Monaco is a small country in Europe with a unique legal system that creates some peculiar results. Despite the fact that $300 free chips no deposit are legal in this jurisdiction and there are many high-end casinos located here, locals are not allowed to participate in any $300 free chips no deposit. This state of affairs is not common, so it deserves a more detailed explanation.
Located next to the Mediterranean Sea and bordering only France, Monaco is a tiny country with a rich history and a population that enjoys a high standard. It’s known as the playground of the rich, with many millionaires from other countries residing there to take advantage of favourable income tax laws and nice weather.
Not surprisingly, some of the most luxurious casinos in the world are located in the country, including Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo, which was founded in 1863. In addition to this famous Monte Carlo casino, there are another four land-based gambling establishments in Monaco that collectively account for a significant percentage of its revenues.
Since the main objective of the gaming industry in Monaco is to increase earnings from tourists, only foreigners are allowed to play at the local casinos. Despite this restriction, Monaco is considered to be one of Europe’s hotspots for casino gaming and a major attraction for deep-pocketed gambling enthusiasts.
Since it’s a sovereign nation that is not officially a part of the European Union, Monaco is in a unique position to be able to set its laws while still enjoying all the benefits of proximity to the EU. One area where this is apparent concerns the Monaco gambling laws, which are very liberal but at the same time restrictive towards the native citizens (or Monegasques).
There is a Gambling Authority, an institution set up by the government that oversees the activities and finances of the casinos and gives gambling permissions. However, industry regulations don’t extend to online gambling, which is becoming much more popular lately.
A similarly relaxed attitude is shown towards taxation of gambling proceeds – players in Monte Carlo casinos are not required to pay any duties on their winnings. This is also true for residents to win money through online gambling.
Gambling in land-based casinos in Monaco is available to any foreign citizens legally residing in the country, with the requirement they must be older than 18. This includes both tourists and long-term residents who are not holding citizenship and who compose around 80% of all Monaco’s inhabitants.
In order to enter a casino, a visitor must show a document (i.e. passport) that clearly proves he is not a native citizen and states his age. Once they are admitted, gamblers are free to take part in any games hosted on-premises and wager any sums they like. The casinos reserve the right to turn away individual visitors who are too intoxicated, acting unruly, attempting to cheat, or breaking house rules in any other way.
Notably, citizens of Monaco are barred from entering land-based casinos and playing games of chance. This rule has been in place since the 19th century, and is today considered a part of the nation’s identity. Since the gambling laws are based on moral grounds, Monegasques aren’t even allowed to work in the casinos in Monte Carlo and all casino jobs are held by foreign-born employees.
That still doesn’t mean all avenues for gambling are closed for the local population in Monaco. There are no rules preventing them from visiting online casinos or enjoying sports betting on the internet. Most gambling websites accept players from this location, while in the case they withdraw their winnings to Monaco bank accounts, they still won’t be taxed.
Given the fact they still have an option to legally play casino games on the internet, Monegasque natives are not really banned from gambling. They only can’t do it in Monte Carlo casinos, which is nothing but a minor inconvenience considering how easy it is to set up an online account. In effect, they are allowed to gamble but have to use an international website to get around the traditional ban.
Most importantly, the citizens of Monaco follow equally favourable tax rules that attract so many visitors to live there. Since a part of the casino profits is claimed by the government and used for public expenses, it could be argued that local citizens actually benefit from the gambling laws that keep them off the casino floor and prevent them from incurring big losses. The odds in the local casinos are no better than what is available in online casinos, so Monegasques are well-served by the current arrangement.
The legal landscape for regulated gambling in Monaco is unique in the world, but it’s far from perfect. This micronation is most certainly gambling-friendly and attracts a lot of tourists who enjoy casino games, yet it also restricts its own citizens from the most attractive casinos.
That’s why it makes sense to summarise and compare the main pros and cons of the Monaco gambling laws and its powerful gambling industry:
- A long tradition of institutionalized casino gaming and the full support of the government.
- Clear and unambiguous gambling laws that protect the local citizens.
- Luxurious land-based Monte Carlo casino facilities that host many types of games.
- Absence of taxes levied on casino winnings for foreigners as well as locals.
- Residents of Monaco are not allowed to play in land-based casinos.
- The market is centrally controlled, with no real competition.
- The online gambling market is not regulated at all, increasing the risk of fraud.
The casino industry has been a driver of prosperity for Monaco for more than a century, and legal gambling remains the backbone of the local economy. While it may sound unusual that a country so deeply dedicated to casino gaming would prohibit its people from participating in it, the rule is working well, and there is no real discontent amount the citizens of Monaco about it. Monegasques who like to take some risks have an avenue to pursue their passion without challenging the long-standing tradition by taking part in online gambling, so in the end, everyone is happy.