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Interview

Behind the scenes jobs at Monte-Carlo Casino: Simon, who counts the money

Simon Medecin Casino de Monte-Carlo
© Monte-Carlo SBM

In this series, Monaco Tribune and the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) invite you to discover the unusual jobs at Monte-Carlo Casino. Among them: cashier, the profession that Simon Medecin has exercised for over 27 years.

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Piles of banknotes… Welcome to the world of Simon Medecin, who works behind the scenes at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. He collects the money that is bet during the day and night on the gaming tables and slot machines and counts it in an extremely secure room, accessible to only a very limited number of employees.

“The room is in the basement. There is an airlock and several doors to access it. It is fitted with cameras, mirrors, and a transparent table. The takings are laid out on the table and counted by a designated cashier, an accountant and the person behind the camera. Then it all goes back into the money boxes that go upstairs to the Casino cashiers. It’s a closed circuit” explains the 49-year-old cashier.

The count takes between three and four hours depending on business, but not all machines are counted every day.  “We select the fullest machines, which is 80 to 100 machines out of 460. On the other hand, any tables that open to customers are emptied. At the moment we have about 20 every night, but in the summer we can have double that number,” he continues.

“Astronomical sums”

The amount of money involved is substantial. How much exactly? “That’s confidential,” Simon replies. We are however talking about “astronomical amounts” that could be dizzying for those handling them, but our interviewee knows how to keep his head, especially after 27 years of service. “It’s just plastic,” he says.

It is true that only chips and tokens are accepted on the tables, which was not previously the case. Players can use banknotes on the slot machines, but they are counted and sorted automatically. Some of it goes to the bank and some of it goes to the cashiers who deal with the customers, unlike Simon who has absolutely no contact with the public. “I work when the casino is closed,” he says with a smile.

Monte-Carlo Casino ©  Monaco Tribune

“I started out at hotel school, and when I got the opportunity to join the casino I took it. I was attracted by the career prospects and the salary. I started out as a croupier, but I didn’t really enjoy it because of the contact with the customers. A winning customer will be very nice, but one who loses tends not to be quite so nice,” confides the cashier, whose grandfather was a pit boss.

I’ve never seen so many fake banknotes at one time

Starting his shift at 7am and leaving the Casino at 3pm, Simon also has the advantage of not having to work nights. “There’s a good atmosphere, I’ve known some of my colleagues for over 20 years! You could say that we are a little family. Honestly, I have never come to work with a knot in my stomach. I never get tired of this job because every day has its share of surprises.”

300 counterfeit banknotes

One particular day certainly had a surprise in store, as the cashier recalls. “A few years ago, we were busy counting, when the machine rejected a pile of banknotes. We put one of them under the UV lamp, and we realised that it was a fake. In all, there were 300 counterfeit 100-euro notes. I’ve never seen so many fake banknotes at one time. Usually, when we find one, we call the special commissioner and the note is sent to the Sûreté Publique to be destroyed. This time the police came over, and managed to trace the client.”

Today, there are no more banknotes on the tables, and the slot machines are fitted with counterfeit detectors, which avoids this kind of ‘surprise’ happening again and makes things easier for the casino employees … After all, time is money!