War Hits French Casinos


Posted: May 15, 2013

Updated: October 4, 2017

Casinos hope to boost visitor numbers with popular card game

The gloom hanging over the French brick-and-mortar casino scene may be lifted a little by the latest government decree amending French gambling laws by authorizing the introduction of a new card game.

Having experienced a 20% decline in players over the past 5 years due to tighter ID checks, a smoking ban and the proliferation of French internet casinos, the country’s 196 land-based gambling venues welcomed the official decision with cautious optimism.

The game to be introduced is called “la bataille” and is akin to the card game known as “war” in English speaking countries. The only difference is that in the French version the ace is the lowest card. Played with a standard French deck, it is essentially a reveal-and-match game, whereby the outcome is down to pure luck.

Due to its simplicity it is usually a children’s game around the world, but in France it is popular among all age groups.

The casinos hope that by adding such a familiar and simple game to their offerings they can halt and perhaps even reverse the downward trend, which resulted in a 1.8% decline in revenues last year. The anticipation is that the move will lure back some of the patrons who have switched to online and mobile casino gambling. It may also mobilize a yet untapped pool of potential players, who have been staying away from casinos just because they found the card games currently on offer to be too complicated.

A further clause in the decree empowers the Minister of Interior to grant six-month permits for other experimental games or gambling devices to be tested on casino premises. The decision opens the gates for innovation by the casinos and their contractual partners, which is likely to lead to a broadening selection of French casino games in the coming years.

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