Action at the Casinos of Monaco

Economically and politically times are very difficult – it is difficult to get an exact measure for how well Monaco’s Casinos are faring because their accounts are not available until March. Monaco may indeed have been outperforming its neighbours and competitors in 2017 but it is not totally immune from the global economy as a whole.

There are definitely changes underway that we can detect at Monaco’s three casinos, in response to these challenging times – the Casino de Monte Carlo, the Sun Casino and Cafe de Paris, being the three. Questions that come to mind are – will it be necessary to wait out the difficult times and look to a better global economy for a significant upturn in activity in the Casinos. Rather than management being passive, we do see changes at the Casinos and it is obvious that Pascal Camia who is in charge is being pro-active.

This Summer the Sun Casino was clearly busy with Italians playing Punto Banco, a game they appear passionate about – something is happening to get them excited and draw them in. Could it be that Punto Banco is the draw that provides the thrill that the Casino wants to create for its customers.Rumour had it that there was less Italian money nowadays available for luxury pursuits – but clearly the Sun is one of those destinations that is a magnet for the high end Italian fun seeker. The Sun is after all a destination Casino with a Hotel of 600 rooms attached.

Pascal Camia
Pascal Camia, Director for the Monte-Carlo casino and new Games director at the Société des Bains de Mer

Recently the executive discussions were abuzz with talk of the millennials and their fascination with their Iphones and games of skill. This is more relevant in the short term for the on-line gaming industry – who will have to incorporate more skill and interactive features that millennials crave. Over time, however expect to see gaming machines in casinos incorporating skilful games that people play for fun and that in the casinos will have significant monetary winnings attached. The casinos in the cities have a different challenge than the on-line gaming community – the new trend is that people come solely to win and when they do winthey take their winnings off the table.

Pascal Camia’s reported comments confirm this trend of spending less time at the tables – instead of enjoying the ambience and staying to play and putting their winnings on the tables again, the customers are cashing in their chips immediately and leaving with their winnings. Too little time at the tables – this is the crux of the challenge as distilled from his reported comments.

Monte-Carlo Casino
Monte-Carlo Casino

Monaco also faces a challenge of attracting new customers ready to gamble but perhaps in Monaco’s case the majority are not just millennials, and Pascal Camia is reported as saying that the Monte Carlo Casinos must learn to seduce more international customers including Latin Americans, Middle Easterners and Chinese – and of course there are many East Europeans who could be excellent customers for Monte Carlo. The objective is to come out of 2018 with Monte Carlo recognized as the most prestigious Casino Centre in Europe. Fighting spirit!

The press reports indicate that Pascal is satisfied with some aspects of the Casino operations at the Sun, particularly the enthusiasm shown by the Italian gamblers, and that he has re-organized the management of the three Monte Carlo Casinos with a Director in charge of each one. Pascal Camia himself is runningthe Casino de Monte Carlo since Jean-Marie Alfani’s departure. There is collective management so everyone has a say. He has also restructured the whole organisation behind running the Casinos into four distinct areas, Marketing, Finance, Sales and General Administration.

Monte-Carlo Casino
Monte-Carlo Casino

Many wondered whether there had been staffing additions at the Casinos to accommodate and attract the Chinese. We know that the Chinese bet in different ways. Their games are played differently too. They also like Punto Banco when it is played Chinese style as Baccarat.Pascal Camia’s reported thoughts on this is that the staffing is not the critical issue as long as there are Sinophone interpreters – it is important that facility in different Chinese languages is available. The croupiers have sufficient skill so hiring Chinese croupiers is not on the cards. But the Chinese like to “roll” their bets. The essence of the General Manager’s thinking is that Western Casinos must accommodate that to attract Chinese gamblers.

The reports also highlight Pascal’s thinking about changes at the Cafe De Paris whichis a flagship for creating visibility for the Casino and needs to accommodate smokers and games on the terraces for example. Cafe de Paris is special – it is like a flame that attracts every moth in the night though twenty-four hour gaming is now the watchword at Cafe de Paris.

Look for changes in 2018, changes in the Casinos, changes in the games that are played – whatever changes are necessary to increase the thrill of gaming in Monte Carlo. “There are miles to go before he sleeps“butPascal Camia has his eyes firmly on that goal and the measures that will make Monte Carlo the top prestigious gaming destination in Europe – sooner rather than later.

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