No matter how you slice it, France is an evident segment of history itself. With its Mediterranean shorelines, Roman theatres, landmarks (the Eiffel Tower as a prime illustration), established craftsmanship exhibition halls and art museums, antiquated cave drawings and illustrations, the huge Palace of Versailles, high alpine villages, medieval urban communities, and an extensive rundown of wines, fashion houses, and cosmopolitan cuisine, France is one of the wealthiest nations relating history and significance. Presently, what makes France a refined gambling destination, is the number of licit gambling facilities and activities within this Western European nation and the number of games – some controversial, some factual – introduced by the French people.
Gambling has an intriguing history in France considering it has been on the scene since around the 15th century and is respected for having contributed largely to gambling and casino games. Yet, gambling-as an activity-received its first embargo in 1254 by Saint Louis. Accordingly, the ban was even strengthened in 1319, 1369, 1560, and 1577 by Charles IV, Charles V, Charles IX, and Henri III respectively. However, Francis, I authorized a “blanque” (similar to a lottery) – which was the very first form of authorized gambling to ever occur in France – in May 1539, before Charles IX and Henri III’s bans.
In the 1500s, the Queen replaced the Nobleman and became an important feature of the deck – all in France. This particular deck system is used throughout the world today as the 52-card deck. Between the 16th and 18th centuries when the West rose to prominence, the lottery, found its way to France and became popular. But by the 17th century, there were 15 royal acts issued by numerous parliaments against gambling.
The bans were heavily supported by both religious bodies and political figures until years into Louis XIV’s reign when the government realized there was nothing to entertain the country’s elite citizens and upper classes. Gambling was tendered as an effective solution and followed by recommendations from French authority figures, it was ratified between the late 17th century and early 18th century.
France is generally responsible for the popularity of gambling in the United States of America and the world in entirety – following its influence across the Mississippi trade course. In the 17th century (around 1655), roulette (“Little Wheel”) – according to some historians – was created by either a French mathematician named Blaise Pascal, a group of random and unknown French monks, or French Dominican monks who were inspired by an ancient Tibetan game.
However, some historians and gamblers believe the casino game came into existence in the 1720s and was inspired by the combination of a gaming wheel and Biribi (an Italian game), Roly-Poly (an English game), Hoca (an Italian game), Ace of Hearts or Bone-Ace (an English game), or Even-Odd (an English game).
Particularly, Hoca was very popular in France following an order by Italian diplomat Cardinal Mazarin – General Secretary of France at the time – to establish a number of special Hoca casinos to fund the state budget.
Regardless of which origin story is true, it is apparent that roulette was invented by one or more French natives. Yet, the first appearance of people placing wagers on roulette was in 1796 at the Palais Royal situated in Paris.
Meanwhile, roulette alongside dice, Hoca, and faro were banned in New France (French colony in North America later relinquished to Spain and Britain) as far back as 1758. Additionally, French author Jaques Lablee described roulette in an 1801 book titled La Roulette, ou le Jour. Nevertheless, black was used for the double zero and red was used for the single zero in the original French roulette. In the 1800s, green was picked for all zeros. In 1843, French twin brothers François and Louis Blanc presented the single 0 style roulette wheel in Bad Homburg.
In addition to roulette, France has a footmark in blackjack history considering the fact that three French games – trente-un (31) from 1570, Vingt et un (21) from the 17th century and quinze (15) – are considered the ancestors of blackjack alongside Spanish game ventiuna (21) which first appeared in 1601. While the earliest appearance of quinze is unknown, it is believed that the French played it decades before trente-un.
In actuality, blackjack was greatly influenced by Vingt et un on the whole of its popularity amongst the rich (French statesman Napoléon Bonaparte as a prime example) and even the poor. Blackjack was eventually invented in the late 18th century. This was the period when the French stood up to fight for their independence from a tyrannical autocracy. The independence fight yielded a positive result on July 14th, 1789, known widely as the Bastille Day.
Pari-mutuel betting then emanated from the French in the 19th century, probably 1870. Also, a game similar to baccarat called chemin de fer was invented around the same period. However, another version of baccarat – which is the oldest casino game – first appeared in France in the 1400s and was transported from Italy.
Further, the first gambling legalization law of modern France was passed in 1907. Concurrently, Casino Barrière Enghien-les-Bains was established six years earlier (1901) in Enghien-les-Bains while Le Touquet Casino dates back to 1903. Also, the construction of Casino Le Lyon Vert started in the late-1870s and was founded in 1882.
