The early days of Monte Carlo inspired my historical novel, The Five Priests of Monte Carlo, a satirical romp set in a time and place where legend and history are often muddled. As a supplement to the book, I plan on sharing my research in what I hope will be an entertaining format. Each week’s postings will consist of five stories or tidbits of history covering a theme concerning Monte Carlo.
François Blanc, the developer of the successful casino in Monte Carlo was a revolutionary when it came to promoting his casino. While earlier casino owners and gambling hall operators would grimace and attempt to downplay big winners, Blanc did the opposite. He celebrated the victors in Monte Carlo. Even though the casino might take a financial hit when someone broke the bank or had a great run, Blanc turned casino losses into marketing opportunities. He created pamphlets celebrating the success of various gamblers and distributed these promotional materials to new arrivals to Monte Carlo. He fed stories to various journalists such as Hippolyte de Villemessant, the editor of Le Figaro, who published these sensational stories of Monte Carlo. Additionally, Blanc gave Villemessant a stake in the game by offering him a favorable land deal in Monte Carlo. It was in Villemessant’s best interest to write positive articles so that the casino would thrive and drive the value of his land upward. The legends of Monte Carlo began to spread around the world.
This week, I will be publishing five of my favorite gambling success stories of Monte Carlo.