|Leisure : gambling in
||About sport in France
- In 2006, the French bet 36,9
bn Euros i.e. 50 bn $ (on horses, in lotteries, in casinos
: see figures). French gambling laws are another example of the
French specificity with regard to the role of the State. As in
most Western countries, gambling is considered dangerous because
it can become addictive, and it is tightly regulated. The rule
is : it is forbidden unless authorized and controlled by the
State. Horse races are regulated by a public body called PMU
(Pari Mutuel Urbain), betting games and lotteries are organized
by a state-owned company, la Française des Jeux, and casinos
are authorized by the Ministry of Interior on a case-by-case
basis. Until 2010, on-line bets were forbidden. Therefore, no outsider could
enter the market and of course the European authorities, in
the name of free competition threatened to take France to the
European Court of Justice to force it to open the gambling market
to competition and no doubt France would have lost its case. The decision to legalize on-line gambling was largely criticized. However, the
position of France is :
- It is normal that the State
regulates and controls an activity which can be socially so dangerous
: it is its responsibility and it will do it better than the
- the State's share of the bets
(around 25%) remains in France and is partly assigned to programs
which are globally well-accepted (such as the program on improving
horse breeding or the program on subsidizing sports for everybody)
- It is more "moral"
to see all this money go to the French State than to go to a
foreign maffia and then to a tax haven
- The position of the European
Commission is far too dogmatic : free competition has nothing
to do with gambling.
- More about the French
and the State.
| Bets (2006)
|| State's share
| Horse races
| Games and lotteries
- Regarding the amount of bets
on horse races, France ranks fourth after Japan (23,5 bn Euros),
U.K. (15,6 bn) and the U.S.A. (14,2 bn)
- The most popular games are :
- On horses : "Tiercé"
(3 first horses) or "quinté" (5 first horses)
- Lotteries : "loto"
(6 numbers out of 49), "Keno", "Euromillions"
- Many games in which you scratch
a hidden (maybe) winning number or image
- In casinos : mostly "roulette"
(36 numbers) or "boule" (9 numbers)
- Even when gambling, the French act according to their national values (see more details) : facts are boring but ideas are fun and what is really important is the relation between people rather than the cold analysis of strengths and weaknesses (see a letter about the way the French play poker.
The most popular sports are football (what Americans, and only them, call soccer!), rugby, tennis, (and pétanque !) ; a daily newspaper, L'Equipe,
is 100% sports and is among the French daily newspapers with
the largest circulation.
In international competitions,
Olympic Games etc... the French are often good at fencing, judo,
football, tennis, skiing, rugby
The most popular sport events (the streets are empty when they are on TV) are :
- Rugby " Six-Nations Championship
" games (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and France),
especially when it is England vs France (often considered
the two best teams) : in February/March
- Football Final French Championship
: in June
- The Tour de France (bicycle)
: in July
- Tennis : the Roland-Garros tournament
(French Open) in May and the Davis Cup (if the French team did
well) in Fall
Horse races are also very popular
all year round : in Paris in Longchamp and Auteuil horse race
tracks ; see gambling.
(American) football and baseball
are totally unknown in France, basket ball is not as popular
as it is in the USA.
Golf is still a pretty exclusive game in France. See about golfing near Paris.
- More to come.
You want to watch a base-ball game in Paris ? Read about sport-cafes in Paris.
DID YOU KNOW THAT....? The French have a special relation to the Olympic Games. Why? Because the Games where re-established (after 16 centuries of interruption !) by Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), a French aristocrat who admired the role of sport in British schools and wanted to popularize sports among the young. Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee and chaired it from 1896 to 1925. The first (new) games were held in Athens in 1896. According the the Olympic Charter, French is the first olympic official language and must be the first used in official announcements. There were Games in Paris in 1900 and 1924 and the next will be held in Paris in 2024.
The next Paris Olympic Games in 2024 (this section, under construction, will record the most important facts concerning the project between 2017 and 2024)
- Sept.13, 2017 : the CIO votes in favour of Paris to organize the 2024 O.G. (Los Angeles is designated for 2028)
- After March 2020 : the giant confinement caused by the virus pandemic creates worries about the already tight delays to build the major infrastructure equipements planned for the O.G.
- More to come...
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Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French.
Order her books :
- "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
- "French Toast, An American in Paris
Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press,
New York, 1999
- "French Fried, The Culinary Capers
of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001
Toast - Heureuse comme une Américaine en France",
Ramsay, Paris 2005
More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming
events, testimonials, etc..)
or separately, Harriet and Philippe Rochefort speak
about Intercultural Differences : click
here for information.