Some historical figures emerge from anonymity to dominate an entire generation. Their actions affect the lives of millions of people, and they have been debated and discussed for centuries. Then there are those who briefly flash across the pages of history, leaving behind a brief yet intriguing footnote. Monique Laurent belongs to the latter group, although her fame in France is greater than elsewhere in the globe.
Simply stated, Monique gained notoriety for being a roulette fake. In the early 1970s, she was involved in the infamous “French Cigarette Pack Scandal,” which shook the gambling world. While she never reached the level of Jean Seberg in Breathless or Pascale Petit in Les Tricheurs as a bad girl cultural icon, the brunette Frenchwoman holds an intriguing position in the annals of casino schemes.
The Initial Years
The specifics of Monique’s childhood are hazy. It is documented that she was born on Valentine’s Day, 1948, in a hospital in Deauville, France. Unknown if she had any other siblings. She had at least one brother.
She married sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It is reasonable to presume that she became Monique Laurent when she adopted her husband’s surname, but even this information is debatable.
An Unusual Charm
Early in her existence, Monique was lauded as a woman of exceptional attractiveness. This brunette Frenchwoman drew attention wherever she went due to her delicate skeleton and distinct short hair. The combination of her intelligence and beauty made her a formidable opponent. Unfortunately, her appearance (along with her ambition to deceive a casino) would also be her undoing.
In the summer of 1973, Monique’s sibling obtained employment at the prestigious Casino Deauville on the French Atlantic coast. As a croupier, he was responsible for spinning the roulette wheel and ensuring that the results are accurate. While most employees would have regarded this as just another employment, this particular young man was somewhat more ambitious (or selfish).
When there was a pause in business, Monique’s sibling would test the roulette wheels to see if they could be manipulated. During the early phases of his experimentation, he had little success, so he eventually sought his intelligent sister’s assistance. Monique, restless and desiring additional funds, was delighted to comply.
Monique was aware of her brother’s interest in technology and pondered whether or not this would give them an edge over the casino. The pair discovered that a miniature radio transmitter was the solution to all their problems, proving that she was correct.
Once a small receiver was implanted in the roulette ball, whoever held the transmitter could cause the ball to land with 90% accuracy on one of six numbers. Obviously, Monique could not hold the transmitter in plain view, so they devised a plan to covert it in a pack of American cigarettes (specifically, Marlboro). This would enable the brunette to merge in with other casino patrons, as indoor smoking was widely tolerated during this time period.
After discovering the ideal method for deception, the next obstacle involved the roulette ball. Not only did it need to be introduced into play, but it also needed to contain a miniaturized radio receiver while maintaining a typical appearance and behavior.