What's on Practical Law? Show less Show more. Ask a question. Related Content. Legislative framework of gambling regulation Overview. What legislation applies to gambling? What is the legal definition of gambling in your jurisdiction and what falls within this definition? What are the regulatory or governmental bodies that are responsible for supervising gambling? What gambling products have been specifically identified by legislation, and what different requirements have been established for each?
What is the licensing regime if any for land-based gambling? What are the limitations or requirements imposed on land-based gambling operators? What is the licensing regime if any for online gambling? What are the limitations or requirements imposed on online gambling operators? Is there a distinction between the law applicable between B2B operations and B2C operations in online gambling?
What technical measures are in place if any to protect consumers from unlicensed operators, such as ISP blocking and payment blocking? Mobile gambling and interactive gambling What differences if any are there between the regulation of mobile gambling and interactive gambling on television?
Therefore, the licensing regime of these products will not be discussed further. The organisation of horse betting is limited to mutual betting, completely managed by PMU, which has a monopoly. The rest of this section will focus on the licensing regime for casinos and clubs.
Some general restrictions exist about the geographic area in which some gambling products can be offered. The main geographic restriction is that a gaming club cannot be opened in the same city where there is a casino Article 13, Order dated 15 July on the regulation of games in clubs. Eligibility Casinos. Authorisations for casinos are granted for the single establishment where games are played by the public, regardless of the entity operating it. A single entity can theoretically operate several casinos in different places.
There is no requirement on the form of incorporation of a casino operator and the law even allows casinos to be owned by individuals. Casinos can be authorised in sea, thermal, climatic and tourist resorts and on certain ships Articles L. The authorisation process is slightly different for casinos located on ships. Gaming clubs. To be licensed, gaming clubs used to have to be operated by a non-profit association.
However, a reform introduced a three-year experiment in Paris for gaming clubs. The company operating a gaming club must be incorporated in accordance with French law and its registered office must be in Paris. It must also designate a statutory auditor.
The director and other members of the board of directors of the applicant must be approved by the Minister of Home Affairs on the condition that they do not hold elective office in Paris Article 11, Order dated 13 September Clubs can hire whoever they want, but all employees, regardless of their function, must be licensed before they start working. A similar licence application to the one for casino employees is required for gaming club employees Articles 21 of Order dated 13 September Authorisation from the Minister of Home Affairs is required for gaming clubs Article 9, Decree of 9 May on conditions of experimentation of games in clubs in Paris and on casinos.
Application procedure Casinos. Obtaining a licence for a land-based casino is a long and complicated process. A casino must conclude an agreement with the city in which it will be located and be authorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs to begin operating. This authorisation is granted in the form of a delegation of public service similar to a concession. The authorisation is temporary and subject to permanent control by various administrations.
There are reporting duties and the authorisation process is partly carried out by calling for tenders. The operator of a casino must obtain a global licence for the whole activity conducted in one place a single licence for a single casino operator in a single place.
There is no distinct licence for the premises or the type of games that are offered. Everything must be described in the authorisation submission. In addition to the "main" licence for the casino operator, the casino's employees and suppliers must also be licensed. To obtain its licence, the casino operator must also conclude an agreement with the city in which the casino will be set up.
Any additional licence required from a casino operator will relate to selling alcohol but will not relate to gaming activities per se. If no response is received to an application within four months of applying, this is deemed to be a denial of the authorisation Article R.
Under similar rules as those applying to casinos, gaming clubs require a single licence for the whole scope of their activity in a single place. This licence will describe the authorised scope of activity of the gaming club. The police department of the Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for supervising gambling establishments also issues an opinion. The Ministry of Home Affairs rules on the request after receiving the opinion of the Commission Consultative des Jeux de Cercle et de Casinos Consultative Commission on Club Games and Casinos , which is tasked with reviewing authorisation requests and investigating measures that will be implemented by the operator to prevent excessive gambling.
The full list of supporting documentation required is set out in Article 2 of the Order dated 13 September If no response is received from the Ministry of Home Affairs application within four months of applying, this is deemed to be a denial of the authorisation Article 10, Decree of 9 May on conditions of experimentation of games in clubs in Paris and on casinos. The authorisation is strictly personal to the club and cannot be used, transferred or assigned in any way to another club or any other entity.
