One of the legendary mainstays of Monaco dating back to 1863 risks disappearing, following a declaration by the Monegasque Minister of State during a recent session of the National Council.
The Minister of State (Head of the Monegasque government) declared in essence that « we are witnessing a decline in table games throughout Europe…it concerns this sector of activity in Europe. It marks the end of a certain type of gaming. Now, it’s the slot machines that represent good business… »
Some representatives seized on the opportunity to openly criticize the commercial and marketing policies of the SBM, accusing it of favouring the development of the hotel industry and real estate to generate profit. Others even suggested that the SBM has a hidden agenda to put an end to table games.
The Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) in which the Monegasque state has majority control, is the company that manages and operates casinos, hotels, restaurants and real estate, among other assets.
Gaming lounges in Monte Carlo that had been frequented by the world’s rich and famous for decades have in recent years been adversely affected by cyclical factors such as the financial crisis, the crackdown on tax fraud in Italy, and money laundering among other measures.
The SBM’s lack of foresight, adaptation and adequate marketing polices have often been blamed by Monaco’s elected representatives as well as the croupiers themselves.
The introduction of a policy aimed at cutting costs within the SBM has put restrictions on invitations and other courtesy programs aimed at gaming customers. This has resulted in big players turning to competitor countries that go so far as to offer them free airline tickets and complimentary accomodation in their luxury hotels.