What Is Gambling in Monte Carlo Like?

Exterior and Interior Images of Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco

Long before Las Vegas or Macau rose to prominence, Monte Carlo was the world’s premier gambling destination. It became a big deal in the mid-1800s and has continued its run as a casino hotspot ever since.

Of course, Monte Carlo doesn’t draw diehard gamblers as much as Vegas or Macau. Instead, it’s more of a lavish casino destination that attracts wealthy people and others looking for an experience as much as the games.

It makes for a truly unique trip that offers the type of extravagance and waterfront views that few places can match. You can read more about what a Monte Carlo gambling trip is like below.

Where Is Monte Carlo?

Monte Carlo is located in Monaco. The latter is an independent principality that’s wedged between the Italian Riviera and the French Riviera.

It’s an extremely small place that only has 30,000 residents. Part of this population doesn’t even live in Monaco full time. They merely maintain an address here and stay part of the year so that they can avoid paying income taxes.

As for Monte Carlo, it’s only one of five districts in Monaco. The other four districts include La Condamine, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville, and Moneghetti.

How Do You Get to Monte Carlo?

Part of Monte Carlo’s exclusivity is attributed to how difficult it is to reach. It’s not anything like Las Vegas, which is easily accessible through international flights and major highways.

Monte Carlo’s rugged landscape and seaside location make it the complete opposite of Vegas. However, you can still get here through multiple ways.

The Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport is the closest spot for international flights. You can land here and hitch a taxi or Uber ride down the coast to Monte Carlo. The drive from the airport is only 25 minutes. However, you’ll end up paying €80 on average for the ride.

Elevated View of Monte Carlo in Monaco

You can also take a helicopter from the airport. This option will run you €150, but it provides unforgettable views along the way. Buses provide a cheaper route over taxis, Ubers, and helicopters. There are bus passes for anywhere from €20 to €30.

If you’re up for a French vacation, you can also fly into Paris and find transportation from there. This route is great if you’ve never been to the City of Love. You’ll also find far more flights that touch down in Paris versus Nice.

The downside, though, is that Paris is almost 600 miles away from Monaco. You’ll need to spend more time and money on transportation when starting from Paris.

What Casinos Are Available in Monte Carlo?

Many people know of Monte Carlo as a gambling destination. Therefore, they may envision it having many casino options.

The reality, though, is that Monte Carlo doesn’t really offer many options at all. It only features the following four casinos:

  • Casino de Monte Carlo
  • Casino Le Café de Paris
  • Monte Carlo Bay Casino
  • Sun Casino
Casino de Monte Carlo is easily the most popular of this bunch. Opened in 1863, it graces many photos involving Monte Carlo and is historically a favorite for fictional spy James Bond.

This casino offers the most real money slots and table games in the district. It also features the type of opulence you’d expect during your time here.

Café de Paris serves as both an outdoor café and slots parlor. You’ll find nearly 500 video poker and slot machines in this establishment.

The Bay Casino offers another slots parlor with no table games. Meanwhile, Sun Casino—located inside the Fairmont Hotel—has both table games and slots.

What Casino Games Can You Play in Monte Carlo?

Monte Carlo does a good job of spreading many types of gambling across its four casinos. You’ll find a good variety of table games and slot machines throughout the area.

Here are some of the table games that are available in Monte Carlo:

  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • European Roulette
  • Stud Poker
  • Texas Hold’em

The roulette action is particularly good here. You’ll find a number of European Roulette wheels with the la partage rule in effect.

The European wheel features 37 numbers and a 2.70% house edge. This compares much more favorably to the American Roulette version, which has 38 numbers and a 5.26% house advantage.

You’ll also enjoy the la partage rule, which pays half back on losing even-money bets when the ball lands on zero. This rule cuts the house edge down to 1.35%.

Roulette Wheel in a Monte Carlo Casino

The blackjack games in Monte Carlo are largely favorable too regarding rules. However, you won’t be able to count cards on anything less than a €100 table.

Most of the tables throughout the district use a continuous shuffling machine (CSM), which spoils any card counting dreams. The video poker action isn’t very good in Monte Carlo. You can find 9/6 Jacks or Better (99.54% RTP) if you’re willing to bet €1 per coin (€5 for the full five coins).

However, some American casinos only require to wager $0.25 per coin to play 9/6 Jacks or Better. Assuming you play the quarter games in Monte Carlo, then you’ll be facing 98.45% RTP or worse.

Keep in mind that you must exchange other currencies (e.g. USD, GBP) for euros before gambling. You can use an online currency converter if you’re struggling with knowing how much your bets are worth.

How Much Do You Have to Pay to Stay at the Casinos?

Monte Carlo is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it charges you for this fact too. You’ll pay hundreds of euros to stay at a three-star hotel or better.

Assuming you find any good deals, your booking cost is typically non-refundable. Furthermore, you’ll likely need to call in advance, because others will be fixating on the same great offers.

Of course, you could always opt for the budget hotels located here as well. But even these are more expensive than the average motel found throughout Atlantic City or Vegas.

Do You Need Formal Wear to Enter Casinos?

One common stereotype about Monte Carlo is that you need to wear a tuxedo or evening gown to enter the gambling floor. While this may be true of high-roller rooms, it’s not true across the board.

Most of the people throughout the casinos will be dressed casually. Therefore, you don’t need to pack a Gucci suit just to gamble in Monte Carlo.

You will, however, need to have formalwear if you visit one of the private gambling rooms. You’ll also need to bring a large bankroll to afford the €100 minimum bets.

How Are Monte Carlo Casinos Different From Others?

Most casinos use various tricks to keep your mind on the games at hand. They don’t have windows, clocks, or anything else that would clue you in on amount of time spent on the gambling floor.

Monte Carlo takes a very different approach to the matter. They not only have clocks on the wall but also feature large windows that provide a view to the outdoors.

Another difference is the makeup of the gambling floors. Monte Carlo casinos don’t have as many slot machines as most gaming destinations.

Rows of Slot Machines in a Monte Carlo Casino

They feature more table games on average, because they earn the majority of their revenue in this area. Contrast this scenario to Las Vegas casinos, which fill their gambling floors with slot and video poker machines.

The Monte Carlo gambling floors are also decorated much better than those found elsewhere. They go for a classic and elegant look that includes candelabras, chandeliers, and marble floors.

Likewise, dealers are all clad in formal wear. This touch completes an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into a wealthy 1800s gambling house.

Finally, Monte Carlo casinos aren’t as noisy as those in Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau, and other gambling hotspots. The less-noisy atmosphere is due to fewer slot machines and a quieter table games crowd.

Conclusion

Monte Carlo definitely isn’t your standard gambling trip. Instead, it’s one of the most lavish gambling destinations in the world.

Movie stars, royalty, and billionaires all vacation in this famed district of Monaco. Much of the same crowd also likes to gamble in the legendary private rooms found in Casino de Monte Carlo.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a prince or movie star just to enjoy Monte Carlo. But you will need to have a larger-than-average budget before heading here.

Monte Carlo hotels are pricier on average than any other casino destination. You’ll also have to spend more actually getting here. But once you do commit to this trip, you won’t be disappointed with the results.