If playing roulette in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or poker within walking distance of The Louvre is a dream of yours, you could be in luck! According to French newspaper Le Parisien, local authorities are currently evaluating the possibility of opening a new casino in the country’s capital. The first step will be to reform the country’s current gambling legislation. Since 1917, legislation has been in place that has banned new gambling facilities within 100 kilometers of Paris, with only one casino, the Enghien-les-Bains, receiving permission to build inside the area.
Despite the fact that France currently has nearly 200 casinos operating within its borders, experts agree that reintroducing the gambling industry to Paris could be a game changer. With 2.2 million inhabitants and an estimated 30 million tourists annually, the demand for casinos within the city limits is expected to be monumental.
Currently, the city’s only remaining gambling destination is the Cercle Clichy, which provides Parisians with an opportunity to play poker, table games and slots. With no alternatives in the area, gamblers report that waiting lists for cash games are extensive, indicating the area’s strong desire for increased gambling opportunities. If a new casino is able to operate inside the city, French media have reported that it could provide an estimated $31.77 million boost in tax revenue for the state and the city.
The main point of contention for authorities remains transparency. Many officials have indicated that, in order to obtain sufficient levels of transparency throughout the restored casino industry, significant legislative changes would be required. While this could certainly present a bump in the road for casino developers interested in the French capital, authorities expect to move quickly with determining the best course of action. Local media reports that the study of necessary changes is expected to be completed by the end of April.
While a new casino in Paris will depend on a vote from the administration, the probability of a new casino in the area appears to be set. If the new facility within the city limits is denied, plans to move forward with a new Las Vegas-style casino located approximately 20 kilometers from the city center are likely to take its place. This casino would likely be located near Paris’s first international airport, maximizing the potential appeal for tourists and travelers.
Opposition to new Parisian gambling facilities has come mainly in the form of casino operators in other areas of the European country. Georges Tranchant, the founder of a gambling group that currently manages multiple casinos throughout the region, has been vocal about the perceived negative impacts of the planned expansion.
“The position of the operators is very simple,” Tranchant indicated. “If we open a Las Vegas-style casino in Paris, we kill the industry.”
Despite the opposition, all signs point towards at least one casino being approved for Paris or the surrounding area in the months to come. With the immense tax benefits that major gambling destinations offer to the region, there’s little reason to doubt the possibility of significant reforms to the country’s current gambling laws.