Europe offers a unique travel experience, with its many classic architectural styles, distinct cultures, and changeable climates to explore. One of its most popular destinations, especially for the rich and famous, is the city-state of Monaco. In 2019 alone, the World Tourism Organization reported 363,000 tourists visiting from all over the globe. This number marked the highest in a 25-year period, proving how much tourism has improved in the area. And with local travel restrictions loosening, the city-state is well on its way to getting back its travel traction.
While there’s plenty to see and do in Monaco, from sightseeing to snorkeling, it is also a great location for those who enjoy casinos. After all, Europe has long since been a hotbed of gaming activity, with online providers just as prevalent across Europe as physical casinos. One of the industry leaders in the continent is Foxy Bingo, which brought the world-renowned slots and bingo hybrid titles to online gaming, such as Slingo Deal or No Deal and Slingo Extreme. The Government of Gibraltar officially licensed the games upon their release to the gaming market. Meanwhile, others have settled across mainland Europe to offer their services. Much of that started with French casino magnates François and Louis Blanc, who had already set up in Bad-Homburg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Homburg, Germany.
The Blancs were behind Monaco first introducing gaming in 1858, a move that has since defined the area. Prior to the arrival of the first casino, Casino de Monte-Carlo, the town had been known as Les Spelugues (or “the Den of Thieves”) and was a little-known seaside spot. By 1869, however, the casino made so much money for the principality that they stopped collecting taxes from citizens, which further helped drive it to become the opulent area it is today.
Fast-forward to the present, and casinos are now far more than just economic boosters for Monaco — they tell its history and culture, too. So, if you’re planning a trip to the city-state, here’s a quick guide to the best casinos you should check out.
Casino de Monte Carlo
Originally, the Casino de Monte Carlo was established to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy and put Monaco on the map. But thanks to Charles Deville Wells, an Englishman who played there no matter the result, the casino grew, and it became one of the most iconic and best-known gaming establishments in the world.
The Casino de Monte Carlo contains a wide range of games to choose from, such as craps, blackjack, English and French roulette, slot machines, and poker. But if you get tired of playing, you can swing by the Opéra and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo nearby, where international stars like Lionel Richie and Lana Del Rey perform.
Casino Café de Paris
CREDIT: Dr Wilson, Café de Paris, CC BY-SA 3.0]
The Casino Café de Paris exudes modernity in its every aspect, offering plenty to travelers looking to imbue themselves in the area’s culture. For example, aside from its symmetrical, geometric, and futuristic decor, it has also been refurbished with new-generation and high-end gaming machines. It even has an area called the “slot machine paradise”, which consists of 480 state-of-the-art slot machines with the rarest games in the world.
Of course, you can still join its many table games, including French and American roulette and Ultimate Texas Hold’ Em.
Monte-Carlo Bay Casino & Resort
Standing on a rocky overcrop looking out across the Mediterranean Sea, the 10-floor, 334-room Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort is a one-stop shop for visitors to the area. At its heart is its casino, of course, which features 155 slot machines and several dozens of electronic roulettes. These cutting-edge technologies are paired with a vast view of the sea, however, making it a great place not just to play games but also to stay a couple of days at.
There’s also a nearby restaurant called Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer that boasts Michelin-starred European dishes and a clothing shop called Golden Circle. The latter sells a ton of designer brands such as Hermès, Christian Dior, and Gucci, making the resort itself a must-visit for high-end shoppers.
These casinos literally served as the foundation of the wealth and mystery of Monaco. So, when you visit them, not only will you get to immerse yourself in the playground of the rich and famous, but also get to experience some of the local history and culture as well. For more travel articles on Europe, we cover many different destinations.