A rare look inside the Monte Carlo Casino, the world’s most spectacular place to gamble

New York /
Oct.October 29, 2016 10:00 AM

There is no casino more grand and more famous than the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco. The ornate gambling house has been featured in multiple “James Bond” movies and is perhaps the most iconic building in the tiny principality.

Cameras are strictly forbidden inside the casino’s gilded rooms. But in 2014, Reuters photographer Eric Gaillard gained access to document the casino’s inner workings over three days.

He wrote on Reuters’ photographers’ blog: “I was surprised by the lavishly decorated interior, and greeted by the sound of vacuum cleaners as valets cleaned the gaming tables, removing dust and bits of foreign matter that might compromise gambling results. I quickly realize how privileged I am to witness this private world with its codes and particularities.”

Step inside the world’s grandest casino and meet the people who make it tick.

The “Belle Epoque”-style Casino de Monte Carlo is the centerpiece of Monaco, a tiny principality nestled into the French Riviera.

Inaugurated in 1863, the casino was conceived to save Monaco’s House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy.

Immediately to the left of the casino complex is the Café de Paris, a popular spot for a drink and people-watching.

To the right is the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, an ornate hotel that opened around the same time as the casino, and is considered to be the finest in Monaco.

The Casino de Monte Carlo is a place to see and be seen. Once the casino opens its doors at 2 p.m., valets can be seen zipping in and out of Ferraris, Bentleys, and Rolls-Royces. This is Roland Ceccotti, head of valet parking and a doorman, who has worked at the casino for 25 years.

Let’s step inside. Photography is strictly forbidden inside the casino, but Reuters photographer Eric Gaillard was offered a rare glimpse. Here, Sabine Lorand poses at the entrance desk, where she has worked for 10 years, selling entrance tickets that cost 10 euros ($14) each.

The casino welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed, and after 8 p.m., men must wear a sports jacket in the private gaming rooms.

The Casino de Monte Carlo has long been associated with James Bond. Its Beaux Arts architecture supposedly inspired novelist Ian Fleming’s casino in his first Bond novel, “Casino Royale.”

The casino and Monte Carlo were featured in the James Bond movies “Never Say Never Again” and “GoldenEye.” Here, barmen Damien Dellerba (L) and Sylvain Pastoret pose in front of their bar in the private rooms of the Salle Blanche.

Chantal Duhomme has worked at the casino for 25 years and is in charge of the cleaning of the slot machines. Hundreds of people work in the casino and behind the scenes to keep things meticulous.

Signs in the Salle Medecin let gamblers know the minimum bets. While the casino is a huge moneymaker for Monaco, its citizens are barred from gambling there.

When visitors are ready to cash out, they can exchange their chips with assistant cashier Gregory Francois, posing here in the Salle des Ameriques.


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