Monaco is a small sovereign state located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The gambling business here is legal and well developed. The first casino was opened in the middle of the 19th century. However, due to the inconvenient location, this institution was not in demand, and eventually closed. But in 1963, gambling moved to the city of Monte Carlo, where the Casino de Monte-Carlo was opened.
The gambling industry began to bring such revenues to the state treasury that citizens of the principality were exempted from paying taxes. And even today the indigenous people of Monaco (Monegasques), who are only about 20% of the total population, do not pay taxes. They live on subsidies and benefits. They also often take part in the gambling business, but only as a working staff. The gambling industry here is focused on tourists, and brings about 7% of all revenues to the state budget.
There are currently 4 land-based casinos operating legally in the country: Casino de Monte-Carlo, Casino Café de Paris, Sun Casino and Monte-Carlo Bay Casino. All these establishments are concentrated in one city – Monte Carlo. They offer players from various countries a full range of table games (about 86 tables) as well as slot machines (985 slot machines). Here you can play such games: blackjack, craps, American and French roulette, Punto Banco, various types of poker, etc. Casino de Monte-Carlo is the most popular. The famous European Poker Tour is held here every year.
As for online gambling, at the moment it is not regulated by the government and residents of the country visit virtual casino platforms of foreign operators. True, this may change if France expands its gambling jurisdiction to Monaco, which could lead to the introduction of strict laws and licensing rules.
Monaco’s gambling laws
The gambling industry in Monaco is regulated by Law No. 1103 of 12/06/1987. According to this regulatory legal act, almost all types of gambling are allowed on the territory of the principality. In local casinos you can find:
- table games – poker, roulette, Texas hold’em, blackjack, baccarat, craps, Trente et Quarante (30/40), Punto Banco;
- slot machines – thematic slots, electronic roulette, video poker.
However, the gambling law does not mention bingo, sports betting, and lotteries. Therefore, these types of games are not regulated in the country. Only persons who have reached the age of 18 and who have identity documents with them can visit gambling establishments in Monaco. Access to such establishments is prohibited:
- local citizens;
- military personnel;
- clergymen and those who belong to a religious community;
- persons who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Also, persons whose behavior may cause a scandal or an unpleasant incident are not allowed;
- for the excluded.
Excluded from gambling houses and casinos:
- people who made a written statement;
- incapacitated persons upon written application of their legal guardians or representatives;
- people who are recognized as unwanted visitors.
Player exclusions for more than one year take effect upon administrator approval. The administrative body can always exclude a specific visitor.
Gambling industry regulators
The gambling business in Monaco is regulated by the Gambling Authority, which is under the authority of the Ministry of Finance and Economy. The Gambling Authority consists of a manager, deputy and inspectors. These officials have the right to do the following:
- supervising the operation of gambling houses and conducting investigations for this purpose;
- verification of transactions related to the conduct of gambling;
- control over access to gambling houses, as well as over the time of their opening and closing;
- guarantee the proper conditions for the games and the appropriate behavior of the employees of the establishments.
If officials of the Gambling Commission see violations of the provisions of the law, they have the authority to act under the auspices of the prosecutor.
Penalties for violations in the field of gambling business
The Criminal Code of Monaco provides for a clause according to which the punishment in the form of imprisonment for a period of six days to one month and a fine is awarded:
- to the chairmen of the board of directors of the company-owner of the license, which does not notify the administrative body of changes in its authorized capital;
- administrators or managers of the company who started their activities without special permission;
- casino operators who have hired an employee without the permission of an administrative authority;
- any employee who has violated their duties;
- a casino operator who uses unlicensed equipment and devices.
It is also punishable by imprisonment for a term of one to six months and a fine who will prevent the members of the Gambling Commission from performing their functions.
Gambling licensing in Monaco
A permit to open and operate a gambling house or casino can only be granted under the conditions defined by Law No. 1103 on the gambling business. The permit must indicate:
- the name and qualifications of the permit holder;
- premises where licensed games are operated;
- the number of table games and slots allowed.
This permission is accompanied by certification.
A company that has received permission to provide gambling must notify the administrative body of changes in the authorized capital, and immediately. If the predominant part of the capital changes, then a new license application must be submitted (within 15 days), since the previous one becomes invalid.
A director or head of a licensed company cannot perform their duties without official permission. The casino operator cannot use materials and equipment other than those models that have received official permission. Each casino operator must submit an income statement to the administrative authority. These rules are fixed by the cabinet of ministers. The administrative body monitors the observance and application of the rules for accounting for income from the game.
Online gambling in Monaco
The government of the country quite strictly regulates the activities of land-based casinos, however, online gambling is practically not regulated here. Online casino operators are not licensed. But this does not mean at all that local players cannot visit the websites of foreign operators. Currently, there are no consequences and legal restrictions for companies promoting their services in Monaco.
There are many online casinos that gladly accept players from Monaco, even its indigenous people. Bets on such sites are accepted in the national currency of the country – euro, as well as in US dollars.
Many popular developers supply their licensed games for sites operating in the country. These include:
The most popular slot machines in Monaco
The most popular slot machines in Monaco are:
- Mega Moolah from Microgaming;
- Starburst from NetEnt;
- Koi Princess by NetEnt;
- Game of Thrones from Microgaming;
- Lightning Link by Aristocrat.
There is no information about the developers of gambling software based in Monaco.
Prospects for the development of the gambling business in Monaco
The gambling business of Monaco is well developed and steeped in tradition. All activities related to the provision of services in the field of gambling are mainly aimed at tourists. Casino de Monte-Carlo, which is located in the city of Monte Carlo, is famous all over the world. Every year this institution brings considerable revenues to the state budget. The very same citizens of the country are prohibited from visiting any land-based casinos. But the legislation does not prohibit them from placing bets in virtual casinos of foreign operators.
It is unlikely that any changes will be made to the gambling legislation of the principality in the near future. True, it is likely that France could expand its jurisdiction, renowned for its strict laws and regulations for licensing casino operators, and influence the gambling business in Monaco. If this happens, then most likely local players will encounter difficulties while visiting the sites of foreign online casino operators.