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Where to bet safely in France and which online bookmakers to join?

Examine the table below that gives detailed information on the TOP betting sites for French players. See what welcome bonuses await new customer and make up your mind where to sign up. Keep on reading for particulars about the gambling market in France.

Unibet
Cashout
Live Betting
Live Streaming
100% up to 100€
18+ T&C | www.anj.fr | Play responsibly
Features Show all
  • Live Streaming
  • Live Betting
  • Cashout
  • Casino
  • E-Sports
  • Live Casino
  • Poker
  • Virtual Sports
  • Bet Builder
  • Request a Bet
  • Boosted Odds
Payments Show all
Vbet
Cashout
Live Betting
Live Streaming
50% up to 200€
18+ T&C | www.anj.fr | Play responsibly
Features Show all
  • Cashout
  • Casino
  • E-Sports
  • Live Betting
  • Live Casino
  • Bet Builder
Payments Show all
Bwin
Cashout
Live Betting
Live Streaming
100% up to 120€
18+ T&C | www.anj.fr | Play responsibly
Features Show all
  • Live Betting
  • Cashout
  • Casino
  • E-Sports
  • Live Casino
  • Poker
  • Bet Builder
  • Live Streaming
  • Virtual Sports
  • Boosted Odds
Payments Show all

Leading Bookies in France – Rank List

  1. 🥇 Unibet – Best bookie in France
  2. 🥈 Vbet – Awesome range of specials for France
  3. 🥉 Bwin – Widest range of markets

France’s Top 3 Bookmakers Reviewed

Similar to many other highly regulated markets, France is not the type of place where you would find the usual competition of thousands of bookies. But the few that have succeeded in setting up shop here, they have opened up an online gambling market that can be otherwise lucrative. In this section, we have highlighted the top 3 online betting platforms that you can access while in France.

Unibet

Unibet cycling  

Founded in 1997, Unibet is a gambling company with an extensive presence in the European market. The bookmaker is a part of the Kindred Group, which owns 11 brands in total. Among them are the very popular and well-reputed Stan James, Maria Casino, 34Red, etc. For the French players, you can make use of the sportsbook section on the Unibet website to bet on the very comprehensive markets offered. The markets cover a wide array of sports, including horse races. There is also a poker section where you can enjoy several variants of the age-old favourite casino game.

  • Pros
  • Attractive user-interface with a cool dark theme
  • Has a native app for both android and iOS devices thus allowing faster access on the go
  • Comprehensive sports betting markets
  • Has relatively faster payouts
  • Cons
  • Has a poor customer service

Visit Unibet


Vbet

Vbet live  

Here is another 100% legit site for France that comes with domain .fr. We are referring to Vbet, of course. This bookmaker has a site dedicated to the French market that is licensed by the ANJ – the French gambling authority. Here you will find lots of specials and promotions for French bettors. Be sure to check out their sportsbook for top league matches. Live betting on Vbet.fr is not to be missed thanks to the useful cash-out feature.

  • Pros
  • Licensed by Autorité Nationale des Jeux
  • 100% safe and secure
  • Great sports bonuses
  • Cons
  • No casino in France

Visit Vbet


Bwin

bwin cycling  

The Austrian company Bwin is also another equally reputable betting platform that can be used by French players. Bwin was founded in 1997 and had since been running as one of the very best online gaming and gambling sites with a presence in nearly every continent. The company is based in Austria but holds operating licenses from various authorities, which gives them access to the global gambling market. With Bwin, you will have access to the full range of gambling and betting products, including a comprehensive sportsbook.

  • Pros
  • Multiple poker games on offer
  • Supports the French language
  • 24/7 Customer support services with dedicated phone lines
  • Supports mobile gaming
  • Cons
  • The bonuses offered are relatively low

Visit Bwin


What to consider when choosing a Betting Site in France?