Moreover, the pioneer of casinos in France is difficult to define as casino gambling has been in the country centuries before Casino Barrière Enghien-les-Bains. But, ideally, those casino activities could have been operated on the streets or in small gambling houses.
Nonetheless, the first casino in France is sometimes linked to Casino de Monte-Carlo which was opened as far back as 1863 in Monaco. At the time, Monaco was under the control of France so Casino de Monte-Carlo was technically established as a French casino following the special Franco-Monegasque relations and Monaco being a protectorate of France.
Finally, Spielbank Bad Homburg has been around for more than 170 years – i.e. the 1840s. Therefore, this casino is probably the very first casino to ever open in France. The idea that French casinos were created in the 18th century is unsupported by any concrete document or record.
Groupe Lucien Barrière – the parent of Casino Barrière Enghien-les-Bains – was created in the 1950s and operates a number of acquired and new French casinos till this day. Similarly, Groupe Partouche was created in 1973 and also operates a number of casinos across France. Summarily, Groupe Lucien Barrière and Groupe Partouche are the two main casino brands in France.
Despite all the aforementioned inventions, notwithstanding, slot machines (invented in the United States in 1894) are the most popular form of gambling in France ever since they were legalized in 1988. A year earlier, French lawmakers shifted the legal minimum gambling age from 21 to 18 years.
Today, gambling is under the control of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs, regulated by Commission Supérieure des Jeux and Pari Mutuel Urbain, and greatly operated by two government companies: PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain) and PMH (Pari Mutuel Hippodrome). Despite that, another company – ARJEL (Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne) – operates the licensing and regulation of online gambling in France since its creation in 2010. Along with the creation of the Gambling Act (officially Law No 2010-476) which minimized the state monopoly by dint of the European Union pressuring the French government since the early 2000s to loosen its strict gambling law, the gambling laws of France was last modified on May 12th, 2010.
In contrast, the May 14th, 2007 modification added more complications to the strict laws by making the licensing of a casino more complicated and time-consuming than necessary. An aspiring operator would first have to send his/her application to a local government advisory committee which will review the application and consider the expected competition and profitability, then the local verdict – positive or negative – will be tendered to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry will pass it through its own rigorous tests and abide by a final, federal decision.
Nonetheless, the verdict – whether positive or negative – have to reach the Ministry of Finance as well.
Moving on, the 2010 Act disqualified casino games and machines to be played online because they are believed to be more addictive than poker horse racing, and sports betting. Therefore, poker, horse racing, and sports betting are the only nationally licensable games available online for the French people, residents, and visitors.
Although the modification seemed appreciable for both players and operators, many casinos and other gambling facilities had to shut down as a consequence of the new taxation system. While the industry average is 4.5 percent, poker players are taxed at 7.5 percent in France. Sports betting, on the other hand, went up to 8.5 percent. As a result of this, many gambling websites that received a license after the Act have forfeited the country for its high tax rate.
With 213 functional casinos, France offers one of the largest gambling industry in Europe and the whole world. In addition to casinos, there are numerous gaming arcades, sports betting shops, bingo halls, poker rooms, cruise ships, horse racetracks, dog racetracks, and racinos. This is as a result of all forms of gambling facilities and activities being legal in France. The PMU and PMH operate horseracing betting while the Commission Supérieure des Jeux operates other forms of gambling.
France has always been credited for its cultural, entertainment, wine and food features, et its gambling atmosphere is another feature. With uniquely charming buildings, a long rundown of gambling varieties, friendly residents, and elegant services, French casinos have one of the best gambling atmospheres on the planet. What makes French casinos stand out, even more, is the diversity. So, whether for luxury, variety, history, security, or transparency, a player will always find his/her choice in France.
The 213 casinos in France are situated in more than 168 cities, municipalities, and towns. In fact, most areas feature a casino each while others feature two to three casinos. Areas such as Paris, Cannes, Aix-les-Bains, Antibes, Balaruc-les-Bains, Argeles, La Ciotat, Le Touquet, Les Sables d’Olonne, Nice, and Villers-sur-Mer are those with more than one casino. Concurrently, the largest gambling city is Cannes with three casinos, more than 655 gaming machines, and over 63 table games.
Despite the figure of casinos breaching 200, Casino Barrière d’Enghien-les-Bains is the largest gambling facility in France. The epic casino offers 500 gaming machines and 43 table games on a 64,000 square feet footage land. With more than 176 Video Poker machines, 334 slot machines, and 14 table games, Casino Le Lyon Vert is the second largest casino in France.
