Unique French casinos In France & Monaco+ what to expect at the best & biggest ones

View of Monte Carlo casino at night

Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at French Roulette, a round of Poker, or having some fun at the slot machines, here are the biggest, best and most unique French casinos in France (and Monaco) for gamblers of all levels. Plus, here’s what to expect and why there are no Casinos in Paris, France. 

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 and Casinos in France

The Gambling industry in France has a very long history.

Some of the oldest and most popular gambling establishments are located in France. France has also contributed to the development of popular casino games such as Roulette. Even the standard 52 playing card deck suits are based on a French design.

Gambling is older than most people realize.

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. As it evolved in ancient cultures such as Egypt and China, it spread reaching Europe, the Americas and the world.

Casino is an Italian word

The word “Casinò” is Italian. It’s the diminutive form of the Italian word for house “Casa,” which means “little house” because card games were played in little pavilions or private rooms 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.

Is Gambling in France legal?

In France, all forms of gambling are legal but it’s highly regulated.

Land-based brick-and-mortar casinos can host card games, casino games, sportsbooks, and horse race betting.

Online casino operators offer the same as land-based casinos but can’t offer 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? 

Anyone 18 years and older can gamble in France legally.

How many casinos are in France

There are around 203 licensed land-based casinos in France that generate 2 billion euros each year (not including online casinos). That’s on par with Las Vega’s annual revenue numbers. 

196 of the land-based French Casinos are located in Metropolitan France, while the remaining 7 French casinos are located in overseas territories. There are very special French gaming clubs that only offer card games—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 to expect in a French Casino

man gambling playing cards at poker table

You can find casinos in many large French cities, such as Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Lille, as well as smaller lesser-known cities.

Due to regulations and strict gambling rules, Casinos tend to be located in coastal towns, and seaside resort towns with thermal or health resorts, as well as cities classified as tourist resorts (except Paris)

Entertainment, catering and games

To operate as a land-based Casino in France, a Casino MUST provide three different activities:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Catering and food
  3. Games.

In other words, a Casino cannot only offer gambling. 

Types of Casino games allowed in France

The range of authorized games casinos can offer are restricted and controlled by the Homeland Security Code, which allows slot machines and the following casino games, and electronic games.

  • Boule
  • Twenty-three
  • French Roulette
  • American Roulette
  • English Roulette
  • Thirty-forty
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Punto banco
  • Casino Hold’em Poker
  • Stud poker
  • War game
  • Wheel of fortune
  • Ultimate Poker
  • Three-card Poke
  • Ramapo
  • sic-bo

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 casinos in Paris.

gambling-france-roulette

If you’re a fan of slot machines and Roulette, you’ll be really disappointed to learn that Paris doesn’t have any casinos with these types of gambling games. 

Paris might be the only capital city in the world that has no Casino with slot machines and roulette tables. 

Instead, Pais is home to a handful of Gaming clubs (club de Jeux) where gamblers can play table games such as Punto Banco/Baccarat, Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Poker 21. 

 Why are there no Casinos in Paris with slot machines? 

Gambling is highly regulated in France. There are no casinos in Paris because of a 1920 law that banned ALL Casinos in Paris and within a 100 km radius of the city of lights.  

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 only allows Gaming clubs or gaming rooms (clubs de Jeux) to operate under highly controlled and strict conditions to avoid money laundering and fraud.

Only card games can be played at Gaming clubs in Paris

dealer at club Montmartre Paris dealing for the card game Punto Banco

As a result of these tight gambling regulations,  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

Here are some card games and games of chance which are allowed to be played legally in Paris gaming rooms and clubs. 

  • Ultimate Poker
  • Texas Hold’em Poker
  • Omaha poker
  • Punto Banco
  • Poker 21
  • Stud Poker
  • 3 card Poker

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.
  • Multicolore
  • Mah-Jong.

What to expect in a Parisian gaming club 

Club Montmartre gaming club paris

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 drivers licenses won’t work so don’t get mad if you can’t get with just a driver’s license. The same is true for casinos. 

Gaming clubs usually charge an entrance fee or cover charge to enter the gaming clubs to filter out curious eyeballs who don’t plan on betting. 

Here are a few of the gaming clubs located in Paris. 

  1. Paris Elysées Club (15 €): First-ever Gaming club to open in Paris.  
  2. Club Barrière Paris (15 €):  Possibly the first Parisian gaming club to open in the whole country
  3. Club Montmartre (10 €): Has the largest poker room in the country.
  4. Club Circus Paris (11 €):
  5. Imperial Club (15 €):
  6. Club Berri (15 €): or annual membership of 150 €
  7. 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.

 If you’re in or near Paris, and you really want to experience a Casino with roulette, slots and blackjack, you can hop on a quick train ride over to Casino Barrière Enghien-Les-Bains. 

CASINO BARRIÈRE (ENGHIEN-LES-BAIN)

Casino Barriere (Enghien Les Bains) near paris

In 1931, an exception was made for Casino Barriere Enghien-Les-Bain to operate within a 100km radius of Paris. 

Casino Barrière Enghien les Bains is located in 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. 

Spread out over 4300 square ft/ 4000 square meters are over 500 slot machines, around 40 table games, including French and English Roulette, restaurants and a hotel with spa.

It’s the only Casino in France that charges an entrance fee.

The Oldest Casinos in France

Casino Grand Cercle in Aix les Bains (1824)

casino in France grand cercle

Casino Grand Cercle was originally 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 Savoie region of France, about an hour’s drive from Geneva. 

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)

Best French casinos: monte-carlo-gambling

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. 

Fun facts:

  • 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. 

Something else unique to Casino Plein Air are:

  • A giant 17-seat jacuzzi
  • A bowling alley accessible free of charge
  • Tale Tennis, aka Ping Pong
  • Fussball
  • A virtual reality zone
  • Petanque
  • A restaurant and a food truck 
  • Daily shows. 

Most beautiful 

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 itself 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 and 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. The female staff wear elaborate Egyptian costumes. The entire casino”s decore is inspired by Ancient Egypt, with Egyptian statues, frescoes and hieroglyphics.

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.  

Enjoy specialty cocktails at the two bars or a bite to eat at the Valley of the Kings restaurant. 

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.

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, flip flops etc.
  • 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, but gaming clubs in Paris usually have a nominal entrance fee of around 15 euros.

Map of most gambling casinos in France and Paris gaming rooms

Photo of Annie André: www.AnnieAndre.com

Annie André

About the author 

I’m A Bilingual North American With Thai And French Canadian Roots Who's Been Living In The South Of France For Over 10 Years. I Love Writing Weird, Wonderful, Interesting, Forgotten, And Fascinating Articles For Intellectually Curious People Amazed By France, French Culture, And World Travel.

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