Any modification of the name, headquarters of the club, or any change in the members of its board of directors, is interpreted by French law as the creation of a new club, requiring a new request for authorisation. The temporary authorisation can be revoked, partially or totally, or suspended for a maximum of four months in case of a breach of the applicable law. The Ordinance of 2 October provides that the ANJ can automatically revoke an operator's licence if the operator:.
No longer fulfils the conditions of its licence. Makes no use of its licence within 12 months of getting it. Ceases its activity for at least six months. Duration of licence and cost Casinos. The agreement with the city lasts for a maximum of 20 years. The law does not specify the duration of casino licences or their cost but only states that such licences are temporary and that their duration is set in the decision granting the licence. The duration of temporary authorisation will be determined by the Minister of Home Affairs and will not last longer than the three-year experiment.
For a period of one year from 1 January , the gaming clubs with a licence to operate in force on 31 December will continue to be governed by the old regime Article 34, Law Changes of corporate control When a legal entity applies for a casino licence, it must provide information on shareholding list of partners, respective share number and so on in the application file.
If any of this information changes, the entity usually must file a new licence application with the updated information. Licences granted to casino operators are personal and cannot be assigned, transferred or delegated. What are the limitations or requirements imposed on land-based gambling operators? Prohibitions Minors are prohibited from participating in any gambling activities, except for certain types of lotteries lotteries exclusively for charitable acts, encouragement of arts or financing non-profit activities, lotteries in fair ground and traditional bingo.
Additionally, the new Article L. Gambling operators must prevent minors, even emancipated minors, from participating in their gambling activities. Restrictions All land-based gambling operators must prevent players from participating in gambling activities if they are on the list of persons prohibited from gambling. People can be listed voluntarily for three years, or involuntarily people that were criminally sentenced and excluded by a judge from gambling facilities or people whose conduct is likely to disturb the proper execution of the games or the tranquillity and order of the facilities.
Gaming clubs can only allow members of the club to enter. Anti-money laundering legislation Land-based gambling operators must implement measures to Article L. Identify the client. Appoint a correspondent in charge of notifying the French anti-money laundering authority, the Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins TRACFIN of suspicious operations.
What is the licensing regime if any for online gambling? An online operator can only offer gambling products in France that is, websites which target French-resident customers if licensed by ANJ before commencing gambling operations. Platform providers do not need to ask for a licence directly, but operators seeking a licence must have the gaming software that they use approved by ANJ.
In addition, all suppliers must be mentioned in the licence application. Contracts concluded with suppliers must also be provided when submitting the licence application. In the case of white labels, a distinction must be drawn between the company owning the trade mark under which a gambling website is operated and the company actually operating the website that is, having full control of the gaming software.
In this case, the white label operator needs a licence but the trade mark owner does not. Since the opening of the online gambling market, the European Commission has closed all proceedings against France. Some voices in the market claim that the French system may not be fully compliant with EU rules, because not all gambling products can be offered online. In this case, Zeturf claimed that the French monopoly on online horse betting was contrary to freedom of services.
However, the ECJ ruled that the monopoly is legitimate as long as it serves to protect consumer interests against excessive gaming and help the fight against money laundering. So far, the Commission has not given any indication of new concerns about the French regulatory framework. Available licences Licences are available for the following three gambling products:.
A licence must be sought individually for each one of these products. An operator can be licensed to offer all three gambling products, but it will have to undertake three separate licensing processes. A licensed operator can also operate several gambling websites with a single licence, provided that it has been granted for all the contemplated websites. There is no limit on the number of licences that can be granted by ANJ. Eligibility There is no requirement on the form of incorporation for an online gambling operator.
The law even authorises individuals to operate a gambling website. However, to be eligible for a French online gambling licence, the operator must have its headquarters located in the EU or in an EEA state that has a treaty with France about the fight against fraud and tax evasion.
Operators headquartered or controlled by a company headquartered in a state without a tax treaty are not eligible either. If the country did not comply with its obligations under the treaty, any operators headquartered there will not be able to get a licence.
Application procedure The application procedure is similar for all three licences but a separate licence must be granted for each offering. An operator must complete a form and submit it to ANJ providing information on specific legal and financial elements and on technical features. The application also contains an undertaking from the operator to give to all authorised agents of ANJ access to their premises and in particular to the hosting facilities where the Front End is stored the Front End being the hardware collecting and archiving the data.
