Today, of course, Prince Rainer III is the reigning monarch of Monaco.  But the controlling  shares in the casino game are held by the multimillionaire Greek ship-owner and businessman extraordinary, Aristotle Onassis, Onassis’s 17,000-ton ocean going yacht Christina is now one of Monte Carlo sightseers’ principal sights.  On it he entertains many of the world-famous celebrities who visit Monte Carlo-film stars, statesmen, royalty, and industrialists alike.  In recent years his guests have included Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, the king of Greece, Greta Garbo, Maria Callas, and Cary Grant – to name just a few.  Onassis’s presence in Monte Carlo can be said to be largely responsible for the casino’s continuing success; like Blanc before him, he seems to add to and attract the glamour that makes Monte Carlo unique among gambling centers.

For the most part the casino is a model of efficiency.  From the office of the eight  directors (one of whom is Prince Rainier’s personal representative) on the first floor, to the basement workshops where the tables and wheels are serviced and adjusted, the enterprise is run with clock work precision.  All possible precautions are taken to ensure that both the player and casino are given an absolutely fair deal.  Each day before the first play begins (at 10 a.m.) the roulette wheels are checked for balance with a spirit level, the balls are measured, the croupiers’ rakes are examined, and each table is issued with its half-a-million francs’ worth of chips.  (These have been exclusively designed for the casino, and are said to be virtually impossible to counterfeit .)  In addition the equipment on the card tables is carefully checked.

The croupiers themselves are carefully trained and disciplined at the casino’s own school:  Their course takes between six and eight months.  A good croupier must posses a knowledge of at least one language other than French, must have an impeccable record and, above all, must have the natural facility to keep a cool head in moments of excitement and crisis.  Croupiers also must have memories that can infallibly record the ownership of any of thousands of francs’ worth of chips or plaques placed on any section of the table, and the mathematical ability to work out the odds instantly on any payoff.

Security naturally heads the casino’s list of priorities.  The finance offices on the first floor, for example, are situated at the end of a corridor so narrow that only one person can approach at a time. Online poker player must leave hats, brief cases, and similar articles in the cloakrooms.  (This rule was made in the 1920s after a gang smuggled a smoke bomb into the casino and escaped with several cash boxes during the panic that followed its explosion.)  The casino also has its own independent electricity system, which is kept as a reserve.  Thus, if there should be a breakdown in the normal system 9 or if a thief should cut the wires), the casino would not be plunged into complete darkness.  And at the slightest sign of trouble croupiers have only to press a button for the contents of their cash boxes to drop through pneumatic tubes into a vault in the basement.

The croupiers must observe a strict code of conduct.  They are not allowed to accept social invitations or gifts, must have no contact with patrons outside the casino, and must not talk to strangers in the street.  Each table is under the employees.  The chefs de partie are watched, in their turn, by the casino’s force of security men.

The casino’s police force is completely independent from Monaco’s police, though the two forces work in close harmony.  Each day the names of all visitors to the casino are sent to the Sûreté Publique to be checked against the files of “wanted” and “convicted “ men.  If a gambler who was once caught baccarat cheating should return to the casino, the local force is notified and the visitors is tracked down and expelled from the principality.
In addition to its police force, the casino employs security men who are expert physiognomies.  Their job is simply to watch the people.  Should anyone on the casino’s black list (for cheating, welshing on debts, etc.)  try to get into the casino, one of these remarkable men will undoubtedly spot him.  For many  years the chief physiognomist at Monte Carlo was a Monsieur le Broq.  Le Broq claimed to “know” at least 60,000 faces and could attach names to more than half that number.  Unlike the police, his method was not to study the eyes or nose of this “victim,” nor (particularly in the case of women) the hair.  He maintained that the most identifiable characteristic of all was gait: And in thousands of cases he proved himself to be right

Public gaming was made illegal in France in 1857.  But once Monte Carlo’s success became evident, the French people began to urge the government to change the law.  In 1907 the government gave way:  Public baccarat and chemin-de-fer games (but not roulette until 1933) were once again made legal.  Immediately casinos began to spring up around the French coast – in particular at Le Touquet, Biarritz, Cannes, Nice, and Deauville.  Of these, the casinos at Deauville and Cannes were probably the biggest threats to Monte Carlo’s supremacy – and remain so.

Each day before a casino opens, every single piece of equipment in the gaming rooms is carefully checked-the croupiers’ rakes, the chemin-de fer shoes, and the roulette balls are inspected, and (far left) the roulette wheels are tested for balance with a spirit level.  Croupiers then lay out the chips ceremonially (left) to ensure that none is missing, that they are all clean, and that no counterfeits were used the day before.  The shape and color of chips vary with the value-for example, white chips are generally used for placing high bets.