The Monte Carlo Casino is located in the administrative area of Monaco, an independent sovereign state found on the French Riviera. It is one of the most famous casinos in the world.
The country of Monaco is regarded as a tax haven because of its tax rules – individuals are exempt from paying tax – and that’s often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the country. In addition to its attractive tax exemptions, however, the country has a beautiful coastline that is wedged in on the French Riviera. It is also known as the host of arguably the most prestigious Formula 1 event in the world every year – the Grand Prix of Monaco.
The Casino de Monte Carlo is located a stone’s throw away from the warm Mediterranean waters. And just like the waters, it’s a big draw to the Mediterranean paradise, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The Casino has a reputation as being a playground for the rich and famous. James Bond has wagered there (the James Bond films Golden Eye and Never Say Never Again), and Danny (George Clooney) tells the Ocean’s Twelve gang about a mark playing there. The image is the big money tossed about the table games, notably Baccarat, and the men in tuxedos and the women in evening gowns.
I visited the Monte-Carlo casino and found reality didn’t add up to those images. Sure, the front drive was full of expensive luxury cars waiting for their owners. And yes, there is an enforced dress code and a few regulations that you don’t find in Las Vegas. With a little bit of planning, however, you can visit the world-famous Grand Casino without breaking the bank.
Here are my tips on how to visit Monte Carlo Casino.
Visiting the Casino
The Casino de Monte Carlo is located on the Place du Casino in the heart of Monaco. This is one of the primary tourist attractions in the small principality, and along with its beaches is one of the reasons why it’s one of the hottest tourist destinations.
Who Can Visit the Monte Carlo Casino?
The Casino welcomes guests of all ages to access the Atrium, the Rotunda Cafe, the Salon Rose restaurant, and the Boutique up until 2 pm (which is when the game rooms open). Guided tours, with or without an audio guide, are offered most mornings, from 10 am -12:15 pm.
After 2 pm, all facilities except the Atrium are for guests 18 years of age and older.
You will need to present a valid passport or valid national identity card to present as photo ID to access the casino gaming rooms. A driver’s license is not accepted.
Citizens of Monaco, called Monegasques, are prohibited from entering or working at the casino. If you’re visiting Monaco residents, you’ll need to come up with another entertainment option.
Hours of Operation
Between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm, access to the casino is allowed solely for visiting purposes.
At noon, the Atrium and the Salon Rose Restaurant are open for access. The art and decor in the Atrium are impressive, and even if you don’t have much time, you may want to pop in for a look.
The gaming rooms of the casino open at 2 pm every day and remain open until 4 am the following morning. Along with the gaming rooms, the bars remain open for the duration of the gaming hours to service guests with drinks and snacks.
During the gaming hours, visitors to the casino have a large variety of games and tables to choose from. These include Craps, English Roulette, French Roulette, European Roulette, Punto Banco, Black Jack, Poker Texas Hold’em Ultimate, and of course, slot machines. There are also private gaming rooms, I’m assuming for the very rich and very famous.
The gaming rooms have an admission fee of 18 Euros, with discounts provided or admission waived for members of the My-Monte-Carlo loyalty program. With our admission, we each received a rebate of 10 Euros for gameplay.
Since one of the items on my bucket list (a list of 100 things that I want to do and see) was to “lay down a bet in Monte Carlo,” we intended to put this to good use.
Our visit was during the daytime, and not many table games were open. It wasn’t all glittering gowns and tuxedoes men like in a James Bond movie. There is a dress code (more on that below), but it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. It may change come evening time.
The minimum table bet on the casino floor is €5, while the maximum bet is capped at €2000. This changes if you wish to take your gaming to one of the private rooms, the minimum bet is €10, and the maximum bet has no cap. That’s right, no limit. You can bet €5 million if you wish. I’m guessing that patrons who are betting that kind of money don’t have to pay the entry fee.
There weren’t a lot of gaming tables open and in use, and we weren’t looking to spend a few hours of play, so we wandered through the different gaming rooms to get a feel for the place. Eventually, we found a small bank of penny slots at the back of the casino. We chose a James Bond-themed machine and settled in to use our coupon for play. Yes, my bets in the Grand Monte Carlo casino were on the penny slots. And good luck was on our side – we won! It was only $25, but we cashed it in, keeping one of the chips as a souvenir.
Perhaps on a return trip, we’ll visit in the evening. I’d like to spring for dinner at one of the fine dining establishments, as well as watch the players around the roulette wheel and the baccarat table
In order to maintain a certain standard and level of luxury at the Monte Carlo Casino, a dress code is in effect. Smart attire is required to keep up the legend that is the Monte Carlo Casino and honor its unique character.
The general areas such as the Atrium, restaurants, the boutique, and the Renaissance rooms don’t have a dress code to access them. While the dress code doesn’t apply, it is always appreciated that you at least make some effort to look both respectful and appropriate.
The gaming rooms, on the other hand, have strict dress code requirements to access and smart attire is required. You’ll be turned away if wearing shorts, jeans that have holes (intentional or not), flip-flops or beach sandals, Bermuda shorts, sleeveless tops, and beachwear. Excessive logo wear and offensive language on clothing will also be a problem, and you may need to cover those up.
The appearance of each and every guest is verified by the staff upon entering and should you not meet the basic requirements, you will not be able to enter. This does, of course, differ depending on the time of day, but as a general rule of thumb, dress smart.
We had been walking around in the rain and were a little drenched. Okay, a lot drenched. Our clothes were soaked, my hair was hours away from being dry, and we looked pretty bedraggled. We still got in. We needed to check out outerwear and hats before entry, but then we were fine. I wore wool pants and a sweater, Tony wore dress slacks and a collared shirt, and we blended in. Jackets are expected, although not officially required, after 8 pm. We would have been underdressed.
Visitors to the Monte Carlo Casino generally dress to the nines so there is never much of an issue when it comes to having access denied. First-time visitors are always advised to familiarize themselves with the dress code and general etiquette to avoid any disappointment.
While there is no specific etiquette for the Monte Carlo Casino per se, it is always recommended and appreciated that you are respectful to both the staff and other visitors. This means not being drunk, rowdy, obnoxious, or rude while playing at the tables or in restaurants and bars.
This is not the Las Vegas bacchanalia of bachelor and bachelorette parties. It’s civilized, without being stuffy. And for the hour we were there, we were able to dip our toes into the glamour of this renowned venue.
Need to Know
Getting there: We visited Monte Carlo on a Viking Ocean cruise (Iconic Western Mediterranean itinerary), which is how many travelers are first introduced to the principality. The closest airport is Nice Cote d’Azur (NCE), about 20 miles away. Currently, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Delta, United, SWISS, Air Canada, and Lufthansa have non-stop flights to Nice (always subject to change) from New York and Atlanta. Luxurious yachts and private planes dot the harbor if you’re fortunate enough to be one of those travelers.
Currency: Although Monaco is not a member of the European Union, the Euro is the official currency.
Electricity: Type C, E, and F plug-ins are required. This is the type that has two round pins and then may have additional clips or an earthing pin. A good all-purpose travel adapter is essential.
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