It is safe to say France offers more than just casinos. In fact, casino games are not as popular as a handful of other forms of gambling in the country. France, as earlier stated, features a number of horse racetracks, sports betting shops, cruise ships, poker rooms, bingo halls, gaming arcades, and lottery outlets. And as with other European countries, French countries are situated in hotels, resorts, spas and many others.
In French casinos, the player will find French roulette, Hold’em poker, English roulette, blackjack, baccarat, Poker 21, American roulette, Omaha, 3 Card Poker, Courchevel, Railroad, punto banco, Caribbean Stud poker, craps, slot machines, Stud poker, Chemin de Fer, ball, battle, No Limit Texas Hold’em poker, Trente et Quarante, video poker, regular poker, Le Multicolore, Le Boule, and many others.
Poker is particularly well-known in France and plentiful tournaments are held spontaneously. Places such as Aviation Club de France are popular within and even outside the country for they hold the annual, ever-growing World Poker Tour tournament. Bingo is also popular and has been for some centuries now. Bingo games are operated alongside lottery games by the La Française des Jeux.
Pari-mutuel betting is not just popular in France, it is a national tradition and there are more than 250 fully functional racetracks. In addition, the Pari Mutuel Urbain (created in 1930) and offers more than 8000 off-track outlets within France as of today. Summarily, outlets throughout the country (such as shops, kiosks, and bars) licensed by the PMU and PMH account for 80 percent of all pari-mutuel bettings while racetracks account for the remaining 20 percent.
Sports betting (excluding horse racing) is also popular in France, considering how popular football (or soccer) is. There are numerous (quite innumerable) sports betting shops in France and most French people bet on sporting events online.
Similar to other countries, the lottery is state monopolized business and conducted by a government company. In France’s case, the company is La Française des Jeux and conducts numerous offline and online lottery games for the course of social development.
Besides, online gambling is legal in France although a bit complicated. Nonetheless, people can gamble on both local and foreign websites without any prosecution. Lastly, Bitcoin gambling is present in France because it is considered online gambling, and the use of Bitcoin is widespread across the length and breadth of the country. There are many Bitcoin ATMs in French cities and a number of popular stores currently accept the cryptocurrency.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of France.
3.14 Cannes Casino, Hotel & Plage
Casino Argeles Gazost
Casino Barrière Benodet
Casino Barrière Besancon
Casino Barrière Blotzheim
Casino Barrière Briancon
Casino Barrière Carnac
Casino Barrière d’Enghien-les-Bains
Casino Barrière d’Hossegor
Casino Barrière Dax
Casino Barrière de Biarritz
Casino Barrière de Carry-le-Rouet
Casino Barrière de Deauville
Casino Barrière de Menton
Casino Barrière de Trouville
Casino Barrière Dinard
Casino Barrière Jonzac
Casino Barrière La Baule
Casino Barrière La Rochelle
Casino Barrière le Ruhl de Nice
Casino Barrière le Touquet
Casino Barrière Megève
Casino Barrière Niederbronn
Casino Barrière Ouistreham
Casino Barrière Perros-Guirec
Casino Barrière Ribeauville
Casino Barrière Royan
Casino Barrière Saint Raphael
Casino Barrière Saint-Malo
Casino Barrière Sainte-Maxime
Casino d’Andernos – Le Miami
Casino d’Antibes ‘La Siesta’
Casino d’Arcachon ‘La Plage’
Casino de Bagnoles de l’Orne
Casino de Bagnères de Bigorre
Casino de Barbazan
Casino de Berck-Sur-Mer
Casino de Biscarosse Plage – Biscarosse
Casino de Boulogne-sur-Mer
Casino de Bourbon L’Archambault
Casino de Bourbon-Lancy
Casino de Bourbonne les Bains
Casino de Brides les Bains
Casino de Cabourg
Casino de Cagnes sur Mer
Casino de Calais
Casino de Capbreton
Casino de Capvern
Casino de Carry le Rouet
