments. The town invested 17 million euros into constructing a new Palais des Congrès and 4 million in the casino conveniently located close to the town entrance and near the port, France’s largest seaside resort.
Cap d’age is located in southwestern France, 20 minutes from Beziers, and is famous for its long stretches of sandy beaches, clear turquoise water; and is home to the world’s largest clothing-optional beach resort.
The new building’s contemporary architecture houses 150 slots, video and poker machines, 2 English roulette tables, 3 Black Jack tables, 1 Boule roulette table, 16 Electronic English Roulette Stations and 1 Electronic Black Jack table.
French Casino Games Vocabulary
If you do plan on gambling in a French Casino in France, it would be helpful to know certain gambling terms. Here are the names of the major types of gambling in French Casinos.
Gambling in French is called Jeux de Hasard (Games of chance) and Jeux d’argents (money games).
- Tournament: Le tournoi
- Lotterie Games: Des jeux de tirage, Jeu de loterie
- Instant lotterie tickets aka scratch cards: Des jeux de grattage, billet à gratter
- Horse racing betting: Des paris hippiques
- Sports Betting: Des paris sportifs
- Card games: Jeux de cartes
- Poker: Du Poker
- Poker Chips: Jetons, Jetons de poker
- Slot machines: Des machines à sous
- Casino games: Des jeux de casino
- roulette: la roulette
- Craps: le craps
- Black Jack: le black jack
- Card Games: jeux de cartes
- Baccarat: le baccara
- Dice games: jeux de dés
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT CASINOS IN FRANCE
- The legal gambling age in France is 18 years old.
- When in doubt, dress smart casual because there might be a dress code: No sleeveless shirt, sportswear, shorts, jeans with holes, sandals,
- Be sure to bring a valid ID (National Identity Card or Passport if you are not a resident of the Schengen area). Most casinos require it to enter.
- Casinos don’t have entry frees except for the one located just outside of Paris.
- Gaming clubs in Paris do not offer slot machines or roulette tables and charge a nominal entrance fee of around 15 euros.