The Story of One of The Oldest Casino In The World: The Casino de Monte Carlo

The Casino de Monte Carlo is one of the world’s most luxurious and iconic casinos. It is probably the most famous gambling place after Las Vegas, of course. But a further introduction doesn’t make anything bad.

Located in Monaco, the casino has attracted gamblers from around the world for nearly two centuries. That’s how old the casino is. Actually, it is among the oldest casinos ever created, as its foundation dates back to the 19th century. 

Almost Everyone Is Welcome

As one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious venues for gambling, this elegant casino offers a unique gambling experience for visitors of all levels of expertise. Tourists, first-time players, occasional gamblers or professional ones are all welcome behind the doors of the luxurious place. 

Since its inauguration, the Casino de Monte Carlo has become the go-to destination for fine dining, gambling, and entertainment for the world’s elite. High rollers from all countries flock to its elegant salons, and its expansive grounds host a huge variety of activities. There, one can find the traditional roulette, blackjack, slot machines and baccarat.

Actually, almost everyone is welcome. Did you know since the day the casino was created, the residents of Monaco (with a monégasque nationality) are forbidden to gamble on the coastal territory? And this is due to a law of the 19th century that stipulates that it is a question of morality. As such, if locals play casino games, they will be considered immoral. But that’s not such a big deal, as only 20% of the inhabitants possess the monégasque nationality. 

A Casino to Save the Country

As we mentioned, the history of the Casino de Monte Carlo dates back to the mid-19th century. Back then, it was envisioned as a way to provide additional revenues for Monaco’s economic development. Many might think that Monaco is part of France, but it is not. The little territory is a principality, with an actual prince, princess and a royal family.

But back on topic. This plan was the idea of Prince Charles III of Monaco, who was eager to boost his small country’s income. He commissioned the famous Parisian architect, Charles Garnier, to design the building. Garnier’s design was inspired by the Opéra Garnier in Paris, and it included a luxurious gaming area, a theater, a library and a restaurant. Construction of the casino began in 1853, and it officially opened to the public in 1855.

A Franc Success for Monaco and the Grimaldi’s

During its opening day, the casino’s managers were concerned that they may have offered too many games, as 3,000 guests attended the event. However, their fears were swept away as the casino earned a total of 800,000 francs, a huge financial success for the casino back then. 

One of the most famous stories related to the Casino of Monte Carlo actually involves Charles de Grimaldi. After the casino opened, the revenues were so low that the Grimaldi family was almost bankrupt. Charles, who was very fond of gambling, borrowed money to play at the casino. He managed to win enough to save the family and the casino from bankruptcy. 

Art Nouveau and the Grand Marble Stairway

The casino’s first renovation took place between 1878 – 1885, when it was redecorated in an Art Nouveau style and new gaming rooms were added. It is the art element that gives character to the place. 

In the early 20th century, the casino was briefly closed in 1911 before reopening again in 1912, only to be closed once more during WWI. It re-opened in 1918 and continued to flourish under the new Monarchy, attracting some of the world’s wealthiest visitors.

Prestigious Gambling Events

In 1966 and 1973, the casino underwent further renovations and today, the building features a grand marble stairway, frescoed ceilings, elegant columns, and crystal chandeliers. 

The casino hosts some of the world’s prestigious events from the gambling world. The annual World Championship of Backgammon and the Monte Carlo Millions Poker Tournament are the most renowned ones. 

It also boasts some of the largest jackpots in Europe, and its stars-and-stripes flag is a scene from many Hollywood films. If you ever have the chance to visit Monaco, stroll through the casino’s grand halls.  You’ll experience the legendary gambling venue in all its splendor. Its historic and elegant atmosphere will take you back to a time of romance, luxury, and lavishness.