With its woodwork and gilding, the casino Monte Carlo has lost nothing of its magnificence, but for several years, games no longer report to the Principality: their recovery is a priority and nothing is left to chance to do to revive the fascination of yesteryear.
Exceptional dinners, temporary installations to revamp the entrance of the casino and its 28 Second Empire columns, souvenir shop, boxing fight, blackjack and English roulette free spins.
Situated next to the sea, a million-dollar roulette tournament dollars: since the arrival of Pascal Camia at the head of the games department of the Society of Sea Baths (SBM) a year and a half ago, innovations are ramping up
It was time. For six years, the SBM has paid almost no penny to the shareholder state of Monaco. It spent at best 1 cent per share from 2010-11 to 2012-13, zero over the last three fiscal years and the operating result of the games was negative six years out of seven.
Without the jackpot real estate – the SBM also rents offices, shops and luxury apartments–, the situation would be worse and the magazine Monaco Hebdo, a provocative bit, headline late 2016:
“SBM: towards the end of table games? “
To correct the mistakes
Eric Elena, elected outgoing in the Monegasque parliament and croupier at the time when the customer smoked in abundance, concedes: “The games are changing everywhere, whether in Monaco, Vegas, Macao, London … We had a little confusing to adapt, but we are in the process of rectifying the shot.
The air gap started at the turn of the 2000s, with the changeover to the euro, followed by the ban on smoking (2008), the increased regulation against money laundering (2009), the opening of European markets to gambling. Online money, the explosive development of Asian casinos and a globally tougher competitive environment. Part of the Italian clientele also evaporated with the crisis.
Pascal Camia summarizes the paradox of Monte-Carlo today: “We are one of the three best-known brands, but we only achieve 0.3% of the gross world product of games (turnover, ed).”
The SBM keeps its assets with its palaces and its long experience of a rich and whimsical clientele that has held the worldly chronicle since 1863 and makes the fortune of Monaco and its ruling family. In its early days, the SBM paid an annuity in gold francs to the sovereign. Listed on the stock market, it remains controlled by the Monegasque State (64.21%) and a valuable source of jobs (over 3,000).
“We have 155 years of experience, and on small details, we have the means to customize everything, the way to put the cards, the choice of the dealer.We want to be the haute couture of the game, it’s our DNA”, Prof. Mr Camia, who is looking for the martingale to give birth to a new generation of players and retain the largest, especially Asian.
Sign of change, the historical temple of French roulette, the Europe hall, mythical with its clock inherited from a time when the players, neck to neck with all the wealthy aristocracy of Europe, duchesses, watched the time to leave Nice by train, was refitted.
“The guests were captivated by the beauty of the place, but it felt like a place that was a little mysterious, quiet and did not create entertainment, and in all the international casinos, the first rooms are made for non-players or those who play for the fun side, “says Camia.
“We added a cosy lounge area to make people stay longer, create an atmosphere,” he explains. So we can now enter the Holy of Holies for 10 euros, drink a drink, on the condition of respecting a dress code that banished flip-flops and jeans with holes, even luxury.