Monaco may be for the rich & famous, but the world-renowned Casino de Monte Carlo is definitely worth visiting (and you may even win some money!)
Superyachts, Lamborghinis, and James Bond…that’s what I think of when I imagine Monaco.
Monaco has long been the playground of the rich and famous. Technically the second smallest country in the world (just larger than Vatican City), this principality takes up less than one square mile but is one of the richest countries in the world, where nearly a third of residents are millionaires. Plus, it’s on the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea just down the coast from the French Riviera. You could definitely say that this is an absolutely gorgeous location.
But let’s circle back to James Bond. Remember Casino Royale?
Yeah. That is based on the Monte Carlo Casino. It is even filmed there!
I’m sure you’re thinking “a casino? In the wealthiest nation? No way, I probably can’t even afford the minimum bet!”
Let me tell you: the Casino de Monte Carlo is gorgeous, has a low cover charge, and you can actually make money – at least I did!
Find out everything you need to know about the Monte Carlo Casino here, including the entry fee, dress code, and some photos inside!
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Where is the Monte Carlo Casino?
The Monte Carlo Casino is located in Monaco, both the second tiniest country in the world and a sovereign city-state. Monaco is down the coast from the famous French Riviera city of Nice and just a short hop to the western border of Italy and the Cinque Terre.
Given that the entire city and country occupy less than one square mile, you probably don’t really need directions to the casino, but they help nonetheless!
If you’re taking the train, get off at “Monaco Monte Carlo” station and follow signs for the casino…better yet, you can download some super awesome apps that I recommend to everyone for travel!
If you’re down near the port, you just need to follow the water and watch for signs for an elevator or stairs. You’ll be able to pop up right near the Hôtel de Paris, just off the Casino Garden.
A Brief History of the Casino de Monte Carlo
The vision of Monte Carlo started with the dream of Monaco becoming known as a world-class destination for gaming. Dating back over 150 years, the casino began construction in 1863 and was officially opened five years later. The lead architect, Charles Garnier, also designed the Paris Opera, so you know this is opulent, extravagant, and absolutely stunning.
At one point, the casino generated over 90% of Monaco’s revenue!
This stunning location is perfect for movies, with films such as GoldenEye, Heartbreaker, and Iron Man 2 shooting scenes here.
Pro tip: swing by the Hôtel de Paris before gambling. Legend has it that rubbing the knee on the statue of Louis XIV provides good luck.
Did you know it’s illegal for citizens of Monaco to gamble at the Monte Carlo?!
Yup! Crazy but true – the Monégasque (how you say “citizen of Monaco” formally) are banned from gambling at the Monte Carlo. The official theory is that Princess Caroline wanted to ensure that her people didn’t fritter away their money at the casino when it first opened. However, there are theories that this tradition continues due to Monaco’s beneficial tax law. Who knows!
How do they prevent the Monégasque from entering? Easy!
Everyone must show their passport to enter the casino. So don’t forget to carry it with you!
What’s the entry fee at the Monte Carlo?
In a land of millionaires, superyachts, and cars worth more than houses, you would probably expect the entry fee at the Casino de Monte Carlo to be expensive…
But it isn’t. For just about 17 euro, can enter the casino and gamble. Bonus – the 17 euro fee includes either 10 euro in slot or table play!
What’s the dress code at the Monte Carlo?
The dress code at the Monte Carlo casino mostly depends on what time of day you visit. If you’re taking a guided tour (more on that below!) between 10 am and 1 pm, you can wear standard tourist wear, including Bermuda shorts, t-shirts, and athletic shoes. Don’t look too casual, though – tattered apparel, beach clothing, and flip flops aren’t accepted.
If you’re planning to gamble earlier in the day, try and look a little nice. You know “casual Fridays” at the office where you wear a polo or blouse and nice jeans? That’s your best bet in the afternoon.
In the evening, you’ll need to dress even better to visit the Monte Carlo. From 7 pm on, men will want to wear dark jeans and a sport coat while women could wear a nice blouse or cocktail dress.
Three Ways to Visit the Monte Carlo
There are three different ways to visit the famous Casino de Monte Carlo. You may opt for either an audio-guided tour, a chance to actually gamble (including blackjack, roulette, and slots!), or just take a short walk through the main building. The building has a lot to explore, including the casino, luxury stores, the Opera, and more.
Quick Visit to see the Atrium
Just looking to see the gorgeous inside of the Casino de Monte Carlo? Not a problem! Anyone can enter the main atrium for free and take photos. You won’t need to adhere to a dress code or present identification, so this is great for those short on time.
Guided Tour of the Casino
If you want to see the casino without gaming, a guided tour is the way to go. Stop by between 9 am and 1 pm any day to enjoy an audio tour. The entire experience lasts about an hour and the admission cost includes a drink or game token!
Visit and actually gamble!
In my opinion, you cannot visit the world’s most famous casino and not gamble, so this is what I recommend you do!
Starting at 2 pm, you can enter the casino (with passport checks and the fee!) and begin gambling. As mentioned above, the fee includes some value for the table games or slot machines, so the fee actually isn’t that bad.
I am not an avid gambler, but when I do play, I usually set a loss limit for myself so I know when to walk away. I had emotionally budgeted 100-200 euros because I figured the Monte Carlo would be expensive. It actually wasn’t too bad – minimum spins were about 50 cents – and I actually won money! I ended up putting in 100 euro and walking away with over 300 euro in just about an hour. I didn’t just win once, either. I won multiple times, drew it down a bit, and won more.
My winnings entirely paid for the Lamborghini experience I did in Monaco, so it was a pretty good day!
Inside the stunning Monte Carlo Casino of Monaco
The Monte Carlo is unlike any casino I’ve ever been in. It has the grandeur of Versailles, but with slot machines and game tables sprinkled throughout.
As you walk in, you will be greeted with this stunning atrium:
If you choose to gamble or take the guided tour, you will be able to see the game rooms:
And below you can see one of my mini winnings! Winning 130 euro in an environment like this feels wonderful.
Where to dine after experiencing the Casino de Monte Carlo
The casino resides in Casino Square, flanked by both the famous Hôtel de Paris and Café de Paris.
Both experiences are opulent, luxurious, and expensive, but you can at least enjoy a snack at the Café de Paris. Enjoy a seat outside while sipping cocktails, people-watching, and marveling at the expensive cars driving by.
The prices are high but the food is delicious.
If you’re on a budget, just enjoy the famous Barbagiun (roughly pronounced “barb-uh-john”). This delicious pastry is a ravioli filled with Swiss chard and ricotta.
It may not sound like much, but it is delectable and distinctly Monégasque, so this is a wonderful way to round out your day in Monaco.