France is a country that is open to gambling and allows it in almost all of its forms. Many games of chance, especially roulette, originated in France. Another cool fact: In the 16th century, the French added the queen to card games. Today, the gambling industry is booming in this country. According to the French Gambling Regulatory Authority, gambling revenues totaled 10.70 billion euros in 2021, an increase of 7% over the previous year.
France has more than 200 physical casinos and nearly 20 bingo halls. In 1987, the French government lowered the legal minimum gambling age from 21 to 18. In 1988, the state allowed slot machines. Although physical gambling activity is permitted, the French authorities have not been supportive of online gambling activities.
Online gambling laws in France
France has for years refused to legalize online gambling due to its addictive nature. In 2005, France took a first step towards legalizing online gambling in response to mutual accusations by the European Commission against the country for violating general provisions established for online gambling platforms from foreign countries.
In 2009, French legislation passed a law allowing more than 2,500 websites to operate in the French market. However, only licensed operators can offer sports betting and horse racing. Then the European Union encouraged the country to open the gambling market to competition. In 2010, French legislation passed Law No. 2010-476 on Gambling, which allows online poker and bingo.
However, active online casinos in France were not allowed to bet on games of chance such as blackjack, roulette and slot machines. The only forms of online gambling allowed in France were sports betting, horse betting, and poker. These restrictions led to the resort to illegal gambling, as the French gambling law did not provide any penalties against casino goers who gambled in unlicensed casinos in the country.
tax system in france
Although France liberalized the online gambling sector, operators faced another problem of excessive taxes, particularly those affecting poker. Therefore, more than half of the authorized operators decided to withdraw from the French market. In addition, gambling law does not allow the sharing of prizes outside French borders.
In 2020, it was quite clear that France was in the process of changing its tax system from one based on sales to one based on receipts. Under this new tax regime, online sports betting will be taxed at 33.8%, while online poker will be taxed at 36.7%. A 19.9% tax applies to horse racing bets. The ambition of this new tax system was to give operators and the government a fair distribution of revenue.
Who is responsible for regulating the gambling industry in France?
The National Gaming Authority was established in 2020 as the sole authority responsible for supervising all forms of online gaming in the country. ANJ then replaced the National Authority for Regulating Online Games (ARJEL) which was established in 2010. ARJEL was responsible for supervising the online gambling sector and regulated only 11% of the French gambling market.
The regulatory scope of ANJ is more comprehensive as it is responsible for online and mortar gambling operations. Among other things, ANJ has the authority to grant operators licenses that are renewable every five years. ANJ’s priority is to protect players from the most common gambling problems. This authority has also proposed a new opt-out policy, which is simpler and faster.
In March 2022, the media revealed that the Gambling Authority plans to suspend access to gambling sites operating illegally on French soil. This regulatory authority provides for a procedure whereby it first sends a formal notice to the operator to cease its activity. The operator will have five days to comply; In the event this does not happen, ANJ will have the right to contact the ISPs to prevent access to the respective operator.