Glitz, glam, and ritz, the Monte Carlo Casino is one of the most exclusive casinos in the world.
The Monte Carlo Casino is truly magnificent with chandeliers galore and gold ceilings. You feel like you just stepped back into time when you waltz through the doors.
The casino has become such an iconic destination that each year, over seven million tourists take selfies in front of it.
There is a rich history behind the Monte Carlo Casino and an interesting story about how the bankrupt city of Monte Carlo became the posh icon of wealth we know it as today.
History of the Monte Carlo Casino
Monte Carlo wasn’t always the wealthy and luxurious city we know it as today. In fact, Monte Carlo was built upon humble beginnings in the 1850s when it was just a small, bankrupt town fighting to make it to the top.
Princess Caroline of Monaco had a sharp business-focused mind and came up with the idea to build a casino hoping to alleviate their debt and make a name of Monte Carlo as a world-class gambling destination.
The future Prince of Monaco, Charles III put together a team and attempted to fund his project, creating the first casino in 1856 in a temporary location. They received fewer customers than anticipated after not thinking about the lack of roads and transportation needed to get to Monte Carlo from France and the rest of Europe and his lack of publicizing the existence of his casino at all.
After admitting failure Charles III had to let the casino rights be passed on to Pierre Auguste Daval in 1857, seven years after coming up with his plan.
The casino began to make a profit with Daval in 1859, but not up to Princess Caroline’s standards. The Princess had him taken off the project and convinced François Blanc to take over, although he was a hard sell only being convinced when offered 150 thousand francs a year plus 10% of the casino’s profit.
With Blanc on board, he lured in wealthy investors and quickly gained the amount of capital he needed to get to work. He brought on Charles Garnier, who also constructed the Paris Opera, as lead architect.
The casino took off, becoming so profitable that in 1869, citizens were relieved of paying all taxes. Blanc passed away in 1877 with the casino thriving and a fortune of 72 million francs to his name.
After Prince Charles of Monaco passed, the future of the Monte Carlo Casino seemed to take a turn for the worse as he was succeeded by his son, Albert. Prince Albert loathed the casino, thinking it was a wicked and evil establishment. Fears rose and rumors spread that he was planning on turning the casino into a free hospital.
Updates to the casino were put on hold and the Blanc family started looking into separate destinations for the casino. Everything changed when Charles Deville Wells, a wealthy Englishman, wandered into the casino.
Wells gambled with such a disregard for money that he was described as “a mad millionaire trying to get rid of capital”, gambling nonstop over the course of five days. While most people would have taken a pretty hefty loss by this schedule, Wells walked away with a sum equivalent to four and a half million euros today.
He became a hot topic across Europe and became known as “The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo”.
With hopes of replicating this act, tourists came by the masses to try their luck at the casino. In the craziness of it all, the closure never happened and you can still try and match the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo’s luck.
What To Do at The Monte Carlo Casino
There are numerous things to do and see when it comes to the Monte Carlo Casino.
When it comes to gambling, the casino offers a full range of table games and slot machines within the seven unique gaming rooms, all boasting elegant and luxurious decor.
Anyone can enter the atrium for free and look around at the spectacular architecture. The casino is also home to the Opéra de Monte Carlo and many special events are put on throughout the year.
There are two high-end restaurants located within the Monte Carlo Casino. The Salon Rose offers local and international dishes and has a phenomenal terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Le Train Bleu offers exquisite Italian cuisine. There are also three lounge bars inside. With a party style and a glamorous atmosphere, there is Lounge Bar Salle Europe.
With a calmer atmosphere, you can also enjoy a cocktail at Café de la Rotonde. Only available to private members, with a mosaic bar and golden chandeliers, you will find Le Bar Salle Blanche.
Tours operate in the morning to visit the casino and the games start at 14:00. There is a dress code you must follow to enter the gambling rooms which differs from day to night.
During daylight semi-formal or smart dress is required, but can be a little more casual. Once it hits 20:00 a more formal dress code comes into place and men are required to have on jackets.
Women should be dressed in cocktail attire. The entrance to the casino is only seventeen euros and includes ten euros in the slot or table play. For such an extravagant and exclusive casino, the entrance is much lower than many expect.
Interestingly enough, citizens of Monaco are forbidden from entering the gambling room inside the casino. This has been a law since the casino opened, the reason being that Prince Charles III was trying to bring money into the country and allowing citizens to gamble would have been counterproductive.
It is rumoured that Princess Caroline was trying to keep the citizens away from gambling addiction as well. Additionally, citizens of Monaco are not allowed to work at the casino making all employees commute from outside of the country.
Monte Carlo Casino in Media
There is no casino in the world as lavish as the Monte Carlo Casino, so it only makes sense that with its stunning architecture, it made its debut in pop culture.
From music to literature to television to movies, the Monte Carlo Casino has made its name well known in the media. British singer and comedian, Charles Coborn, wrote a song about the casino by celebrating The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo. This song became a part of Coborn’s main set and he performed it all over the world.
The Monte Carlo Casino is most famously associated with James Bond. The fictional British Secret Service agent is known for his love of gambling, particularly gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino.
The first time we see Bond and the Monte Carlo Casino was in 1954 in a television episode of ‘Climax!’ on CBS. The casino first debuted in a Bond film in “Dr. No” in 1962. It features the Monte Carlo Casino with Bond playing a high-stakes card game and has become an iconic scene.
We saw the casino again in 1985 with the film “A View to a Kill”. Once again, showcasing the Monte Carlo Casino as Bond plays the same high-stakes card game. More famously, we also see 007 in the Monte Carlo Casino in the films GoldenEye and Never Say Never Again.
Most recently in James Bond films, the Monte Carlo Casino was seen symbolizing glamour, wealth, and high-stakes gambling in the 2012 film “Skyfall”. The Monte Carlo Casino has become an iconic staple to Bond films, cementing its place in cinematic history.
Famously, the Monte Carlo Casino is also seen in Marvel’s ‘Iron Man 2’ where we see Tony Stark partaking in a series of high-end events within the casino.
We also see the Monte Carlo Casino showcased in the French romantic comedy ‘Heartbreaker’ highlighting the casino as not just a place of glam and elegance, but also with a sense of romance and somewhere you can make lasting memories.
The luxurious casino has also made its way into the literature. Before Bond films came ‘Casino Royale’, Ian Flemming’s first James Bond novel. Flemming wrote about a fictional casino but based it on the glamorous architecture of the Monte Carlo Casino.
The Casino also made its way into Mark Braude’s ‘Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle’. Braude writes about the history of Monte Carlo and the rocky past of the Casino.
Famously one of the most iconic casinos in the world, the Monte Carlo Casino boasts elegant chandeliers along with its old-timey gold decor.
Whether choosing to come for a history tour to hear for yourself about how François Blanc built the casino from the ground up or if you prefer to take to the games in one of the seven gambling rooms, a visit to the casino is well worth it.