France is a country where gambling was illegal for a long period of time. There is a general prohibition for activities connected with games of chance but in the course of time, a few exceptions were introduced that gradually allowed some types of gambling (poker, horse racing, sports betting and casino games). These gambling activities must be offered at determined locations and provided by operators that have licenses.
The Security Code entered into force on May 1, 2012, and covers a considerable part of the regulations concerning gambling in France. Besides, there is a number of specific laws that cover other aspects of this field.
The Security Code approves and regulates casino activities in thermal, sea, climatic resorts and cities that have been classified as tourist resorts (except for Paris) and on the authorized French cruise ships that comply with all the necessary requirements. In addition, certain clubs for gaming, which have been authorized by the Minister of Home Affairs, are allowed to provide their customers with some gambling options.
In general, gambling establishments are very strictly monitored. They are obliged to provide not only games but also entertainment and catering services. The number of games offered in them is limited: establishments offer only those games for which they are licensed.
In order to obtain a license, a casino must enter into an agreement with the city where it is located. The Ministry of the Interior, in satisfying the request, transfers the right to the establishment to provide public services. It sometimes turns into a tendering process.
Then, the operator must obtain a general license to provide all types of services on one site. All kinds of games and services are described in permission. If the government does not respond to the application within four months, then this is considered a denial.
Permission is issued to the club manager in two copies. It is usually filled with the local prefect. The prefect transfers one permission to the Ministry of the Interior. Then the ministry decides whether to approve the request.
In a request, the club manager indicates:
Obtained permission is applicable only to a specific playground. It can not be transferred and used for any other establishment. A new license must be received if a club is renamed or moves to another place since the regulations consider this as the creation of a new gaming establishment.
200 gambling establishments operate in the country, most of which focus on gaming machines. Overall, according to the World Casino Directory, gambling facilities are located in 169 cities.
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The biggest changes regarding online gambling in France happened nine years ago, in 2010. Having experienced pressure from the European Union, the country’s government introduced the Gambling Law. According to this act, new gambling authority ARJEL was created and its responsibilities became to authorize operators and monitor this field. That was quite an important step since a large number of the EU gaming establishment expressed their desire to obtain a license and enter the French online gambling market.
Therefore, since 2010, ARJEL has issued licenses for operators engaged in poker, sports and horse racing bets. The country’s authorities decided not to include a number of traditional casino games such as slot machines, roulette and table games in the list of allowed gambling activities as the politicians considered these games too addictive.
The gambling establishment’s software must be licensed by ARJEL. According to the regulations, the permit must indicate all providers of the online site.
Separate permission is given for each type of gambling activities. However, the operator can lead several playgrounds on which licensed games are provided. The operator must be based in the European Union or the European Economic Area.
In order to get a license, a person or entity must submit an application to the above-mentioned gambling authority. ARJEL issues the approval only to those applicants who meet all the necessary economic, technical and financial requirements and show their willingness to maintain public order, fight against money laundering, excessive gambling and terrorist financing.
The license fee varies in the following range:
Five thousand euros for one permission (for one type of game);
Eight thousand euros for two permissions;
Ten thousand euros - for three.
The country’s current regulations require operators who have been authorized to get two certifications.
The first one must be received within half a year of the work of hardware support. The second one must be obtained within twelve months of the approval date. To receive the second certification, the authorized operator must comply with all regulatory and legal requirements.
In addition, an annual fee of 20,000-40,000 euros is paid (depending on the number of licenses - one, two or three). The license for online gambling business is issued for five years with the possibility of renewal.
According to the current regulations, online casinos licensed in France cannot offer their services for the country’s residents but players from France do not violate the law by playing in offshore casinos.
A high number of online gaming establishments can be found on the Internet and they draw on a lot of French customers. The list of the most popular online casinos in France includes Tropezia Palace, 888 Tiger Casino, Superior Casino, La Riviera Casino, Spartan Slots.
In general, lotteries are forbidden in France. In the Security Code, they are described as the sales of goods that are realized through chance. In 2014, the new regulation, Consumer Rights Law, restricted the scope of lotteries that are allowed to organize in France.
The law prohibits all the lotteries which have such features:
However, these prohibitions do not apply to the following activities:
Recent changes concerning the national lottery have happened. For several months, French lawmakers have been restructuring the national gambling regulatory framework. According to recent reports, at the beginning of October, deputies voted in favour of privatization of the monopoly on the lottery and scratch cards Francaise des Jeux (FDJ).
One of the conditions for privatization was the retention by the government of at least 20% of the shares of FDJ.
The condition for such a step, approved by the National Assembly in June, was the regulation by the lower house of new regulations in this field and the creation of a special industry governing body.
To fulfill these conditions, the French authorities introduced a new regulatory body – ANJ. The main functions of the regulator became monitoring the observance by FDJ owners of fundraising obligations, civil liability and standardization.
As mentioned earlier, intending to protect customers, the UK’s authorities introduced changes to the country’s gambling Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.
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