Monte Carlo casino: Your ultimate guide

Vincens André Fournier

Monte Carlo Casino is the most famous and visited gambling establishment in Monaco. If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting establishment, then we’re here to enlighten you. This is the ultimate guide to the Casino de Monte Carlo, where you’ll find out about everything it provides, the impact the venue has had, who can play there, and more. Before we begin, here are some of the online casinos available in Monaco to play:

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👏 Contributors: This page was written by Vincens André Fournier, a writer and gambling professional. Alongside him, a small team of writers, who work with some of the leading national newspapers, have worked on this page. Find out who we are and ask us your questions about gambling.

Table of contents

The history of the casino de Monte Carlo, founded in 1863

Princess Caroline of Monaco was the instigator of Casino de Monte Carlo, as the wise and business-minded wife of Prince Florestan. If a casino could be constructed, she believed the revenue from it would save the House of Grimaldi from going bankrupt. The towns of Menton and Roquebrune had broken away from Monaco in 1848 and refused to pay taxes on olive oil and fruit imposed by the principality, severely reducing its income.

It was in 1854 that Florestan’s son, the future Prince Charles III of Monaco assembled a group of Frenchmen. They devised a development plan and wrote a prospectus to bring in the 4 million francs necessary to construct a spa, English-style villas and a gambling casino based on the Bad Homburg establishment in Germany. Members of the team included writer Albert Aubert and businessman Napoleon Langlois. They were granted a concession of 30 years, in which time they were tasked with operating a bathing establishment and gaming tables.

The first casino was opened in Monaco on December 14, 1856, and was given the name of Villa Bellevue. Its location at La Condamine was only supposed to be a temporary one, though. At this time, Monaco was very poorly connected to the nearest French town of Nice as well as the rest of Europe. Thus, it seemed unlikely that a casino resort of this nature would succeed. That came to fruition with fewer visitors than originally anticipated walking through the doors. Considered a financial failure, Aubert and Langlois ceded their rights to the casino to Frossard de Lilbonne. He then passed it on to Pierre August Daval in 1857.

The casino had moved multiple times during this initial period, yet finally came to settle in the area known as Les Spelugues. Construction began there in May of 1858, utilising designs of an architect from Paris – Gobineau de la Bretonnerie. This was completed in 1863.

The casino had actually started making a profit in 1859, but Daval wasn’t up to the task of operating it, lacking the capability to transform the casino into the vast establishment imagined by Princess Caroline. So, she dispatched her private secretary to Germany, with the hope of recruiting François Blanc. A French entrepreneur and operator of the Bad Homburg, he initially declined the offer, but was eventually persuaded by the princess. Thus, in 1863, François Blanc took over the running of Monaco’s casino business.

His first task was to create the Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco as a way of managing the venture. With a capital of 15 million francs, the Société des Bains de Mer had prominent investors, including Cardinal Pecci and the Bishop of Monaco.

Blanc insisted that the area of Les Spelugues, which translates to The Caves in English, be changed so as to appeal to casino visitors from around the world. While a few suggestions were made, the title of Casino de Monte Carlo was chosen in honour of Prince Charles III.

In the late 1870s, the casino building itself went through a transformation. This allowed it to expand and incorporate designs of Jules Dutrou and Charles Garnier. The latter of these men was known personally by Blanc, as he had provided a loan of around 4.9 million francs to the French Third Republic so that it could complete the opera house which had been started in 1861. At this time, a concert hall was added to the Casino de Monte Carlo, located on the side of the casino facing the sea. The redesign and expansion of the gaming rooms and public spaces also occurred.

It was then expanded again in 1880-81, adding the Trente-et-Quarante Gaming Room. As the century drew to a close, the concert hall was remodelled by architect Henri Schmit, making it more suitable for opera and ballet performances.

Gaming and entertainment at the Monte Carlo Casino
Pictured is a man at the entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino, holding a briefcase and wearing a smart suit. The street is strewn with banknotes.

Unveiling the architectural beauty of this majestic casino

Monte Carlo has many buildings featuring Belle Époque architecture, and the Casino de Monte Carlo is the primary example of this. If you know French, then you’ll understand that this translates to “Beautiful Age” in English. It refers to the time period between 1871 and 1914, and this has heavily influenced buildings in general across Monaco. Characteristic stylings of Art Nouveau, featuring natural forms, structures, flowers, plans and curved lines make up the designs.

The interior of the building features both a playhouse and a theatre alongside the casino. It presents visitors with a luxurious experience, offering perfect symmetry in its design, as well as sophisticated décor. The façade of the building is constructed in marble, with each room decorated uniquely and elegantly. From the first visit to the last, the attractive interior adds to the overall appeal of this historic building.

Gaming and entertainment: A world of luxury

Anyone opting to visit the wonders of Monaco is likely looking for both gaming and entertainment. If you do go there, then both are provided by the country in various ways. The Casino de Monte Carlo being one location for such. Yet this isn’t just any kind of gambling experience that Monte Carlo provides. Instead, it offers gamblers a wealth of different ways to enjoy themselves.

