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France at a Glance
Gaming License: No
Non-Gaming License: No

Ministère de l’Intérieur

www.interieur.gouv.fr
+33 1 40 07 60 60
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France Gaming Supplier Regulatory Overview


Introduction

Gambling activity in France is regulated by the Sous Direction des Courses et des Jeux (the “Subdivision of Races and Games” or “SRG”), a division of the Ministry of the Interior. The SRG was established in 1973 to regulate gaming operators throughout the country. The SRG licenses, monitors, and regulates privately owned casinos operating in France. There are approximately 160 state-licensed casinos in France.

In 2010, the country began offering five-year licenses to non-French companies to operate online sports wagering and poker. Online wagering is regulated separately from brick-and-mortar establishments and is limited to games that are predominantly a test of skill, such as poker.

It should be noted that French online poker players are restricted to participating in online games featuring only other French players. In addition, French citizens may only wager on approved online sites that have been licensed by the country’s online gaming regulators.

Casino Gambling Operations

Despite maintaining a robust casino gambling industry, the French government does not directly regulate suppliers of equipment to casino locations. The SRG, however, does heavily police and oversee the casino operators. Operators face numerous restrictions regarding which games are offered for play and the method by which the public is exposed to gambling games. Therefore, coordination with the specific operator is crucial to the supply of gaming equipment in the country.

Online Gambling Operations

In recent years, France has eased its restrictions on foreign online gambling operators. In May 2010, the country amended its gaming laws to provide for the licensure of foreign online gaming operators and to allow for wagering on Internet poker. Although the country has eased its legal restrictions, taxes and fees for operating an online wagering site remain high in comparison to other markets.1

Currently, online wagering is allowed for horse racing, sports wagering, and online poker. Online operators are regulated by the Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (“ARJEL”), an independent administrative authority established in May 2010. ARJEL is responsible for the enforcement of online wagering laws, collecting taxes and fees, and monitoring illegal online wagering activity.2 As of October 2011, ARJEL has approved 33 online gaming operators for operation in the country.3

Operators must submit corporate and personal information to ARJEL for licensing purposes, including the following information:

1. Basic identification information;
2. Organizational structure;
3. List of top management and ownership information;
4. List of those persons or entities holding more than 5% interest in the company;
5. Information showing financial viability; and
6. Criminal, civil, and administrative action history.4

ARJEL has published a detailed list of technical requirements and specifications for operating an online gaming website in the country. These requirements are available on the authority’s website, under the “Obligations des Opérateurs,” located here: www.arjel.fr.5
1'No Jackpot for Online Gambling Firms in France,' Reuters India, April 14, 2010.
2See 'Rôle et Missions,' Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne website, available at http://www.arjel.fr/.
3See 'Liste des Opérateurs Agréés,' Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne website, available at http://www.arjel.fr/.
4ACT No. 2010-476 of 12 May 2010, Ch. 3, Art. 15.
5Note: All information available on the ARJEL website is published in French only.

This article is provided by Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. For information about the services they provide please visit our information on gaming licensing and compliance advisors.