Gambling Legislation In France: Major Events & Facts

Today gambling activities in France have a legal status. In 1987, the country reduced the minimum entry age from 21 to 18 years. One year later slot machines were legalized and operated on a legal basis for several years, before they were banned.

In regard to the local video game industry there are two instances that monitor the activity of business owners: PMU or Pari Mutuel Urbain, established in 1930 and Française des Jeux (abbreviated as FDJ).

FDJ regulates sports betting and lotteries, while horse riding is supervised by PMU; both organizations are public. In 2010, France made ​​a huge step towards the development of the gaming industry: the year was marked by online gambling legalization. Now online casinos are now fall under jurisdiction of ARJEL.

The development of gambling in France

The history of French gambling boasts fine traditions. Thus, a good number of popular games and casinos took their roots here; for example, in the year of 1500 an image of a woman was added to the deck who replaced the image of a male aristocrat. In the XVII century a famous scientist Blaise Pascal made ​​a revolutionary discovery adored by millions of modern gamblers – the roulette wheel was invented.

Online gambling

The first undertakings to legalize online gambling have been taken in 2005, when the European Commission initiated an investigation of the situation around local gambling sphere. In 2006 the Commission established a notification according to which in 2007 the law of the existence of gambling in France had to be agreed with the laws of the European Union.

In 2009, French authorities presented a report to the European Union with comprehensive statistics and numbers regarding gambling. However, the Commission, made a number of observations: various restrictions of operators, providing gambling services, non-profit tax regimen, low payouts and etc. The Commission also required toughening the law on the regulation of gambling. On May 13, 2010 French authorities have approved a law to permit conducting gambling business on the Internet. In order to control the industry, ARJEL (The French Gambling Authority), a separate organization has been created, which regulates all the issues of virtual gambling.

The instance was also joined by two other institutions: CSA (An Independent Authority for Protection Audiovisual Communication Freedom) and the CNIL. French regulators are empowered to provide three different types of licenses to online enterprises:

  • sports betting
  • betting on horse racing
  • online poker

Online gambling started its work in France just before the World Cup 2010. According to a casino review aggregator online casino, it contributed to the creation of about 1.2 million accounts at licensed sites. The budget was replenished with the amount of €83ml., which exceeded the identical index of the same period in 2009 in two times. The industry is finding itself on the crest of a wave, just like in the neighboring Italy – a positive tendency in turnover growth is monitored since the early 2000s and there are no prerequisites for an abrupt decrease in growing.