A new decree specifying the conditions for operating casinos on board merchant ships that are carrying French passengers has been published in the Official Gazette.

The decree states that irrespective of the casinos installed on board and of their registration registry, the new regulations are effective starting July I, 2017 for vessels flying the French flag. According to G3Newswire, as many as 15 gaming machines may be operated by ships, such as ferries, which operate on a regular intra-community route. Those vessels which operate in international waters are permitted to operate in addition to traditional table games.

The authorization for the operation of games on board ships must be obtained via application to the French Minister of the Interior. Fifteen years is the maximum duration of the operating agreement between the casino operator and the ship owner. The final specification is that the Ministry of the Interior must also approve all staff, while the cashier position and the controller station at the gaming area’s entrance can be combined.

Gambling is popular in the country but the French casinos face many restrictions. Gambling there is considered legal only when the French Ministry of Justice specifically sanctions it. Two state-owned operators are responsible for the regulation of the gambling industry in France, PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain) and (FDJ) Française des Jeux. the former deals with horseracing, while the FDJ is responsible for betting games and lotteries.