Casino de Cassis
Casino de Casteljaloux
Casino de Castera Verduzan
Casino de Cauteret
Casino de Cayeux
Casino de Cazaubon-Barbotan
Casino de Challes-les-Eaux
Casino de Chamonix
Casino de Chatel-Guyon
Casino de Chatelaillon
Casino de Chatelaillon-Plage
Casino de Chaudes-Aigues
Casino de Cherbourg
Casino de Contrexeville
Casino de Dax
Casino de Dieppe
Casino de Divonne
Casino de Dunkerque
Casino de Font Romeu
Casino de Fouras
Casino De Frehel
Casino de Fécamp
Casino de Granville
Casino de Grasse
Casino de Grau du Roi
Casino de Hauteville Lompnes
Casino de Hendaye
Casino de Houlgate
Casino de Hyeres
Casino de la Cote d’Argent
Casino de La Faute sur Mer
Casino de la Grande Motte
Casino de La Roche Posay
Casino de la’Amiraute
Casino de Lamalou-les-Bains
Casino de Luc sur Mer
Casino de Luchon
Casino de Luxeuil-les-Bains
Casino de Luz Saint Sauveur
Casino de Palavas-les-Flots
Casino de Pau
Casino de Plombieres les Bains
Casino de Plouescat
Casino de Pornic
Casino de Pornichet
Casino de Roscoff
Casino de Royat
Casino de Saint Brevin
Casino de Saint Brevin l’Ocean
Casino de Saint Gervais les Bains
Casino de Saint Jean de Monts
Casino de Saint Nectaire
Casino de Saint Paul les Dax – Cesar Palace
Casino de Saint Quay Portrieux
Casino de Saint Valery
Casino de Saint-Amand-les-Eaux
Casino de Saint-Aubin sur Mer
Casino de Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
Casino de Saint-Honoré-les-Bains
Casino de Saint-Julien
Casino de Saint-Malo
Casino de Saint-Pair sur Mer
Casino de Sainte Maxime
Casino de Salies-de-Béarn
Casino de Salins les Bains
Casino de Sete
Casino de Soulac
Casino de Valras-Plage
Casino de Vals les Bains
Casino de Vernet les Bains
Casino de Veulettes sur Mer
Casino de Vic sur Cère
Casino de Villard-de-Lans
Casino de Villers sur Mer
Casino de Vittel
Casino des Eaux Bonnes
Casino des Fumades
Casino des Pins
Casino des Sources – Santennay
Casino du Boulou
Casino du Cap d’ Agde
Casino du Mont-Dore
Casino du Parc Besançon
Casino Eden – Juan-les-Pins
Casino Elysee Palace de Vichy
Casino Fort Mahon Plage
Casino Grand Annemasse
Casino Grand Cercle
Casino Jeux de Lons le Saunier
Casino JOA Ax-les-Thermes
Casino JOA D’Etretat
Casino JOA D’Uriage
Casino JOA De Canet
Casino JOA De Gerardmer
Casino JOA De Montrond
Casino JOA De Santenay
Casino JOA du Boulou
Casino JOA Du Treport
Casino JOA La Seyne
Casino JOA Les Pins
Casino JOA St-Aubin
Casino JOA St-Cyprien
Casino JOA St-Jean-De-Luz
Casino la Bourboule
Casino Lacanau Ocean
Casino Le Lion Blanc Saint-Glamier
Casino Le Lyon Vert
Casino le Phoebus
Casino le Touquet’s – Calais
Casino Les Flots Bleus
Casino les Quatre Saisons – Le Touquet
Casino Monte – Carlo
Casino Municipal D’Aix-en-Provence
Casino Neris les Bains
Casino Partouche d’Agon-Coutainville
Casino Planetarium de Pougues les Eaux
Casino Pleneuf Val Andre
Casino Port Crouesty
Casino Port La Nouvelle
Casino Salies Salat
Casino Theatre Barrière Toulouse
Casino Theatre de Bordeaux
Casino Vichy Grand Café
Chin Casino Barrière
Grand Casino de Bandol
Grand Casino de Beaulieu
Grand Casino de Forges-les-Eaux
Hotel Casino Barrière Lille
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Meiterranee
L’Imperial Palace Casino
Le Croisette – Cannes Casino Barrière
Le Havre Casino
Les Princes Casino Barrière Cannes
Nouveau Casino d’Aix-les-Bains
Palm Beach Casino
Pullman Cannes Mandelieu Royal Casino
The Atlantes – Casino of Barrière Olumn Sands
The Palace Casino Barrière Touquet
– Since 1987, the minimum gambling age in France has been 18 years.
– Although based in Monaco, Casino Monte – Carlo is generally considered to be a French casino.
– The Paris pattern of roulette utilizes mythological and historical figures for each court card.
– While people consider the ancestor of Roulette to be Biribi, Roly-Poly, Hoca, Ace of Hearts or Bone-Ace, or Even-Odd, the descriptions of each has shown that Even-Odd is the closest answer because of its similar mechanism. Some even believe Roly-Poly was another name for Roulette or a variation of E.O.
