How To Legally Gamble Online In France!

France is one of the top 10 countries with the most casinos, roughly 200 nationwide. However, gambling online in France is still relatively new and highly regulated. If you’re interested in gambling online in France, here are a few things you should know because not all types of online gambling are legal while you’re on French soil!

Can I gamble online in France?

At the more than 200 land-based casinos in France, if you’re 18 years old or older, most forms of gambling are legal, from casino card games, slots, sports betting and horse race betting (as of 2022.)

However, online gambling in France is an entirely different story.

Online gambling is regulated by : L’Autorité nationale des Jeux – ANJ

Online gambling is still in its infancy and has only been legal in France since 2010. However, it’s strictly regulated. In an attempt to stop gambling from becoming an addiction, the Justice Ministry in France does not allow any online casino games of chance, such as spread betting and betting exchange. 

What types of online gambling can you play online in France?

Only three types of internet gambling are permitted, which must be run by licensed companies:

  • Online horse race betting
  • Online sports betting
  • Online Poker. (Although poker is a classic casino game, it’s legal to play online because it’s a skill-based game where players can change their strategy for different situations.)

The French have a long history with gambling.

  • In the 1500s, the French were the first to add the Queen to the deck of cards.
  • In the 17th century, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the roulette wheel, which later led to the introduction of the popular game of roulette.
  • The game 21, “vingt-et-un,” may have originated in French casinos around 1700 A.D. and migrated to the United States around the 1800s.
  • Blackjack might have originated from a French card game called “chemin de fer,” which translates to “railroad.”
  • In 1997, the gambling age was lowered from 21 to 18.
  • In 1988, slot machines became legal after previously being banned.

gambling-france-roulette

Because French law doesn’t allow unlicensed online bookmakers and poker rooms or any kind of online casino games except for poker, many players in France have been left feeling frustrated- unable to access their online gambling and poker accounts.

Players also have to pay taxes from their online gambling winnings, from 19% to 34%. 

Some players have managed to find ways to bypass the legislation:

  • Using a foreign postal address
  • Hiding their IP address
  • Using third parties to make deposits for them
  • Changing their IP address- a tactic that some British vacationers and expats who want to access their UK or foreign gambling accounts while visiting France.

What happens if a player tries to bet on an unlicensed site?

If you try to access an unlicensed site while in France, one of the following things might happen:

  1. You can’t access the site.
  2. A message may pop up stating that you can’t join this particular site. 
  3. You’ll get redirected to the French equivalent, if available.
  4. You may be able to register if you use a UK address. Most UK bookies will ignore your location, although most operators take steps to identify your location once you have registered.

How can an operator verify my location?

When you sign up with an unlicensed bookmaker, they may use these three pieces of information to identify your location.

  • Your IP address
  • Your registered home address.
  • The address registered on your credit card

You’ll also receive an email asking you to prove that you’re in the UK. Some operators may suspend your account if you can’t, but some may give you a grace period of up to two weeks to provide proof of address. They’ll ask you why you have a French IP address.

Is it possible to disguise your location?

It’s possible to get around the IP address check by changing your IP address to mask your PC’s location by using a VPN. Some players have also discovered a way to get a postal address in the UK and use various forms of secure payment methods, including pre-payment options to avoid giving details of their French bank accounts.

Despite the restrictions placed on the online gambling industry in France, it still manages to show signs of modest growth.

Photo of Annie André: www.AnnieAndre.com

Annie André

About the author 

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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