Best Betting Sites in France
Strategically, located in Western Europe, France is one of those nations renowned for its cuisine, rich culture, good wine, and landmarks such as the Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Yet, France also boasts of very long history when it comes to sports betting.
France is home to some of the most established names in the betting industry and the birthplace of blackjack, roulette, and horse racing wagers. Examined closely, you’ll realize that French bettors contribute a significant amount of money, not only to the country’s economy but also on online betting sites. ARJEL— France’s online betting regulator— recently published a report indicating that online betting revenue was in excess of €756 million with a large chunk coming from sports betting revenue.
In 2010, betting in France became legal, with lots of betting companies seeking operating licenses to serve an increasing number of bettors. So, what’s good about French betting sites? Is there something that you need to know before trying your luck on French betting sites. Everything is explained below.
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5 things to note before betting in France
- As of now, there are only 13 licensed online operators and 15 websites for betting. But there aren’t any licensed online casinos in the country
- As a bettor, you need to pay 2% up to 8% on every pot that you get to win on poker. However, winnings from horse racing aren’t subjected to any taxes.
- There aren’t any betting exchanges and spread websites that operate in France since they aren’t licensed.
- Bettors willing to bet must be at least 18 years of age.
- Technically, it’s not wrong to bet on unlicensed bookies, but in most cases, these bookies get blocked by internet providers.
Top Betting sites in France
Since online sports betting became legal in France, several bookies have managed to enter this industry in a bid to serve millions of French bettors.
But not all of them of outstanding services that leave players begging for more. Some of the best ones loved by millions of French bettors include Cbet, 1xbit, and Bwin. Besides their excellent ratings, these ones are good when it comes to offering excellent odds, fast payouts, and a huge betting market.
Legal Framework Surrounding Online Betting in France
As you may be aware, online sports betting became legal in France ten years ago in 2010. This was after the introduction of Law Number 2010-476, a law that came to be known as the French Gambling Act. On May 13, 2010, this law came into force, a matter that opened the door for massive competition as international bookies could now enter the market and offer their services to bettors in France.
The law also saw the regulation of the country’s gambling industry through the establishment of an official regulatory body known as the French Autorite de regulation des Jeux en ligne (ARJEL). Based on the provisions of the Gambling Act, there are only three types of casinos considered to be legal; poker, horse racing, and sports betting. Online casinos aren’t licensed as such was thought of being very addictive.
It is important to remember that before the regulation of online sports betting 10 years ago, horse racing and sports betting were overseen by state-owned monopoly operators Pari-Mutuel Urbain and Francaise des Jeux. Both of them received permission from the state to provide services to bettors in France.
Currently, they continue to offer their services, but no longer enjoy the monopoly they had before. Nevertheless, they still have a monopoly when it comes to a brick-and-mortar casino since they have plenty of betting shops across France.
Licensed Betting Sites in France
As things currently stand, there are less than 20 licensed online sports betting sites that offer their services to French players. The reason for this low figure is due to the 33% corporation tax that the French government imposed. Such taxes affect betting sites in terms of profitability.
As noted earlier, there are only three different licenses that concern horse racing, sports betting, and Texas hold ’em & Omaha poker. Besides licensed sites, French players can choose to wager on any state-owned FDJ betting shops, FDJ’s website Parions Sports Online, or on unlicensed bookies at their own discretion.
Unlicensed Bookies Operating in France
With France having a few providers licensed by ARJEL, unfortunately, there are plenty of others that operate without a domestic license. Such sites accept French bettors despite the fact that they are fined heavily. As a player, you can access these sites through their .com websites.
In most cases, you’ll find these sites blocked, but still, you can access them through mirror websites or using a VPN. Of importance to note is common deposit methods such as EcoPayz, Neteller, and PayPal don’t actually work on these sites. But again, they accept cryptocurrencies.
Top Bookies that Ceased Operations in France
In many countries across the globe, even some of the most notable names in the gambling industry have been forced to cease their operations due to strict online gambling rules. The same is true when it comes to the French online betting scene.
With the establishment of ARJEL in 2010, many brands had no choice but to cease their operations in France. One of the most prominent bookies that had to exit the scene was Bet365 France. Additionally, William Hill France also ceased its operations in the country 10 years ago, following the introduction of air-tight betting laws.
Sports Betting in France
While there are plenty of other sports to bet on in France, football is by far the most popular betting activity, with Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 fixtures are always featuring on the best French bookies. Besides football, betting on tennis is very popular with French bettors.
Rugby is also another popular sport that French players like to bet on, with events such as the Six Nations Cup featuring heavily. When it comes to cycling, the country’s Tour de France comes in as the absolute competition, with hundreds of thousands of French bettors wagering on this event every year.
Another sport that French players like to wager on is the Monaco Grand Prix, with betting on Formula 1 always being fascinating.
Deposits and Withdrawals when Betting in France
Despite tough betting laws introduced by ARJEL, there are several ways that customers can use to fund their accounts and cash out their winnings. Bank transfers, credit and debit cards, Paysafecard, and e-wallets are available without any fees. Only Neteller charges a small fee of about 2-4% that apply in accordance with the laws of the EU. Should you choose to play at unlicensed bookies, then you should be able to use Cashlib, Neosurf, Payeer, and Bitcoin.
Future trends of online betting in France
It’s absolutely hard to imagine that a nation with liberal heritage such as France would behave in such an authoritarian way when it comes to sports betting. Immediately after the passing of the French Gambling Act, the market is now dominated by local operators.
Reputable international brands such as Bet365 had no reason but to exit the market due to high corporate taxes, lack of casino licenses, and high tax turnover. As you might have realized, the lack of decent options to bet on means that France doesn’t come in as a player-friendly country when it comes to online sports betting. But all is not lost as the country requires an operator-friendly legal framework to achieve its full potential.
Full List of French Bookies
The following is a complete list of bookmakers currently serving the French market:
- Bwin – here, players can bet on more than 50 sports, on cards and corners, in addition to being able to edit their bets.
- FortuneJack – at FortuneJack, players can bet in anonymity while being assured of their security via a two-step authentication. There’s also a cashout and a partial cashout option.
- Cbet – Cbet comes with great offers, a multiview, and a cashout feature.
- BetJOE – this bookie has got high odds on soccer, American sports, and basketball. There’s also a 100% up to $5000 welcome bonus in addition to a great range of other markets.
- 1XBit – this bookie features a live multiview, cash out as bet slip sale, and 96%+ on top leagues.
- Betrebels – this is an upcoming sportsbook with a nice range of alternative bets and competitive odds.
- Betstars – Betstars (or Skybet) highly values player-security and has more than 35 different sports. Additionally, there are great odds at major leagues here.
- NetBet – this one is a respected bookie with an excellent variety of sports events and the first choice in mobile sports betting.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Undoubtedly, gambling is considered to be legal in France. However, it's worth noting that not all forms of gambling are legal such as spread betting, casino games, and betting exchanges.
- There several online gambling sites in France. However, some of the most popular ones include the likes of Unibet, Bwin, and Betclic. All of them are licensed by ARJEL to operate legally in France.
- Unfortunately, exchange betting is not legal in France since they are pictured as highly addictive. In short, betting exchange is France isn't licensed at all.
- Bet365 doesn't make into the list of licensed bookies in France, and for this reason, it is considered as an illegal betting site that doesn't accept French bettors.
- Following the introduction of air-tight betting laws, Bet365 had no option but to exit France. Therefore, its website cannot be accessed by French bettors.
- While William Hill is one of those reputable names when it comes to online sports betting, unfortunately, it doesn't accept French players. This bookie also had to exit the French market due to legislation changes.