If the French Riviera in itself isn’t enough to appeal, then the Casinos de Monte Carlo is likely to stand out. Gaming is the primary reason that people visit the establishment, with the gaming floor offering slot machines, roulette table opportunities, black jack games and more for you to place bets on.

It’s an ideal venue for high rollers to visit and spend their money while having fun and potentially securing a win or two. Yet playing the games isn’t the only way to have fun in Monaco or indeed at the Casino de Monte Carlo.

Beyond gambling: The amenities at Monte Carlo casino

If the gaming rooms at the Casino de Monte Carlo aren’t what you want, there is much more to experience at the Place du Casino venue. You don’t have to gamble during your visits. Here are some other amenities within the establishment to enjoy:

  • Two Restaurants – Le Salon Rose and Le Train Bleu offer guests the chance to have a luxurious eating experience. The former serves a selection of local and international dishes in a cosy setting, while the latter provides exquisite Italian cuisine.
  • Three Lounge Bars – Lounge Bar Salle Europe and Café de la Rotonde offer cocktails, ice-cream, coffee, and other treats for you to enjoy while visiting Casino de Monte Carlo. There is also the addition of Le Bar Salle Blanche, which is only accessible to holders of My Monte Carlo Gold, Platinum and Privé cards.
  • Gala Evenings – Without a doubt, this casino is a venue of legend, and the Gala Evenings it provides offer something else for you to experience. There are various versions of these throughout the year, including The Lights of Gaming and Surrealist Dinner Parties.
  • Opéra de Monte Carlo – Incorporated into the casino at the request of Prince Charles III, the opera house opened in 1879, and has hosted hundreds of operas since then. Five or six operas are presented by the venue every season these days.

Discover nearby Monaco attractions

There are many other attractions close to the Casino de Monte Carlo, both in Monaco and nearby France. If you don’t want to spend all your time gaming, then you can look into some alternatives. We have put together a list of some of the best nearby attractions to see, to give you an idea of what is available.

  • Cathedral of Monte Carlo – Often known as St Nicholas, this is the location where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace married. It was built in 1875 and sits on the site of a 13th-century church in the old town.
  • Monaco Gardens – The Exotic Gardens feature thousands of rare plants and also includes a grotto to experience. There is also the Princess Grace Rose Garden, located within Fontvieille Park. Having been recently extended, it now incorporates 8,000 rose bushes of 300 different varieties.
  • Metropole Shopping Gallery – Anyone who enjoys shopping will love the Metropole, which is home to 80 boutiques. It offers tax-free shipping to anyone who isn’t an EU citizen, too.
  • Palais du Prince – You can go for a tour around the royal residence and see how the Grimaldi family live today. Found on the apex of a rocky hill, the Palais du Prince was constructed in the 13th century, and has been restored and renovated over time.
  • Visit Nice – Nice is a French city, but it’s only 21 km from Monaco. It takes around 30 minutes to travel there by train, allowing you to visit the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department of the French Riviera. It has its own selection of appealing attractions to see.
Citizens of Monaco and the Casino of Monte Carlo
Pictured is a citizen of Monaco intent on playing roulette. At the moment, he seems to be deciding what to bet on.

Citizens of Monaco cannot play at the Monte Carlo casino: Why?

Since Princess Caroline came up with the idea for the casino, residents of the city have not been permitted to play any of the game options inside. If they want to enter the casino, they can, but not for gambling purposes. The rule banning all Monegasque people from gaming at the casino was an initiative of the princess, who was the de facto regent of the country. She amended the rules surrounding residents on moral grounds, and they have remained in place throughout the decades. The government doesn’t want the country’s residents to gamble away their money. Instead, visitors to the principality from around the world are expected to do that.

Betting big: Financial insights of the Monte Carlo gaming venue

Without a doubt, Monaco benefits immensely from the presence of this gambling venue. If you consider it to be the country’s version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, then you may understand its appeal for anyone travelling there. This is not just for the fact that it provides top-quality entertainment inside, but because the architecture of the building is thoroughly inviting in itself.

With the initial idea behind the establishment being to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy, it’s clear that the principality aimed to do well financially. And all the revenue that passes through it comes from foreign guests, who come from around the world to see the casino.

The latest figures surrounding revenue, provided by the Société des Bains de Mer, focus on the time period between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. Revenue from the venue reached 667 million euros, compared with 530.5 million euros from the previous fiscal year. This was broken down into the following results:

  • 215.4 million euros from gaming revenue.
  • 325.1 million euros from hotel revenue.
  • 124.8 million euros from rental activities.

Operating profit was 72.2 million euros, while consolidated net income was 896.2 million euros.

Monte Carlo casinos cultural impact

There is little doubt that this venue has had a significant impact on the culture of Monaco. If you don’t believe us, then you can always ask anyone who has visited and played the games there. The Casino de Monte Carlo captures the glamour, majesty and mystery of its locale, drawing on Parisian architecture to produce an attractive construction.

