Population July 2013: 5.3 million
GDP 2012: 1.724 Trillion EUR
GDP per capita: 27,200 EUR
Taxation for Lotteries: None (France only has one nationwide lottery)
Online Taxation:
7.5% for horse racing bets & sports betting,
2% for poker
   

LEGISLATION

All kinds of lotteries are prohibited in France, according to a law from 1836. However, since 1933 the French government can authorise the organisation of a lottery. In 1933 the Loterie Nationale was founded and was renamed in 1991 as La Française des Jeux. It has the exclusive right to arrange a national lottery. Also the right to organise sports betting and online gambling belongs exclusively to La Française des Jeux. Next to that, the Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is in charge of organising betting on horseracing in France. PMU is an economic interest group created in 1930 composed of 51 racing authorities. The PMU operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Budget and Public Accounts.

The Sous-Direction des Courses et des Jeux, established in 1973, is the gaming board that supervises the operators at the French gambling market. The gaming board is a department of the Ministry of the Interior.

ONLINE LEGISLATION

In 2010 new legislation on online gambling came into force in France to regulate the illegal online gambling market (Law No 2010-476). Online operators can apply for a five-year license to offer three different types of online gambling activities. The three types of licenses are for online sports betting (live betting, pool betting and fixed odds betting), online horse race betting (pool betting) and online poker games (Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker 4). Other games of chance are still forbidden to be offered online.

A new independent administrative authority, called ARJEL (Autorité de regulation des jeux en ligne), was established under the new law, specifically designed to regulate and supervise the online gambling market in France. Their mission is to protect vulnerable people and consumers, ensure the safety and fairness of gambling operations, and fighting fraud, illegal sites and money laundering. ARJEL is responsible for issuing and revoking licenses. Operators have to fulfil several conditions to be eligible for a license, including establishment in an EU or EEA country, a website in French, separate accounting for the operator’s activities on French territory, and a permanent tax correspondent in France. ARJEL can fine unlicensed operators up to € 100,000, but until now they have focused their attention on blocking access to these websites. In 2011 they revoked 10 of the 57 licenses and issued 9 new ones.

A maximum of 85% of the revenues of online operators are allowed to be returned as prize money. The online operators have to pay taxes on their turnovers instead of on gross gaming revenues. The percentage in France for sports betting is 5.7% on the turnover plus social duty taxes of 1.8% and a mandatory contribution of 1.3% to sport federations. For horse race betting it is 4.6% on turnover plus 1.8% social duty. On top of that additional levies must be paid to various horseracing trade bodies, which depends on the event involved. The taxation for online poker is 1.8% on turnover plus 0.2% social security taxes.


CHARITY LOTTERIES

As far as we know, no lotteries exist in France that meet the criteria of a charity lottery. Small charity lotteries are allowed, but the prizes may not include money prizes. As the French State lottery does distribute part of the sales to good causes (sports), it is mentioned below.


OTHER LOTTERIES

  • LA FRANÇAISE DES JEUX

    La Française des Jeux, a semi-public lottery company, is 72% state-owned and regulated by the Ministry of Finance. When it was established in 1933, the profits were destined for the war veterans’ retirement fund and for the assistance of victims of agricultural disasters.

    The French monopolist offers different products on the gaming market: draw games (Loto, Superloto, Joker, Keno, Rapido and Euro Millions), scratch games and sports betting. These games are also available online, where they have 90,000 online players registered. La Française des Jeux has 34,300 points of sale.

    La Française des Jeux contributed € 2.85 billion in levies on stakes to the French budget in 2012. In 1993, the Fondation d'Entreprise La Française des Jeux was set up to manage the company’s patronage of sports activities. The National Sports Development Centre (Centre National pour le Développement du Sport) is the only beneficiary, next to the state. It promotes high-level as well as community-based sports. More than 80% of its funding comes from La Française des Jeux (€ 212 million in 2012).

    In 2012, total sales of the national lottery were € 12.1 billion (↑6%). By decree it is determined that 45%-70% of wagers must be returned to the players as prize money. In 2012, this was 65% (€ 7.9 billion). Online turnover amounted to € 338 million and turnover from lottery products amounted to € 10.7 billion. For more information visit: www.francaisedesjeux.com

ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATORS

There were 1.2 million active online poker accounts in 2011, which resulted in gross gaming revenues of € 314 million (↑12%). The online horserace betting sector experienced growth with € 1 billion placed in bets and 500,000 active player accounts.

As of September 2014, 14 online licences were granted by ARJEL. All licensed online operators are listed on the website of ARJEL (see www.arjel.fr ).

PROGNOSIS

The main issue dominating the debate around the gambling market is the decreasing tax revenues due to the decline of demand for online gambling. Jean-François Vilotte, president of ARJEL, claims the legislation puts too much pressure on the profits of licence holders, thereby pushing players away to illegal gambling websites. He pleads for structural reforms and allowing new cash games (including different types of poker) so that online operators can offer more games of chance and attract more players to legal online websites. The main reform would be to change taxation from levies on stakes to levies on GGR, which is supported by the gambling industry. For now, the government does not see the need to reform the tax system.