While reviewing the licence application, ANJ can request any additional information and documents from operators. ANJ's review cannot last longer than four months. In the absence of a reply from ANJ after four months, the licence is deemed to be denied. Duration of licence and cost The licence is granted for five years and cannot be assigned.
Every five years, operators must renew their licence s by filing a renewal form with ANJ. After the licence is granted, the operator is subject to a series of system verifications, compliance audits and reporting requirements. Changes of corporate control Licences for online gambling are not assignable. In the event of significant change the licensee's shareholdings, the licensee must inform the ANJ which will determine the necessary information to be provided. The ANJ could ask the licensee to submit a new licence application for approval within a month following the change s.
What are the limitations or requirements imposed on online gambling operators? Prohibitions Minors are prohibited from participating in online gambling, and online gambling operators must prevent minors even emancipated minors from participating in their gambling activities.
In addition, licensed online operators must display a warning on their website stating that minors cannot participate in gambling activities. The licensed operator must require the input of a player's age when the player subscribes and visits its websites. Restrictions Licensed online operators must prevent anyone who is on the list of persons prohibited from gambling from subscribing to its gambling platform and must terminate the account of any player who gets on to the prohibited list.
Licensed operators must also offer a self-exclusion mechanism enabling players to seek self-exclusion decided by the player with a minimum of twenty-four hours and a maximum of twelve months from the games. Such exclusion prevents them from accessing the gambling offer during the set period. Licensed operators must also require that players, as soon as they open their account, set a weekly limit on:. The cumulated cash wire transfers players can make from their bank account to their gambling account on the licensed operator's website.
The cumulated amount of stakes the player can use. The cumulated amount of deposit the player will be able to make. Licensed operators which offer online circle games must require that players set a limit to their effective playing time total time a player spends at a gaming table from the time the cards are dealt in the first game in which he or she participates until the time he or she leaves the table.
No gambling operation can be carried out until the player has set this limit, which cannot be predefined by the operator. Licensed operators must display on their website information on the possibility for players to voluntarily put themselves on the list of persons prohibited from gambling, as well as information on the assistance that is available for players to prevent pathologic gambling.
Identify their clients. In addition, licensed online operators must comply with any asset-freeze measure issued by the government over the funds of specific individuals or organisations. Licensed operators' compliance with the anti-money laundering legislation is controlled by ANJ. B2B and B2C. Is there a distinction between the law applicable between B2B operations and B2C operations in online gambling? ANJ regulates online gambling operators and only answers to operators and not to players or providers of technical solutions such as providers of gambling software.
In this particular aspect, there is a noticeable difference between French law and English law which has created a specific licence for the providers of technical solutions. This has raised a lot of issues in the French online gambling industry. As part of ANJ's monitoring and controlling powers, all operators must perform certification audits. These include one technical audit of their Front End see Question 7, Application procedure six months following the launch of their platform and one yearly legal and financial certification audit each year on the anniversary date of the licence.
Although most elements to be audited are in the hands of the platform providers, only the operator has the certification obligation. Therefore, a number of difficulties are often encountered in the certification process. As for white labelling, only operators providing the white label websites that is, websites produced by one company under the brand of another company are liable for the services provided.
In addition, all domain names even for the websites operated under a white label must be listed in the licence application or later authorised by an ANJ decision and are therefore assimilated to one operator. The trade mark owner has no direct relationship with ANJ. Technical measures. What technical measures are in place if any to protect consumers from unlicensed operators, such as ISP blocking and payment blocking?
In addition, the Minister of Budget can, on a proposal from ANJ, ban any movement or transfer of funds from unlicensed operator accounts for a renewable period of six months Article L. Mobile gambling and interactive gambling What differences if any are there between the regulation of mobile gambling and interactive gambling on television? The Online Gaming Law was designed to cover internet gambling in general, so mobile gambling and interactive gambling on television are not specifically addressed in this law.
However, some online licensed gambling operators have developed mobile gambling and interactive gambling offers. These offers have not been deemed illegal by ARJEL, which has simply requested that the operators concerned submit their software for new approval in relation to the additional services.
Social gaming How is social gaming regulated in your jurisdiction? There is no specific social gaming regulation in France. Social gaming is nonetheless subject to the general prohibitions on lotteries see Question 4, Lottery. Considering that the skill of a player is not a relevant criterion anymore, any social game offered to the public can constitute a prohibited lottery if both:. The game is not free to play.
