France ranks in the top 10 for most casinos, roughly 200 nationwide. Gambling online in France is still fairly new however with recently updated laws, it’s growing. If you’re interested in gambling online in France, here are a few things you should know!
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.
Today most forms of gambling are legal, but the French gambling industry is strictly regulated.
In France, you can enjoy all kinds of gambling from casino-style card games and slots, sports betting and betting on horse racing.
As of 2015, there are about 188 casinos in and around France. In an attempt to stop gambling from becoming an addiction, the Justice Ministry only allows gambling at specific times and in specific places.
However, when we look at online gambling in France, it’s an entirely different story.
In March of 2009, France proposed new laws to regulate and tax Internet gambling. “Rather than banning 25,000 websites, they gave licenses to online gambling sites which respected public and social order. These new gambling laws were criticized because it only allowed sports betting and betting on horse races, which meant that all other traditional casino games were still illegal.
In June 2010, the government implemented significant changes to the national gambling laws again to allow for both the regulation and taxation of foreign-based internet casinos, online poker, bingo and sports betting sites. Before this, only national companies were permitted to operate gambling sites online, with Francaise des Jeux and the PMU being market leaders.
France has since issued dozens of licences to offshore gambling companies so that their services can become available for French players.
Players in France feeling frustrated -unable to access their online gambling and poker accounts.
However, because French law doesn’t allow unlicensed online bookmakers and poker rooms or any kind of online casino, many players in France have been left feeling frustrated- unable to access their online gambling and poker accounts. Furthermore, the punitive tax regime adopted by the government has proved to be very detrimental to poker operators. Players must pay 2% on all cash game pots, with sports betting attracting a 7.5% tax on each bet placed and horse racing bets attracting an 8% levy. Also, 33% of corporate income tax is also payable.
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.
Can I play online bingo in France?
Although the French online bingo industry is still in its infanc, recently modified laws have helped promoteits growth. To take advantage of the legislation changes, online bingo operators in France introduced some French alternatives.
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:
- You can’t access the site.
- A message may pop up stating that you can’t join this particular site.
- You’ll get redirected to the French equivalent, if available.
- You may be able to register if you use a UK address. Most UK bookies will ignore your location, although most operators to 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 in 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.