Best Online Casinos in France
France is generally pretty friendly towards gambling in many forms. The country is home to many land-based casinos which offer all the classic casino games like slots, blackjack, and poker. You’ll also find sportsbooks and more betting across France.
Online Gambling in France
Today, online gambling is also legal in France. However, not all casino games are legal.
Under the current laws, any licensed French online casinos can only offer games based on skill – meaning games like poker are legal. Any games based on chance, like slots or roulette, are illegal at French online casinos.
We think that’s a big mistake on the part of the French because they’re missing a massive part of the online gambling market. In our experience, doing this only pushes gamblers to seek out unlicensed offshore casinos.
You can find plenty of offshore casinos accepting French players. We haven’t heard of any gamblers being punished for using these sites, but sometimes these sites do get banned in France.
French Online Gambling Laws
Prior to 2010, gambling laws in France were actually quite strict. They were so restrictive that the country came under pressure from the EU to change the laws. As a result, the French government passed a new law in 2010 called the Gambling Act.
Under the Gambling Act, a new government agency was created to issue online gambling licenses and regulate the market. The agency is called the Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL).
The French Gambling Act of 2010 also established the standard for which casino games would be allowed at French online casinos. It was this law that banned all forms of chance-based casinos games at French online casinos. This was done because lawmakers believed that these games would be too addictive if offered online.
As a result of this, the biggest licensed online gambling sites in France are poker sites. That’s because poker is a game of skill, meaning it is legal to play online at French gambling websites. Today, the biggest online gambling operators in France include PokerStars, Everest Poker, and Party Poker.
Initially, the Gambling Act only allowed French players to play against each other – meaning that the poker sites could not pool players from other countries with French players. That changed in 2017 after a massive backlash from the poker community. Today, player pools are mixed at all French poker sites.
French Gambling Taxes
French regulators made another interesting choice when they setup the country’s latest online gambling legislation. Under the Gambling Act, online gambling operators are required today high taxes.
This also extends to players. At licensed French poker sites, all pots are taxed an additional 2% on top of the standard amount typically taken out by the poker site. That means that poker players in France must pay a 7.5% tax on their online poker winnings. For comparison, the industry average is around 4% of the pot.
Online sports betting was also legalized under the 2010 Gambling Act. Things are even worse here when it comes to taxes. All bets placed are taxed at 8.5%.
Ultimately, this means that players will make less money while gambling. The other result of this is that many gambling operators have left the French market since there are plenty of other, more friendly markets in Europe.