Betting in Monte Carlo

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Monte Carlo is a district in the Principality of Monaco, a sovereign city-state consisting of a single municipality or “commune” that serves as its own capital. With a land mass of just 485 acres, 100 of which have been reclaimed from the sea, Monaco ranks as the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City. It was officially recognized as an independent nation by the Franco-Monégasque Treaty of 1861.

Monaco’s Prince Florestan I (1785~1856) should be credited for legalising gambling in the Principality in 1854. However, it was Prince Charles III who ordered the construction of Monte Carlo and established a 50-year concession to operate the gaming rooms inside a bold new gambling emporium—the Casino de Monte-Carlo—which would serve as the centrepiece of the new district.

Today, Monte Carlo is home to five casinos with 21 gaming rooms and 1,160 slot machines. All of the properties are under the control of Société des Bains de Mer Monaco (SBM), Monaco’s single largest employer. As a state-sanctioned monopoly, it specializes in the operation of casinos and hotels, earning 52.7 percent of its net sales from gaming, including traditional table games and newer automatic games.

Casino games in Monte Carlo include the European traditions—Roulette, Baccarat and Chemin de Fer—as well as American innovations like Blackjack, Craps, Stud Poker, Mini Punto Banco and a new Texas Hold’em variation played against the dealer. Gaming machines include progressive jackpots, centime slots, high-roller €20 slots, video poker, electronic Roulette and something called “Xtrem Derby,” a multiplayer, virtual horseracing game.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo remains the hub of elegant, old-school gambling in Monaco, featuring crystal chandeliers, frescoed ceilings, tuxedoed croupiers and high-stakes wagering. Most of its 100 slots and 35 table games are open each day from 2pm till closing. There is a €10 entrance fee, and “sensible dress” is required. Admission to the Salons Privés (private rooms) requires an additional €10 fee, and men are required to wear jackets after 8pm. Three restaurants can be found on the premises, too—Le Salon Rose, Le Train Bleu and Les Prives.

As a contrast appealing to a younger crowd, SBM has also developed the Casino Café de Paris as a center for slot machines and American-style table games. It is open daily from 2pm until closing, offering 400 gaming machines, ten restaurants and a bar. All players must be properly dressed, and the minimum age for entrance is 21 years old.

Similarly laid back is the trendy Sun Casino inside the 650-room Monte Carol Grand Hotel. It features festive Las Vegas-style gambling from noon to 2am daily, with 450 of the very latest imported gaming machines and 27 table games. There are four restaurants on site, too, including the Café de la Mer for seafood, the Foie Gras for French cuisine, the L’Argentin grille room and the continental Le Pistou.

The 334-room Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort features a casino that is ultra-contemporary in design. The gaming space has 145 gaming machines in action from 2pm to 2am daily, with bets starting from as little as €0.10. The resort gained additional fame in 2012 and 2013 as a host sight for the European Poker Tour.

The fifth SBM property in Monte Carlo is the Casino La Rascasse, located on the first floor of the legendary La Rascasse restaurant and its hairpin turn that features in the annual Monaco Grand Prix. There are 85 slot machines to choose from, including Star Wars, Video Poker, Battle Pirates and Disco Fever, to name a few. The casino is open seven days a week from 2pm to 4.30am, with a Slot Machine Happy Hour from 5pm to 11pm, when Carte Cercle Monte-Carlo 777 holders receive double points.

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