It has also been host to some of the biggest stars from around the world, including royalty, celebrities, global dignitaries, and others. It has also been a popular backdrop in music videos and films, including for the popular fictional spy James Bond.

After it was constructed and began drawing in big names, it became a central hub of culture that everyone wanted to visit. Other land-based constructions sought to replicate the design and style of both the exterior and interior of the establishment. Of course, often replicated but never matched in majesty and style, the Casino de Monte Carlo has stood the test of time. It still serves as the country’s biggest draw today, alongside the F1 Grand Prix.

Monte Carlo casinos past, present, and future

Originally, this gaming venue was constructed to try and save the House of Grimaldi from going bankrupt. It wasn’t initially successful, leading to a string of different locations and operators taking over. Yet once François Blanc took over, things started moving in the right direction. Princess Caroline knew what she wanted from the casino’s construction, and it managed to achieve this, rescuing the royal family from its debts.

Throughout the preceding years, it has become a status symbol of Monaco, and still draws in big names from across the globe who want to go ahead with playing a game or two, experience the nightlife of Monaco, relax in a luxury atmosphere, and do it all at one of the most visually stunning venues. At present it remains as one of the biggest draws for the country, and the likelihood is that that will remain the case in the future.

Yet with the threat of COVID-19 in 2020, people became much more aware of online casino gaming, thanks to land-based venues having to close their doors for extended time frames. This Monaco casino has managed to bounce back after that, although the ever-increasing technology has led to online sites growing in popularity, too. Some may question whether the Casino de Monte Carlo is capable of surviving this. As one of the oldest and grandest casinos, we’re sure that it stands a great chance.

More details on the Casino de Monte Carlo
A room inside the Monte Carlo Casino, with a few people sitting at small tables. The air seems quiet and far from the gaming tables.

Further insights on Monte Carlo casino

Individual and guided visits, as well as group tours to the venue, including its opera hall, are available from 10am to 1pm. If you want to go to the Salon Rose restaurant, this opens at 12pm. Other bars and the gaming rooms open at 2pm daily, running until 4am. Anyone wanting to enter the casino at this time must be at least 18 years of age, present a valid form of photo ID at the door, and meet the dress code. Minors can go inside to visit the atrium or Salon Rose restaurant, but only until 2pm.

It is free to enter the atrium and the slot machine area. Getting into the area with gaming tables costs 17 euros, and that also sees you receive a 30 euros voucher to use on the games or in the restaurants. Anyone holding a card for the venue also gets two people in for free with them.

It is important that you dress properly. Appropriate casual attire is permitted in the atrium and Salle Renaissance rooms between 9am and 2pm. If you’re too casual, you may be turned away. The Salle Europe room permits casual attire between 2pm and 7pm, but no sneakers or trainers are allowed. Casual sandals and flip flops are banned. Ripped or stonewashed jeans, as well as sportswear, cannot be worn, either. A jacket and tie is recommended for men in the evening, and is compulsory in the Salon Privé rooms. From 7pm onwards, all shorts, t-shirts and sweatshirts are banned. Evening gowns are recommended for women, with a blazer/suit jacket necessary for men.

Common questions about Monte Carlo casino

You may have your own questions about the company behind the gaming venue or playing the available games etc. If so, then you can find further information out with these FAQs.

Is the casino in Monte Carlo worth it?

There will definitely be a level of personal opinion in play when it comes to determining if this attraction in Monaco is worth visiting. If you’re someone who is into gambling tourism, then there is little doubt that it will be worth it as there are plenty of roulette tables, slot machines, poker tables, and other games to experience. You can experience the thrill of gaming there, whilst being surrounded by the luxury and majesty of the establishment.

Yet even if you’re someone who isn’t into gaming of this nature, Monte Carlo Casino has a lot to experience. Restaurants, bars, the opera house, beautiful gardens, the grand design and décor of the venue, and so on, offer quite the treats for guests. There are numerous hotels nearby to stay in as well, if you don’t want to stay in one of the casino’s own hotel rooms. And once you’re through with enjoying the casino, there are various other things to do in Monaco and neighbouring France.

As a result, why wouldn’t you take in the beauty of the venue and its surroundings? The Place du Casino is just one area to explore in Monaco, with many others present to keep you entertained and feeling like you’ve had a wonderful trip to the country. Remember, however, that unlike online casinos, there will be no casino bonuses offered by this establishment.

Vincens André Fournier

Vincens André Fournier

My name is Vincens André Fournier, I am 48 years old and I was born and raised in Monaco. I am the editor-in-chief of this site. I am the son of a croupier at the Monte Carlo Casino, and I have always loved the gambling environment, rich in elegance and history. This passion is combined with my love for writing, inherited from my mother, a well-known French writer. As for myself, I speak and write four languages fluently and have a passion for fishing and long hikes in the mountains. I am always available for a pleasant cognitive conversation.