In addition to the few expert-recommended French bookies we have mentioned above, you might want to try out some other options available in the market. This is all good as long as you know how to look out for the red flags before registering and committing your money with any French betting site. Below, we have highlighted some essential factors that you ought to always consider when choosing the French bookie you want to play at:

  • Does the betting site have a license?
    Licensing information is very important since it rubber stamps that you are working with a legit entity. While it is highly recommended that you only play at sites with licenses from ARJEL, you can also try your luck with other offshore sites registered in other territories. If you opt to use this route, then ensure the offshore licensing authority has enough dispute resolution mechanisms to help you out.

  • Does the site support multiple languages, including French?
    Most of the global betting brands will offer English as the default language in their betting sites. For French players, it is important to consider if there is an option to switch the default site language to French and also access customer support services in French.

  • What payments methods can be used for deposits and withdrawals?
    You should only play in a site that accepts deposits and processes withdrawals through means that you can access. In some cases, players can use proxies in other countries to make deposits for them on offshore betting sites that are not licensed in France. This is not advisable since so many things could go wrong. In the next section below, we have highlighted some of the most popular payment platforms that you can use when betting in France.

  • Does this bookie offer any bonuses?
    Bonuses and promotions are integral to a player’s activities on an online bookie. The best French sports betting sites should have bonuses that cover you from the moment you register.

  • Do other French players recommend this bookie?
    Lastly, it is important to listen to what other French players say about the site. In most cases, player reviews give you an unbiased opinion about the betting site, which helps you decide whether you want to play there.
  • Currency: Euro
  • Population: 66,900,000
  • Active Players: Estimated at about 31,000,000
  • Designated Authority: Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) regulates horse race betting, Française des Jeux (FDJ) regulates lotteries, and Autorité de régulation des Jeux en ligne (ARJEL) regulates online gambling platforms
  • Regulated Gambling Products: Lotteries, sports betting, land-based casinos, horse race betting, online sports betting, online poker
  • Types of Operators: Licensed online betting platforms, foreign unlicensed betting platforms, state lotteries, state betting shops

Did you know that?

  • For centuries, France has been the birthplace of many modern-day casino games such as roulette and craps.
  • Other than Poker, all other online casino games are illegal in France.
  • Amid the rapidly growing online gambling market, land-based casinos are still very dominant in the French gambling market.
  • More than 45% of the French people are thought to gamble, spending an estimated 500 Euros annually each actively.
  • Poker is the most popular casino game in France.

Gambling in France

fr flag

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France is with no doubt a powerful economy and among European giants. The French have for centuries been at the forefront in science and innovation as well as the liberal arts. When it comes to gambling, the French have had an even greater impact. Most of the gambling and casino gaming products as we know them today can trace their origins to the ancient French. For instance, the modern roulette table exists thanks to innovative works done by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. It is also in French that the deck of playing cards was redesigned to include the Queen, way back in the 1500s. These pieces of history just serve to show how much the French are tied to gambling activities.

However, as we will be seeing in this article, the current state of gambling in France does not enjoy as much liberty as one would expect from a country with such a rich history in gambling. A few changes in the legal framework have tried to liberalise the gambling industry, but France still remains as one of the highly regulated gambling markets in Europe.

Generally, gambling in France has a legal status. However, when answering this question, it is essential to clarify the types of gambling that are allowed by French law. Being a largely Christian-Catholic society, the attitude towards gambling has generally been negative. This resulted in years of gambling being illegalised in the country. With time, betting on horse racing and greyhounds racing gained popularity among many French; thus, the government loosened their grip on these market. Lotteries also came into the picture, with the first national lottery being authorised way back in 1933.

Land-based casinos and gaming clubs also enjoy legal status. According to the French laws on gambling, land-based casinos and gaming halls can offer betting services on horse racing, greyhounds racing, sports betting, casino games such as slots, table and card games and lotteries. But when you move online, things quite different. For a long time, the French government made it illegal to offer gambling services online. This abolition included mobile gaming as well. This resulted in quite an uproar from key stakeholders who turned to the EU to lobby for changes. By citing anti-competition practices, the lobby groups’ efforts bore fruits in 2010. The French Gambling Act came into force in 2010, creating room for licensing of online betting companies. Under this law, the French Gambling Authority, ARJEL, was established and mandated with regulating the online gambling sector.

