When it comes to entertainment, what makes Monaco such a unique city? Find out with our brief glimpse into the history of Monaco.
The sovereign city-state of Monaco is world-renowned for its bustling casinos and thriving night-life. Some of the world’s most iconic online casino games are inspired by Monaco. But what makes Monaco so unique? Why is it such a popular holiday destination? For the answers to these questions and more, read on below for the truth behind the city’s success.
Taxes? What taxes?
Often regarded as one of the most expensive places in the world, Monaco is a veritable playground for the wealthy among us. Aside from the plethora of entertainment options on offer, there’s a good reason why the rich and famous frolic in and around the city; there are barely any taxes. There’s no income tax whatsoever. There are low business taxes but these are incredibly small percentages compared to most other countries.
If there’s no income tax, how does Monaco survive, let alone thrive in today’s world? The answer lies in goods taxes. The value-added tax (VAT) for goods is almost 20%, ranking Monaco pretty high up in terms of cost of living. Despite its appeal as a legal tax haven, the city-state is by no means an easily affordable place to live. Tourism however, makes up a significant chunk of Monaco’s annual income.
According to the BBC, close to a third of the resident population are millionaires. The city has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world. The aforementioned tax rates are almost too good to be true. Couple these facts with the abundance of casinos and nightclubs, and you begin to see why Monaco is such a sought-after destination.
Tourists go to Monaco for two things, entertainment and privacy. Monaco has more than just financial incentives up its sleeve. You can’t get any credit card points in Monaco. There are no membership points for your favorite hotel. In fact, many transactions simply aren’t recorded. You could go as far as saying that privacy is an even bigger draw than Monaco’s entertainment or nightlife.
Foreign companies account for more than two-thirds of Monaco’s gross domestic profit (GDP). This means that you’ll instantly recognize many global brands that operate in Monaco. Shopping districts are positively packed with name brands. Pick any major clothing, food or jewelry brand you can think of, and the odds are you’ll find that brand operating in Monaco in some way, shape or form.
Monaco isn’t completely private though, at least from a surveillance perspective. The entire city is under video surveillance at all times. You would think that such a high degree of surveillance would drive away people who want privacy, but the benefit of safety far outweighs the inconvenience of mass surveillance. Because of this ‘big brother’ system, Monaco is one of the safest places to live.
The rise to power
In order to understand Monaco’s history, our story goes all the way back to the 1850s. Back then, Monaco wasn’t doing too well from a financial point of view. The House of Grimaldi, Monaco’s ruling dynasty, was running out of money at that point in time. Before the economic slump became too dire, a drastic change was needed. That change would chiefly come in the form of legal and regulated gambling.
In 1858, a seaside area known colloquially as the Den of Thieves was cleared out and renamed Monte Carlo. The area’s unsavoury elements were removed completely. Development was primarily tourism-focused, but there was another issue that came up once the seaside transformation was complete; which was, how would Monaco get tourists in and out of the area? Luckily for the House of Grimaldi, a newly-minted French railway system provided the answer to their logistical problem.
The combination of rail and casino lifted Monaco out of its spiralling debt, and the next decade would lead to unprecedented development in a variety of sectors. The Monte Carlo Opera House was built during this economic boom, as well as almost 50 hotels. Some sectors, such as the precious jewels market, grew to more than five times their previous numbers.
Thanks to the opening of the Monte Carlo Casino, the city was making a vast sum of money in a relatively short amount of time. Monaco was so profitable by that point that in 1869, the city declared that all local residents would not need to pay taxes. This decision marked the beginning of Monaco’s true allure as, from that moment on, the city would rapidly become extremely desirable for the wealthiest Europeans.
Present-day population figures for Monaco average out at 40,000 residents. That’s a relatively small number of people for what is essentially the city with the highest income in several GDP metrics. Real estate is a costly investment, with Monaco having one of the highest per-foot property rates in the world. The majority of Monaco’s profits, however, come from its tourism sector.
The combination of wealthy residents and tourists, low tax rates, and world-leading privacy is what makes Monaco’s nightlife unlike any other. If your country is one of the best places on Earth for the uber-wealthy to live, it would make sense to try and possess the most enticing nightlife in the world.
From the Monaco Grand Prix to the European Poker Tour, festivals and circuses to museums and nightclubs, the Principality of Monaco has an extensive list of events to experience and locations to explore. Cabarets, live music, theatre, cinema; Monaco has them all. World-famous drinking holes like Buddha Bar and the Brasserie, call Monaco home, and clubs like Zelos offer some of the world’s best upmarket clubbing venues.
The Monte Carlo Casino, officially named Casino de Monte-Carlo, is widely considered a premier destination for gamblers and casino enthusiasts. Marble and bronze finishes surround multiple casino floors, offering a variety of games in an exquisite setting. Set as the backdrop for numerous blockbuster films throughout Hollywood’s history, the Monte Carlo perfectly embodies ideals of risky adventure, luxury lifestyle, and beautiful people.
Quality in the overall production of the city’s entertainment industry is nothing short of pure opulence. As a poignant example of the true extent of Monaco’s cultivated beauty, even the beach is completely man-made, down to the very grains of sand that make up the city-state’s pristine coastline. Monaco is designed to entertain. It does so with a combination of deliberate strategies that have gradually led to it becoming one of the most unique places in the world to visit – provided you can afford to stay long enough to enjoy all the city has to offer.