French Poker Players Prefer to Play on Unlicensed Online Sites


Posted: February 20, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

French gambling regulator ARJEL released alarming figures about online gaming in the country, claiming that up to 47% of poker players chose unlicensed sites.

According to a study conducted recently, a very high percentage of French online gamblers use sites that don’t fulfill French gambling laws, despite the efforts of the regulator.

Additionally, the research conducted by France’s Observatory of Games (ODJ) and Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (ODFT), found that the average poker player in the country is male, under the age of 30 with sufficient educational background.

Interestingly, he plays roughly every day and feels that there should be more social interaction in French online poker rooms.

Reasons behind the thriving of non-licensed sites

47% of French online poker lovers play on unlicensed sites

• The common French poker player is male, young and educated

• 50% of poker players started enjoying the game before reaching the age of 25

• The average monthly income of French poker players is less than EUR 1,500

The survey also found that almost 24% of French poker players offer their business entirely to non-licensed sites, and another 23.5% divide it between French licensed and foreign unlicensed sites.

These figures show how different the online gaming market is, as the situation with horse racing and bet on sports in France is completely the opposite. When it comes to these two types of wagering, 73.8% of horse race fans and 65.3% of sports’ punters confirmed that they used French licensed sites.

When it comes to poker fans, they claim that the reasons why they are not completely satisfied with local operators are the lack of the competition element of the game and the legal limits that are imposed by the regulator.

Licensed operators are allowed to offer only Omaha and Texas Hold’em games and the operators are also quite restricted by high taxation and limited player pool.

Characteristics of the average French poker player

The research confirmed that poker in France is still a male-dominated area. There are well-known female players like Gaelle Baumann and the fresh PKR Pro Patty “babytes” Beaumier, but still almost 66.4% of all players are men.

In addition to being male, young and educated, the most common poker player in France also tends to show his love about the game at quite early age. A quarter of all participants in the survey admitted that they’ve started playing before turning 20.

Moreover, 50% said that they’ve started playing before reaching the age of 25. Over half of the current players are younger than 31 and 75% are younger than 40.

What is also interesting is that French online poker players seem to be less interested in playing other games, as 43% of the respondents declared no interest in different online games than poker.

Furthermore, poker lovers in the country have achieved good educational level, as almost 60% hold at least a high school diploma.

Distinctive facts about French poker players financial status

Most players are residing in bigger cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. They declare a monthly income of less than EUR 1,500 (27.8%). More than 20% of players enjoy French poker rooms every day, contributing to a yearly average expense of around EUR 778 per player.

When it comes to new technologies, French poker players seem to be more interested than players of other games. As “early adopters” of the latest technologies, 23.8% of the respondents use a smartphone or a tablet.

When it comes to other types of betting, the figures are different with only 16% of horse racing and sports betting players using smartphones.

The usage of new technologies naturally has direct impact on the way players behave within the poker market. 47% of the interviewees seem to have found a way to avoid the restrictions imposed by the country’s national gambling law, and still use their devices.

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