Gambling in France
Gambling in France is legal. Licenses are issued for online gambling, casinos and slot machines. The state maintains the monopoly on betting, racing and lotteries. Land-based establishments in France are bringing 2.2 billion EUR each year. Over 200 casinos are in operation. They are run by four major operators: Partouche, Barriere, JOA and Tranchant. Over 32 million people visit the casinos every year. The volume of the online market is estimated at more than 1.5 billion EUR. The country has 35 licensed operators. Most of them (29) work with online sports betting, horse racing and online poker. French gaming websites contain more than 3 million active accounts. The gambling industry in the country is regulated by The Security Code, which came into force May 1, 2012. Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL) deals with online gambling. The Ministry of Home Affairs issues licenses and oversees land-based gambling market.
Gambling Games in France
These are the games that are listed among the most played ones in France: Super Lucky Reels - iSoftBet, Jungle Jim - Microgaming, Scrolls of Ra - iSoftBet, Vikings Go Wild - Yggdrasil and Gladiator - BetSoft. Super Lucky Reels by iSoftBet is a slot that comes with five paylines, three main reels and two extra reels. The slot will give you a chance to earn some re-spins, extra multipliers and instant bonuses. Jungle Jim by Microgaming is a five reel slot that comes with 25 paylines. Cascading bonuses will award you with some multipliers for a sequence of successful spins. The slot gives you a chance to earn some free spins and win up to 92,000 coins. Scrolls of Ra by iSoftBet is a five-reel slot that comes with 20 paylines and provides an opportunity to earn two bonuses and win up to 10,000 coins. Vikings Go Wild by Yggdrasil is a five-reel slot that comes with 25 fixed paylines. There is a chance to get a series of free spins with sticky Wild symbols. The treasure chest gives you a series of free spins, some multipliers and extra Wild symbols. Gladiator by BetSoft is a five-reel slot that comes with 30 paylines. The game features three bonus rounds with extra Wild multipliers and a Pick Me bonus game. The fourth game makes you start a fight between gladiators.
There are a number of games that can be played legally in France, including: Boules, Twenty-three, Roulette games, Thirty-forty, Blackjack, Craps, Punto banco, War game, The Wheel of Fortune, Rampo, Sic bo and Bingo. Club games are considered separately: Three types of Baccarat, Écarté, Poker, Bridge, French Tarot and Rummy. As far as slot machines are concerned, their import and production are prohibited by the Security Code. Nevertheless there are some exceptions. Casinos may offer slot machines to visitors if at least one casino game is offered. This same law also states that the RTP (return to player) of the slots must be at least 85%. There is also a limit imposed on the amount of credits featured in a slot machine. Lotteries are normally banned, but again there are some exceptions. These are the types that are allowed:
- Charity lotteries for funding art or not-for-profit sporting events
- Lotteries during exhibitions, TV and radio shows
- National lottery
- Promo lotteries
France interprets gambling and betting as contracts related to chance. This is the category that insurance belongs to as well. The difference between gambling and other similar contracts is that it is a calculation of the opportunity, while others would rather pay for service. Changes in French legislation, which were adopted not so long ago, led to the monitoring of skill games. The Security Code regulates most of the gambling industry in France. The rest is controlled by individual laws. Online Gaming Law regulates sports betting, bets on horse racing and club games (poker only). The Security Code authorises and regulates casinos on sea waters, on cruise ships under the nation's flag and in the resorts and cities that are popular with tourists. Casinos and gaming clubs feature the games authorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs. On the whole, casinos are monitored quite strictly. Aside from games, they also must provide entertainment and catering services. The number of games in the casinos is limited: the establishments only feature games that they have a license for. Pursuant to Article 136, Finance Law 1933, the monopoly on lottery belongs to La Française des Jeux. Pursuant to Decree 97-456 of 5 May 1997, horse racing was put under the monopoly of Pari Mutuel Urbain. Minors are not allowed to gamble. The exception is charity lotteries, lotteries during exhibitions and bingo games.
The land-based gambling industry is monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The prefects and national commissions or federations may also deal with the games, depending on the level of the operators. All land-based licenses are only issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne (ARJEL), which was set up back in 2010 when French online market was opened up, is the authority that deals with online gambling business.
As far as online gambling in France goes, it has been legalised. ARJEL issues licenses to operators even though poker is the only game that is allowed among the club games. Sports betting and betting on horse races are legal as well. An online operator can provide services only in France, which means that gaming websites will target residents of France exclusively. Software must be licensed by ARJEL. The license will list all suppliers of the online platform. Online licenses are issued for three types of gambling games: poker, port bets and horse racing. A separate permit is issued for each type. The operator, however, can run several gaming platforms that provide licensed games. The operator must be based in the European Union or the European economic zone. Payment for a license varies in the following range: 5,000 EUR for 1 permit (1 type of game), 8,000 EUR for 2 permits and10,000 EUR for 3 permits. An annual fee of 20,000 to 40,000 EUR (depending on the number of licenses - one, two or three) is paid additionally. The license for online gaming business is issued for five years with a possibility of extension.
Permits for casinos are issued for individual platforms. A company or a person can run several facilities. A gaming club must be run by a non-profit organisation. The games are also offered along with social, cultural and charity events. Creation of a non-profit organisation with such goals must be accompanied by a notification for the prefecture. Once the inspection has been conducted by the prefecture on whether the application complies with the legislation, the notification gets published in Official Journal. Once that is done, the organisation can provide gambling games. All employees of casinos and clubs must possess a license no matter what kind of work they perform. Most of the establishments require an approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The license is issued for the period of 20 years. For the clubs the permit is issued for one year with a possibility of extension.
Procedure for casinos
A casino must sign an agreement with the city where it operates. The Ministry of Home Affairs will meet the request and grant the right to provide public services. Sometimes granting the rights takes the form of tenders.Then the operator must obtain the common license to provide all services on one platform. All types of games and services are described in the permit. In addition to this, licenses are required from suppliers and employees. If the government does not respond to the application within 4 months, it is considered as a refusal.
Procedure for gambling clubs
Two copies of the permit are issued to the manager of the club. The permit is filled out together with the local prefect. The prefect hands one copy to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry endorses the application once the response is received from Commission Consultative des Jeux de Cercle et de Casino. This is what the club manager lists in the application: compliance with the rules of submitting the application, defining the percentage of GGR (gross gaming revenue), which will go towards support of services and entertainment, charity events and other undertakings conducted by the club and independence from any restaurants, hotels, bars and other similar facilities that are located in the same area. For example, the establishment will have a separate entrance. The permit will apply only to the specific gaming platform. It cannot be transferred or used by any other facilities. Renaming also falls under this category as well as moving to a different location or changing the staff. If such changes ever occur, the law will consider it as a creation of a new club that will require a new permit to be issued.
Licensed varieties of gambling
The list of legal gambling games in France contains the following items: poker, sports betting, horse racing and dog racing and casino games. Poker consists of six different types, from Hold'em and Omaha to three card poker An order dated 14 May 2007 on the regulation applicable to games in casinos, is what regulates the rules of the game and conducting of tournaments.
Development of gambling Market in France
The gambling industry in France has been developing quite successfully. Even though no French developers of gaming machines or casino games are known, casinos and gaming platforms are still developed quite well. Interestingly enough, the facilities must provide other services, including charitable events, along with the games.