The game offers a prize to which a monetary value can be attributed. Virtual currencies used in social games can lead the game to be considered as a prohibited lottery. In fact, requiring payment in a virtual currency can potentially constitute a financial sacrifice and granting prizes in virtual currencies can potentially constitute a prize with a monetary value, especially if the virtual currency can be purchased with real money or can be exchanged for prizes with a monetary value.
Blockchain technology To what extent is blockchain used in gambling in your jurisdiction? How is it regulated? There is no specific legislation in France regulating the use of blockchain technologies in gambling. Use of cryptocurrency in online gambling : Players' game accounts can only be provisioned with certain payment instruments, which do not allow Bitcoin Law No.
On the other hand, there is a legal void with respect to the indirect provision of accounts via cryptomarketing platforms, which could be in line with current legislation. In an internal note, the former 'ARJEL' now 'ANJ' indicates that to date, nothing prevents an operator from distributing bitcoins to its online players as a bonus or "in kind" winnings.
A few online gaming operators use blockchain technology to verify that online gaming is performed fairly by the operator using algorithms to show that the results are random and have not been manipulated by the operator. Gambling debts Are gambling debts enforceable in your jurisdiction? Gambling or betting debts are not enforceable Article , Civil Code. There is, however, an exception to this prohibition if a client purchases casino chips with a cheque that is not supported by sufficient funds.
The casino can demand payment of this specific debt. Tax What are the applicable tax regimes for land-based and online gambling? For both land-based and online gambling, different taxes apply depending on the betting and gambling activities. Taxation can either be based on the wagers or on the gross gambling revenue. The recent Pacte Reform has modified the regulatory framework of the gaming including its taxation regime.
As of 1 January , taxation for sports betting's and lottery games will no longer be based on players' wagers but on the gross revenue from games that is, the real turnover of operators and the tax rates will change. Land-based gambling Casinos.
Finally, casinos are also subject to the following social contributions:. CSG: Casinos on French cruise ships are subject to additional contributions on the casino's gross gambling revenue according to article D of the GLAC. Special tax rules apply to gaming clubs.
The revenues of gaming clubs are gathered in the form of a pot cagnotte that is composed of the gross gaming revenue generated by the clubs. The tax rate varies depending on the bracket of annual revenue, as provided for by Article of the French Tax Code. Article 34 of Law provided for the experimental trial in Paris of gaming clubs for three years as from 1 January See Question 5, Duration of licence and cost : Gaming clubs. The tax rate varies depending on the bracket of net proceeds as follows:.
The tax for the National Centre for Sports applies. It amounts to 1. A rate of 0. The total amount of tax is 2. Two separate social contributions must be paid:. One of 8. From January , the tax contribution of lotteries will amount to:. Draw games: Horse betting. The tax contribution for horse betting is 5. The social security contribution is 1. Sports betting. The tax contribution for sports betting is 5.
As of January , the tax contribution for sports betting will amount to The social security contribution will amount to 6. Online gambling Online sports betting. The taxes are the same as for land-based sports betting see above, Land-based gambling. As of 1 January , the tax contribution for online sports betting will amount to The social security contribution will amount to The tax contribution for online poker is 1.
The social security contribution is 0. The tax contribution for online horse betting is 5. VAT exemption Operating revenue revenu d'exploitation related to the organisation of betting and gambling activities whether land-based or online is exempt from VAT Article E, Tax Code.
Casino games are also exempt from VAT. Advertising To what extent is the advertising of gambling permitted in your jurisdiction? To the extent that advertising is permitted, how is it regulated? Land-based gambling Any form of advertising for a house providing games of chance maison de jeux de hasard without proper authorisation is prohibited. Therefore, advertising is authorised for all other establishments or websites licensed or authorised under the applicable legislation.
However, many rules restrict advertising games of chance, in particular in relation to the protection of minors or the fight against addiction. Online gambling Advertising online gambling websites must be identified as such and contain written or verbal warning messages depending on the platform on which the advertising is offered.
If the advertising is offered online, the warning message must contain a link to a website dedicated to the fight against addiction. Such advertising cannot be offered on websites that appear to be mainly targeting minors. In addition, any advertising for online gambling websites through radio or television is forbidden 30 minutes before and after the broadcasting of programmes specifically targeting minors. Moreover the government is planning to soon update all the regimes applicable to warning messages.
Developments and reform Legal development. Has the legal status of land-based and online gambling changed significantly in recent years, and if so how?
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