The French have had a long and colorful history of gambling and online betting related pursuits, with all such activities in the country falling under the jurisdiction of La Française des Jeux. As in many other parts of Europe, horseracing is also a strong draw in France, and along with betting on the Tour de France and various other local and international sporting events, this has ensured a fairly healthy betting climate in the country.
The Legalities Of Betting Online In France
With regard to online gambling, France has maintained a hard line stance against all foreign access. In recent years however, mounting pressure from the European Union and the increasing patronage of illegal gambling websites by French gamblers has caused the government to ease restrictions towards overseas betting site companies.
While many overseas offshore online betting companies expected the new laws to finally open up the French market to them, a surprising turn of events instead led to the government banning of a few high profile bookmakers–Betfair among them–and the imposition of harsher tax laws for others. The foreign bookmakers in question are expected to challenge these new laws that require them to turn over 1.8 % of their earnings to the French government, although as of early 2010, the European Union has given its cautious approval to the new laws.
Current Online Betting Trends In France
In spite of the gray legal area that foreign-based online gambling companies have had to operate in during the past several years, the local market has nevertheless been fairly active. With the liberalization policies towards online gambling taking effect in 2010, industry observers expect a substantial increase in the number of local players online, with poker being a particularly lucrative area for future growth.
The relaxing of gambling laws as they relate to online gambling is also expected to pave the way for an increase in online sports betting activities and–interestingly enough–the local horse race betting market. Many foreign gambling operators are keen on taking advantage of this trend towards legalization, and barring a few legal issues that have yet to be ironed out, many are looking to expand into the lucrative French online gambling market in 2010 and beyond.
The History Of Betting In France
Virtually all the gambling and betting online in France involve the Pari Mutuel betting system in some form. Introduced in the country in 1870, the system is widely used in horse and greyhound racing, as well as jai alai and many other sporting events.
In spite of the relative popularity of other types of sports betting online, horse racing betting has traditionally and continues to be the top draws in France as far as sports betting is concerned, perhaps only rivaled in popularity by betting online on the world famous Tour de France. Today, as much as 20% of all sports bets in the country are placed on-course, with the remainder being placed in various licensed kiosks and bars.