Online Gambling in France

Until recently French authorities sought to restrict foreign online gambling operators from offering their product to the people of France while at the same time sanctioning the (part) State owned local monopoly betting organizations La Francaise des Jeux and PMU. In 2007 the French ASO banned team Unibet from the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix and authorities sought to prosecute other operators trying to enter the market. This protectionist approach resulted in
France being the subject of European Commission infringement proceedings for being in breach of EU laws with respect to online gambling.

At the time of writing, France was in the process of opening up its online gambling market, with a new licensing and regulatory regime due to come into effect in early 2010. The authority charged with the construct and implementation of the new legislation and associated regulations is the Ministre du Budget lead by Minister Éric Woerth. According to a report in Le Figaro first September edition, France’s proposed laws had just received EC sign off and were ready to become law, allowing operators licensed in other EU member countries to access the French gambling market.

From a players’ perspective, most EU based online gambling operators accepted French players while the protectionist laws were in place so access to internet casinos will not change dramatically. What will change is the degree of mainstream advertising that is permitted by French authorities. It may not be long before teams in the Tour de France are sponsored by the likes of Unibet, William Hill or Bet365 rather than just Francaise des Jeux!

[Update April 2010]

A bill to legalise and regulate online gambling in France was passed by the French National Assembly on 6 April 2010. The law enables private operators to seek and obtain a license to provide online poker, sports betting or wagering services to French residents in competition with Francaise des Jeux and PMU for the first time. Games of chance including roulette and blackjack were not included in the list of services to be liberalized. The laws are planned to come into effect in June, prior to the World Cup kick-off and will be administered by the newly formed National Regulatory Authority of the French online gambling market (ARJEL).

A number of operators including Unibet, 888.com, and William Hill immediately announced their intent to participate in the licensing process.

The laws and associated regulatory and license application requirements have been criticized by the Remote Gambling Association as non-compliant with EU Treaties and there are still plenty of big name operators happy to accept French players.

To read the Bill click here.

Best live casino for French players

The below casinos offer French language website and support capabilities. Some offer toll free phone support for players from France.

Live casinos for French players
Casinos
Players from your location accepted
Player access
Deposits accepted and/or can maintain account in local currency
Banking
Toll free numbers from your country
Toll free support
local language site/support capabilities
Local language
games regionally focused
Games

dublinbet

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No restrictions on sign -ups from France No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
No French language website and French speaking roulette croupiers Multiple platforms with baccarat, blackjack, roulette and poker table options

Fairway Casino

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No restrictions on French player sign-ups No deposit restrictions.
Maintain account in € EURO
No Full French language website and support capability Costa Rican based dealer room with Euro centric games