French Online Casinos
French online casinos are a little tricky, because the parliament of France has had such an ambivalent view of Internet gambling. You get the idea the French lawmakers, if left to their own devices, would simply outlaw all forms of gambling in France besides their state-run monopolies on horse racing and the lottery.
The EU Commission on Economics has put pressure on French lawmakers to put their statutes more in line with the general European community, so the creation of ARJEL in 2010 began a process of liberalization of the French anti-gambling code.
French Online Gambling Laws
I've noticed that where brick-and-mortar gambling industries are strongest, that's where you'll get some of the greatest resistance to online gambling interests. For instance, in the United States, the State of Washington is one of the strongest anti-online gambling proponents. France seems to be in the same position as Nevada, as you'll find 464 land-based casinos, horse tracks, and racinos spread throughout the land of wine and cheese. With such strong live casino interests, it's probably no surprise France has been so late to the online gaming table.
Before 2010, online casinos were not legal in France. That didn't mean online casinos didn't accept French players, but these were black market websites that operated outside the laws. This kind of black market fosters a situation where problem gambling, gaming addiction, and underage gambling flourish. That's why ARJEL was created: to provide responsible oversight and regulation, while collecting revenues from a potential lucrative tax resource. ARJEL regulates online sports betting, online horse betting, and online poker. You might notice online casinos aren't listed, so let's take a look at how France does govern online casino gambling.
Top 5 Online Casinos for French Players
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eCogra Is Important
When French Minister of Budget, Jean-Francois Cope, established "COJER" (the "Consultative Committee for implementation of the monitoring policy of responsible games and gambling"), it was decided that eCogra membership would be an important prerequisite. French land casinos like Casino France net joined eCogra and established their own sites. I've also seen where Golden Riviera received a license, but "Casino City" states that French players aren't accepted at Golden Riviera, so I'm dubious about the idea they have a license to accept Frenchmen.
Are Online Casinos Legal in France?
As you can see, you won't find a whole lot of licensed French online casinos. The French Parliament is considering full legalization, but none can say when or if that's going to come to pass. Until then, French players will have to review your casino options carefully--and from a much small lists of options. You can take encouragement from the fact the European Union is pushing for big countries like France and Germany to reconsider their stance on legalized online casinos and come into alignment with EU policies on the subject.
That's what frustrated American gamblers like myself do when we see little Antigua and Barbuda winning court battles against the US government before the WTO. I have a feeling French politicians will learn the value of online casino revenues and strong regulation long before their American counterparts ever will, so you can take comfort in that. Legalized French online casinos are coming down the road, so the whole world of online gambling should open up to the French in the next few years. Until then, these are a few sites you can enjoy.