Gambling in France
France is not only one of the countries with richest history and a serious player on the territory of Europe. The country also has a long history of gambling, which has become one of the most popular pastimes for local citizens over the years. Gambling operations currently have a legal status in France. This basically means that all gambling activities are regulated by the country’s legislation up to date. Currently, card games are especially popular in the country, as well as horse races, slots and sports betting.
The history of gaming in the country dates back to the 16th century, when the French added the Queen to the deck of cards. France is also known as the home of roulette, which originates from the 17th century, and to pari-mutuel betting, which was established in 18th century in the country.
Gambling has long been and still remains legal in France in most of its forms. The gaming activities in the country, however, are regulated by the competent authorities. Such activities are permitted only under the Ministry of Justice. The country lowered the legal age for gambling from 21 to 18 in 1987. A year later, France legalized slot machines and became one of the most gaming-friendly countries in Europe as a whole.
Gambling legalization in the country basically means that brick-and-mortar operators are allowed to offer casino and card games, as well as racing and sportsbooks betting. Web-based operators, on the other hand, are permitted to provide the same offerings as the land-based ones except for casino games.
No matter of the excessive regulation on the matter, the contemporary gaming legislation in France features high taxes, which are considered as one of the setbacks before licensed gaming websites to survive in this market.
Almost 50% of the online gambling operators which acquired licences half a decade ago have already left the market. Players are also considered to be affected by the high poker pots and sports bets taxes. This, on the other hand, resulted in a great number of players preferring to stick to unlicensed foreign operators.
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Relevant Legislation in France
Many forms of gambling are permitted in France, which makes the country a gambling-friendly one. There are currently three main bodies, which are responsible for carrying regulatory functions out – the Francaise des Jeux, ARJEL and the Pari Mutuel Urbain.
The Francaise des Jeux is responsible for regulating lotteries and betting games. ARJEL deals exclusively with online gambling regulation, and the Pari Mutuel Urbain is primarily focused on horse races betting. Up to date, ARJEL issues licenses to operators that are willing to provide online casino and gambling services to local citizens. There are no licenses granted for casino games, exchange betting or spread betting.
Currently, licenses are required from gaming and gambling operators that are willing to run their activities on the territory of the country. That is the reason why licenses can be granted for online gambling offering, sports betting and horse racing activities. The applicants are demanded to comply with the current country’s legislature, which includes providing some information related to their identification, shareholding details, experience and other matters.
The licenses are granted by the relevant and competent regulatory authorities for a period of five years. There is also an option for extending the licenses for the same period of half a decade after their expiration. A new legislative bill related to online gambling operations was introduced by the French Government in 2009. Then, a year later, it officially legalized a total of three forms of online gambling activities – poker, sports betting, including fixed odds betting, pool betting and live betting, and horse races betting.
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