It is essential to point out that not all forms of online gambling got the government’s approval. Under the new laws, only online sports betting, online horse race and greyhounds race betting and online poker games were permitted. This means that the French are not allowed to play any other regular online casino games.

So in a nutshell, any operator is prohibited from offering online gambling services, both sports betting and casino gaming, unless the ARJEL licenses them. This prohibition includes a ban on marketing such products while targeting the French population. If found to be in breach of this, it is a criminal offence. For the players, you cannot be convicted for playing in such an unlicensed site, unless on the rare occasions where the case can be twisted to show you aided in money laundering through gambling.


Do French Players get restricted by some bookmakers? Why?

Seeing that the French government has exerted such strict controls on the gambling market, many offshore operators will be shy of venturing here. As such, it is not uncommon for people living in France to get an error message showing they are unable to use the site or they are not allowed to view the site. This happens since many betting sites will be very keen on the IP address being used to register and play. This helps them track the site’s usage as well as how their bonuses are utilised.

Nonetheless, you will not fail to find a few operators who would rather turn a blind eye to all the restrictions and still accept players from France without even holding a license. In other cases, players can hide their IPs in order to access such foreign bookies that are not licensed in France. By doing either of this, you will surely get access to foreign bookies and online casinos. However, there is the risk of playing in such sites since you will have no protection from the French regulatory authority.

How much tax do you pay on gambling winnings in France?

Taxation is another avenue that has been exploited by many governments to curb gambling numbers. The French government also imposes a 2% tax on every winning pot on poker. This applies to both land-based and online gambling. Sports betting and any wagers made on horse and greyhounds racing have been left as tax-free gambling ventures. So when playing in the online poker sites, the players have to be cognizant of these taxation laws.

But an even larger tax burden has been imposed on the operators themselves. First, companies seeking to be licensed here have to meet a corporate tax of about 30%. Then there are taxes on every wager, ranging between 1.7% and 8%. The size depends on the gambling activity the bet has been made on. Such unfriendly taxation terms are one of the reasons not so many operators are too keen with venturing in the French market, which would make little business sense.

About the gambling market

Despite the government’s firm control of the French gambling market, the people have shown a keen interest in gambling as a favourite pastime. Since the 15th Century, France has been a key contributor to casino gaming, often bringing in new ideas to redefine casino games. Currently, the French gambling industry is estimated to be worth about $35 billion, drawing in about 45% of the French adult population.

Land-based casinos and gaming halls are a key player in this market. There are about 215 registered land-based casinos around the country. In addition to these are also several dozens of illegal gaming halls, mostly offering poker games. Poker is, to a great extent, the favourite casino game for many players in France.

Horse race betting is also a vital element of this market. France is home to one of the most prominent racetracks with a capacity to hold over 50,000 people. Pari-mutuel betting is a market often widely liked by many punters.

Unlike in many other developed economies, the online gambling sector has not had such a major disruption for their land-based counterparts. This is because doing business online has been made to look like such a crazy venture, considering the legal and tax implications. Nonetheless, online gambling operators still have a strong presence in France. The most successful of these ventures are those that support sports betting through mobile smartphones and tablets.

The French betting market is somewhat similar to the betting markets in most developed economies. Players will go to the site offering the latest products and betting features. As such, you will find that features like in-play live betting, live streaming of matches, and cash-outs are very popular.

Besides, the country’s laws have also played a part in skewing the betting trends in the country towards certain features. For instance, horse race betting is widespread in the market in France. Sports betting markets in even/uneven outcomes are prohibited so you will not find such in the French bookies.


Available bonuses for players from France

The French gambling market might not be as competitive for online bookies, compared to other lucrative markets in the European region. But the few that operate here have some equally rewarding bonuses and promotions. The critical feature in the promotions offered here is they tend to target new sign-ups. As such, as a new player, you will have plenty of offers to get free play money from. Most of these welcome bonuses will be awarded as a percentage match on your first deposit, typically ranging between 100% and 150% of your first deposit.

