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Gambling in France vs Canada: Major Differences and What You Need to Know

Wondering how the casino scene in Canada compares to France? Though they share many similarities, the truth is that these two countries each have their own set of quirky characteristics which distinguish them from each other. If you’re hoping to take a trip to the other side of the Atlantic to try your hand at the casinos, it pays to know the differences. 

Culture & Outlook

Luckily for casino lovers residing in both France and Canada, the culture and outlook surrounding casinos and gambling is generally a positive one. Visitors to either destination will be greeted with a plethora of land-based casinos and online venues ripe for enjoyment. 

However, France has a deeper casino culture which is rich in history. As an older nation, it has had more of a chance to develop customs and traditions associated with gambling, and several popular games have even been developed within its borders. 

For example, the game of roulette (literally translated from French as “little wheel”) originated there sometime during the 17th century amid a shroud of mystery. Some attribute it to famous mathematician Blaise Pasqual, while others aren’t entirely sure where it came from—however, all can agree it’s a French invention. 

France also had the honor of changing the original Moorish card set into the one we know and love today. By replacing one of the two noblemen on the original cards with a noblewoman, France set the stage to establish the imagery of the modern 52-card deck (and score a point for female-kind as well). Residents of France are quite proud of these facts and enjoy roulette and card games with vigor.  As a result, the casino atmosphere in France is deep-rooted and thoroughly established, with large and opulent casinos continuing to boom to this day. 

Canada’s casino culture is newer. It wasn’t until 1969 that Canada began the process of allowing provinces to raise capital through the lottery, which in turn sparked the legalization of Casinos and a shift in the mindset towards them. Because legalized gambling venues are relatively new in Canada, it has allowed for a certain amount of invention and innovation in layout, design, and the immersive casino experience. Currently, Canada boasts an incredibly modern gaming culture in large casinos around the country. 

Canada boasts scenic and lavish casinos for players to enjoy, as well as many large casino resorts which visitors can flock to. These palaces of extravagance may have been built more recently than their French counterparts due to the newness of the laws, but are no less luxurious than the famous, shining casinos of Paris. 

Games & Variations

Besides the cultural contrasts, there’s a definite difference between Canada and France when it comes to games. Though they have similar casino games in general, you’ll find that the style of play varies slightly between the two countries in regards to specific games. For example, French roulette might look the same as European or American roulette, but there are some key differences. These include the La Partage and En Prison rules, which cut the house edge down significantly for the player. In this case, the French style of play certainly has its benefits.

French Roulette is wildly popular in Canada because of the low house edge, but for this same reason many casinos promote the American or European version of the game and only offer a few French roulette tables or none at all. However, Canada’s love of roulette doesn’t hold a candle to their love of slots. The slots and video poker machines are the most popular pastime in Canadian casinos, followed closely by blackjack, poker, roulette, and other table games. 

In French casinos, Roulette Anglaise (American roulette), Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘em, and even Omaha are wildly popular as well. In fact, Paris is home to one of the most exclusive and prestigious poker clubs in the world, the Aviation Club de France. These days, France garners much of its casino profits through slot machines, but this was not always the case. In fact, slot machines weren’t even legalized until 1988, and there are still some casinos which do not even offer slots at all.

Rules & Regulations

Though gambling and casinos in general are legal in both France and Canada, there are some key differences you should know regarding the laws. Whereas in France the casino laws are much the same throughout the country, Canada’s gambling laws differ according to the provinces. 

Each Canadian province has its own rules regarding the legal age to enter into a casino. This corresponds to the drinking age, and it’s generally 18 to 19 years old depending on the province. The exception to this rule is casinos operated by First Nations Tribes of Canada. Much like tribal casinos in the United States, these casinos lie outside the jurisdiction of federal governance, and most require visitors to be just 18 to play. 

In France, visitors also need to be at least 18 years of age to enter into a casino and partake in the games on offer there. Up until 1987, gamblers had to be 21 in order to play. It’s interesting to note that the lowering of the legal gambling age corresponds neatly with the legalization of slot machines in the country, though it is unknown whether this is causation or correlation.  

Online gambling is also very popular in both countries, but it’s regulated much more heavily in France. In fact, since online gambling became legalized in 2010, over 50% of websites which have sprung up have gone out of business due to heavy taxes and stringent rules. Traditional table games like roulette and online slots are not even legal to play online in France—instead, residents are limited to poker, sports betting, and horserace betting. 

In contrast, Canada’s laws are very broad in regard to online gambling. Canadian residents are allowed to play games at any and all online casinos which they can access, but this does have its fair share of problems. Most likely, lawmakers will soon make a move to strengthen online gambling laws in order to protect citizens against fraudulent sites and raise a hefty bit of revenue from taxes.

Both France and Canada offer up a vibrant casino scene teeming with opportunities for fun, adventure, and adrenaline-fueled gaming sessions. No matter which games you like to play, you’ll find them all in these captivating countries. If you’re hoping to get in on the casino atmosphere, there has never been a better time than now—so, what are you waiting for?

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