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Gambling and Betting Regulations in France: Key Highlights

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Gambling and betting operations in France are governed by various laws and regulations, including the Civil Code, the Homeland Security Code (HSC), and the Online Gaming Law. However, the provision of certain gambling products is regulated by specific laws and regulations.

Definition of Gambling:

The HSC defines gambling as any operation made available to the public, regardless of its designation, for the purpose of causing the hope of a gain whose realisation depends, even partially, on chance. In consideration of this, the operator requires a financial contribution from participants.

History of Gambling in France:

The French National Lottery was established in 1933 to aid war veterans, with the exclusive rights to organise lottery games granted to the FDJ in 1976. FDJ was owned by the French government until recently. In 1985, sports betting was authorised for the first time, and the FDJ was granted exclusive rights to organise such activity. Horse betting in hippodromes was authorised and regulated in 1890, leading to the establishment of the Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) in 1930, which became the largest European horse-betting operator.

Casinos in France:

Casinos are allowed in specific areas in France, subject to a license by the Ministry of Home Affairs and placed under the authority of that ministry and the Ministry of Interior. The games offered by casinos are heavily regulated and determined by public authorities

Online Gambling Law :

The FDJ and PMU’s monopoly over online gambling and betting ended with the passing of the Online Gambling Law in 2010, which authorised licensed privately owned online gambling operators to offer sports betting, horse betting, and gambling ring deck card games (with poker being the only authorised game).

Licensed Operators in the French Online Gambling Market:

Many private operators obtained licenses when the Online Gambling Law was first passed, and today, more than 15 licensed operators exist on the French online gambling market.

Customary Games:

A few localities in Northern France and on the island of Réunion are allowed to maintain their gallodromes, and traditional cockfighting pits, as cockfighting is an ancient local custom that has continued without interruption to this date. However, the creation of any new gallodromes has been expressly forbidden by the French authorities.

Casino Prohibition in Paris:

A law adopted in 1920 forbids the installation of a casino in Paris or within a radius of 100 kilometres around it, with the exception of the spa town of Enghien-les-Bains. This prohibition is still applicable today, making Paris the only European capital without a casino. However, games where players are betting against each other and not against the house are still permitted in Paris.

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