The French are known as an innovative nation ever since the Renaissance era. With significant contributions in culture and sport and their famous country motto – Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite – the French are also very fond of gambling in all its forms including sports betting. And when to all that you also add a healthy economy and an extraordinary football culture, you get an excellent climate for football betting in France. Despite all that, the way the authorities decided to handle the regulation of the online betting landscape is hardly liberal. We’ll go into detail about that aspect, the best bookies in the country, and all other essential aspects of online gambling in France, in the following sections.
Being one of the first countries in Europe to regulate their online gambling market, France can be seen as a real example of how not to approach things. And, even though the situation didn’t change much, it looks like things are improving nowadays. We’ll explain why. First of all, there are stringent rules for online betting websites to apply for a license issued by the France Gambling Commission (ARJEL or Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne). To ensure the involvement in fighting against problem gambling and money laundering, all licensees need to implement the “Frontal” IT system which acts as a centralized database of all punters in France.
Of course, this comes with a significant cost for the bookies, a cost that is not covered in any way or deducted from the taxes. And, speaking of taxation, the France gaming legislation imposes a 33.3% income tax for licensed bookmakers. Furthermore, punters are also subject to a 7.5% tax on all the sporting events bets placed, with a higher 8% for horse racing.
Besides being able to comply with a long list of requirements and regulations, bookmakers providing online betting in France also need to pay an annual fee for their five-year license, based on the number of licenses they apply for. It’s €20,000 for one license, €30,000 for two and €40,000 for three licenses. Currently, there are 15 licensed operators in France. Among them, some big names like Bwin, Betclic, NetBet and BetStars.
With such harsh conditions, there are a lot of unlicensed operators providing their services to French punters. This is being fought through ISP blocks on unlicensed domains. The local banks also contribute to the efforts by blocking most transactions towards online betting sites that are not licensed. Furthermore, even though ARJEL can issue fines of up to €100,000 and even prosecute those caught, there are still a lot of options for punters that wish to play at international betting sites. And since there are no actions taken against individuals betting at unlicensed bookies, there’s really nothing to worry about.
Like we mentioned, you can access a lot of unlicensed bookies and have a great time supporting all your favorite teams. However, that doesn’t mean that all betting sites in France are safe by default. There are some precautions that you need to take to make sure you won’t have any issues with payouts or any other part of the process. For that, our team of experts have analyzed all the sportsbooks addressing to the French market and handpicked the best of them. Criteria applied in the selection include but are not limited to – a trustworthy licensing authority, fast payout times, innovative platforms, and diverse payment options. So, start answering the ‘how to bet online in France’ question with our list of the best French betting sites.
Since it’s fair to give the regulated online betting sites a fighting chance, we thought a Pros and Cons list would be the best way to underline why it’s a good idea to create an account at one.
For both licensed and unlicensed online betting sites, there are plenty of payment options to choose from. Cards, ewallets, vouchers, direct bank transfer, and even cryptocurrency, feel free to take your pick and use the one that feels more comfortable. All the bookmakers we recommend on this page are checked and don’t apply any fees on your deposits and the processing time is instant. When it comes to withdrawals, the processing time can vary depending on the French online betting payment methods chosen, however, ewallets are the fastest ones. And because you can use them at unlicensed bookies as well, they’re the most popular in France.