– Casino Le Lyon Vert has been renamed more than once.
– The gross profit of Casino Barrière d’Enghien-les-Bains was €135 million in 2006. Slots accounted for about 70 percent while table games accounted for 30 percent.
– Casino Barrière le Ruhl de Nice is cleaved into two distinct atmospheres: the Golden Gate and the Dolce Vita. The former features a tighten, celebrated atmosphere while the latter is more relaxing and perfect for gentlemen.
– Casino d’Agon-Coutainville is not a casino but a racino – which means both horse racing betting and casino gambling are provided.
– Joseph Jagger, a British engineer, discovered that there was an outrageous bias in one of the six roulette wheels at Casino de Monte Carlo in 1873, which caused some particular numbers to appear frequently. Seeing this, he won millions of Francs but was later stopped when the casino operators noticed and fixed the flaw. Similarly, Charles Wells won one and a half million Francs at Casino de Monte Carlo using the money he swindled off people with the now-debunked Martingale system. Both occurrences became popular in the late 19th century as Fred Gilbert sang “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” which was popularised by Charles Coborn.
– Phil Ivey is an important poker star in the history of Casino de Monte Carlo. He came third place amongst 80 competitors in the 2014 Monte Carlo Millions, won $1 million in the tournament in 2015, and won the Monte Carlo Millions Invitational Event the following day.
– With more than 200 slot machines in 42 casinos within France, the Megapot progressive jackpot is a recurring progressive jackpot operated by Groupe Partouche. The only requirement is a €2 wager which is the maximum amount.
– Hippodrome de Longchamp, the most popular horse racetrack in France, welcomes more than 50,000 people.
– The Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is the third largest horseracing company in the world, the second to ever exist in the world, and the first of its kind in Europe.
– Between two months after online gambling was legalized in 2010, about 35 companies (for example, PokerStars and Party Poker) received licenses to provide online gambling activities, and approximately 1.2 million accounts were created and wagered about €83 million. However, more than 15 out of the 35 licensees stopped their operations within the country in a few months following the high taxation system.
– France’s gambling industry is worth nothing less than $35 billion.
– Only 45 percent of the French people gamble, which is incomparable to Australians’ 85 percent.
– The average online gambling expense per person is €570 annually.
– Following the Gambling Act of 2010, online players are not allowed to play with foreign players when playing on websites licensed in France so most natives just gamble on offshore websites – which is legal.
– The Ministry of Home Affairs inspects a casino every three years and will issue a five-year license once the casino passes the inspection.
– There are about 92 licensed gambling websites in France.
– Casino Barrière d’Enghien-les-Bains welcomes more than 500,000 different people per annum. The casino is also the second most toured place in Val-d’Oise.
– The Sous-Direction des Courses et des Jeux is a special police unit which investigates any possible gambling crime within France.
– Amongst 213 casinos, Groupe Partouche owns 45, JOA owns 22, and Groupe Lucien Barrière (with Société Fermière of the Casino Municipal de Cannes) owns about 37 – almost half of the total figure.
– La Française des Jeux was founded in 1933 and the French government owns 72 percent of its entire stock.
– The French government, in a 2008 announcement, stated plans to privatise La Française des Jeux the following year. Yet, the lottery is still controlled by the government in 2018.
– EuroMillions was launched on January 7, 2004, by La Française des Jeux, Camelot (the UK), and Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (Spain).
– The wide popularity of poker in France has seen a decrease in the Law No 2010-476 was passed, mainly because of the tax rates.
– In May 2006, two tickets won €30 million. On June 6, 2011, a ticket won €24 million. Both in the French SuperLotto.
– In the French Magic Jackpot, a 52-year-old Vannes retiree staked €300 and won €9.4 million on March 28th, 2011. In the same jackpot, a 28-year-old Paris chef staked €1.5 and won €3.6 million in 2013.
– In Casino de Bagnères de Bigorre, a family from Pierrefitte Nestals – celebrating the couple’s 13th wedding anniversary – won €5,512,448 in the Magic Jackpot. They chose the number 13, what a coincidence! They bought a yacht almost immediately they received their prize.
– Before the creation of casinos, there were cercles de jeux in France (which translates to gaming circles). They were later banned because they were backed by Mafias. However, the government is currently working on re-opening them.
– Most French casinos are located in touristic cities and spa towns. This is why most contains the phrase “les-bains” – which literally means “the baths.”