PMU in France

Ever wondered what does the French PMU stand for? We have the answers to your questions. The PMU acronym means Pari Mutuel Urbain (French state-controlled betting system). The French PMU is a grouping of economic interests. It was created by the French associations, which organize horse races. The aim of such a creation was to run horse race bettings under the form of pari-mutuel.

How to play PMU?

The PMU system is quite difficult to understand. gives you some clues to better get acquainted with it. This gambling sytem offers a wide choice of horse race bettings. The most renowned ones are the Quinté, the Tiercé and the Quarté.

Many other forms of horse race betting have appeared since the PMU creation (Quadrio, Tic 3, 2 sur 4, Multi, Trio, etc).

The principle of these horse race bettings is to find the horses, which will arrive first at the finishing line. Depending on which form of horse race gambling you chose, you will have to find the 2, 3 or 5 first horses, in the good order or not. The winnings will of course vary according to your forecasts and the real results of the race.


The money is shared between the winning bettors after deducting legal debits for the State and race organisations. Race organisations and horse owners can use the winnings to take better care of their investment.

The PMU organisations provide the recording of bets in 9400 retail outlets or in racecourses, but you can also bet on horses by (mobile) phone or on the internet.

Racing in France

Horse racing really has an important place in France. The first permanent racecourse was indeed built in Paris in the 18th century.

Below are some data, which prove this importance of horse racing in France:

  • 252 racecourses in 75 French departments
  • 17,000 races per year
  • 29,000 horses in training
  • 43,530 horse breeders
  • 10,597 horse owners

French newsagents

Even if horse race betting is especially done in racecourses, you can also bet on horses in some French newsagents. In some villages or cities, newsagents are in fact cafés, where you can buy newspapers, magazines, tobacco, sweets but also play the lottery or gamble. In other cities, it is impossible to bet on horses in cafés.


Actually, it depends on the areas and the size of the newsagents. The French bureaux de presse (newsagents), where you can have a drink, buy magazines or tobacco and gamble at the same time, are a real convivial place! In small villages, the café PMU is generally the meeting place of elderly people. If you want to know the last rumors about the village inhabitants, just go to these places!

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