You will also find a few bookies with recurrent promotions meant for the regular players. These can be in the form of deposit reload bonuses or VIP loyalty programs. As we mentioned in the tips for getting the best French betting sites, offers are important, and you should check before registering with any site.


The favourite sports of the French bettors

The fact that France is the current holders of the FIFA World Cup simply shows how much the country is inclined towards sports. Generally, French people are actively involved in sports. This is especially so when it comes to global competitions involving national teams or individuals carrying the French flag. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that even the government left online sports betting untouched while online casinos were banned.

The most popular sport in the French gambling market is football. When the 2010 gambling laws came into place, bets towards the FIFA World Cup tournament shot more than three-fold the regular market numbers. Horse racing, tennis, rugby, and motorsports also get a good number of bets from the French punters. Another prevalent sport in this market is cycling, especially during the Tour de France competition.


Are Online Casinos popular on the market?

Relative to other developed economies, online casinos tend to receive much less traffic in France. But this should not be translated to mean that French players do not like casino gaming. In fact, with a country of more than 200 land-based casinos, casino gaming is very much a common pastime for many people here. The main reason why there are fewer online casinos is the set of laws that make poker the only legal casino game to be offered online.

If the market was to be liberalised such that an entire casino gaming catalogue can be offered online, then we would definitely see more traffic towards French online casinos. But as it stands, players can only enjoy casino games such as slots from land-based casinos, or by accessing the unlicensed betting sites based in other countries.


Currency and Preferred Payment Methods in France

Movement of cash online is usually cited by many governments as the reason why they ban online gambling. This has led to many governments blocking avenues of loading and withdrawing money from online gambling platforms. Luckily for the French market, the government has opted not to use this move. French players will have it easy transacting at the online betting sites here since nearly all of them will accept Euros.

For deposits and withdrawals, players can use their debit or credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. There is also the option of using e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill. These e-wallets usually come in handy when playing at the unlicensed offshore sites since they are much safer than using your card.


Bookies with mobile apps for French customers

Being a developed economy, France has a high mobile penetration rate. Smartphones have become an integral part of any ordinary French person’s daily life. This means that even the most traffic for the licensed French bookmaker as well as the offshore ones comes from mobile betting. To meet this market demand, French bookies develop mobile gaming options that are compatible with the most modern smartphones and tablets.

Here you will find apps designed in both android and iOS versions. For instance, William Hill has a very rich mobile app with a complete gaming interface. With most of these top French bookies, they will also design their websites such that they are compatible with any regular mobile browser, in what is normally referred to as mobile optimisation.


FAQs

What is the legal gambling age limit in France?

The legal gambling age in France is 18 years.

Why is it hard to find online casinos licensed in France?

This is because all online casino games are banned in France except for poker.

Why do most big betting brands not apply for the French online gambling license?

The French laws regarding online betting make the market not so very attractive to many international brands. Besides, the high taxation rates leave less to be admired in terms of profits for the operators.

Are lotteries legal in France?

Generally, lotteries are not allowed in France except for the National Lottery, those done exclusively for charity or radio and national TV lotteries.

Will I be breaking any rules by playing in an online casino not licensed by the ARJEL?

Technically, you will not be breaking any rules by playing at such a site. But there could be other legal ramifications for such activity, including drawing unwanted attention on suspicion of money laundering.


Final comment

Whether you are viewing the French market from a player’s or an operator’s point of view, this is definitely not the most attractive of gambling markets. The strict regulations have been a major blocker to the growth of online gaming, especially online casino gaming. It is the hope of many that the pressure from the EU gambling stakeholders will lead to some more changes to liberalise the French market. This would be very important in creating an equal and healthy competitive market, to the benefit of both the players and operators.

One comment for “Best Betting Sites in France
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  1. aprilanderson
    nBonjour, j’ai essayé ce courtage et c’est bien que j’ai gagné. Ils offrent les meilleures chances.
Author: Maria Miteva
Maria Miteva
Maria is an advocate of responsible gambling. Her reviews and articles are well-researched pieces of quality content.