One of the most important Casinos in Portugal, the Casino da Madeira, which is right in the center of the homonymous island, is a building that has a particular architecture, easily identified from a distance.
It is a building in a circle with “rays” around it, giving the impression of a “rayed sun”, designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
On this opportunity, we talked to its General Director, Carlos Campos, who took stock after the pandemic, commented on the frequency of the casino and analyzes how a regulation in Brazil could be beneficial to the country.
Check out the exclusive interview for iGaming Brazil with Carlos Campos
iGaming Brazil – When was the Madeira Casino opened? Since when do you work there?
Carlos Campos – The Casino da Madeira is part of a complex founded from an original idea by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and executed by the illustrious architect of the Escola do Porto, Alfredo Viana de Lima. The building, which includes the Casino, the Pestana Casino Park Hotel and the Madeira Congress Centre, was owned by the António Xavier Barreto family who opened it on August 1, 1979, however it was acquired by the Pestana Hotel Group in 1985.
As I worked at the Gaming Directorate of the Casino de Lisboa, I always kept in touch with the Casino da Madeira, until, in 2007, the year in which Oscar Niemeyer celebrated his centenary, the Casino da Madeira asked my then Estoril administration to Sol do Cassino de Lisboa, my participation in a restructuring process within the scope of consulting, analysis and presentation of a game exploration project as well as training the respective management teams.
In 2017, I was in the direction of the biggest Casino in Madrid, the Casino Gran Via since 2013, I was contacted again by the management of Grupo Pestana to be able to perform the position of Director of the Casino da Madeira, a role of General Director that I accumulate in other units of the Pestana Group in the Madeira Region.
iGaming Brazil – Has the casino suffered a lot in financial terms with the pandemic? What changes do you feel now after the worst phase of COVID-19? What has improved and what aspects do you believe were positive for the casino despite the pandemic?
Carlos Campos – Casino da Madeira, like all companies based in Madeira and mainland Portugal, suffered a great impact with the pandemic, we had breaks in the order of 40% and there was an urgent need to reinvent ourselves. I highlight as reinvention, the opening of a new specific space for smokers where they can remain playing while enjoying their smoking habit, since the legislation that came into force post-pandemic did not allow smokers in closed spaces.
The new Casino area is an asset to our infrastructure as well as to our customers. We provide greater comfort and attention to those who visit us. The end of the pandemic has also brought a new audience to the Casino, especially our vibrant nightlife. More and more Casinos make a living from entertainment and lifestyle. Our auditorium is sold out until the end of the year, not only with congresses, but also with shows, plays and concerts.
We are also planning a new “Dinner & Show” for our Sala Bahia, an in-house production involving local artists. Our Copacabana nightclub is certainly the best nightclub in the Region, with attendances that have broken records. On the one hand we had a less good period, in which we had to adapt and think about other solutions, on the other hand we have managed to attract new audiences to the Casino, which has been very positive.
iGaming Brazil – What is the profile of the Portuguese player? How is the public that frequents the casino?
Carlos Campos – The customers of the Casino da Madeira are mostly residents, however, tourists also represent a significant part. The most frequent age groups in the game room are between 30 and 60 years old, and it is this group of customers that makes the most significant expenses. The male sex continues to be predominant in the game room, however, there is a gradual increase in female customers.
Madeira Casino has a games room that offers a series of options ranging from American Roulette, Poker, Punto y Banca, Black Jack, Electronic Roulette, Keno, Poker, Rolls, among others and the possibility to try around 200 state-of-the-art automatic machines. The most sought after games are video games, where machines with images in various dimensions, multigames and electronic roulettes stand out.
As I explained earlier, we have been witnessing a post-pandemic phenomenon, which is the arrival of a younger audience that is looking not only for the adrenaline of high-tech slot machines, but also for the nightlife and events that we have created, namely the Rooftop Casino, which is a party that takes place once a year on our terrace. The Madeira Casino occupies a unique place in the animation of the island of Madeira.
iGaming Brazil – In your opinion, is a country without casinos and bingos a more bored country?
Carlos Campos – Casino is increasingly synonymous with entertainment. See Las Vegas. A taste for the thrill of games is combined with the pleasure of lifetsyle. Everything revolves around the concept of the Game. Stays in hotels, restaurants, pubs, pool parties, stand up comedy shows, leisure shows such as those provided by companies such as Cirque Du Soleil. The concerts, the djs, all this in an exciting place, full of good vibes. This is the future of entertainment.
I believe that a country with the characteristics of Brazil will gain a lot from betting on Casinos. In addition to the factors mentioned above, a country without Casinos does not exist, not least because those who do not have legal Casinos have serious problems with clandestine games and even structures such as Casinos operating outside of fiscal and administrative rules.
iGaming Brazil – Do you know Brazil? What do you think about non-legalization in our country?
Carlos Campos – Yes, I know Rio and Salvador, I’m not a deep connoisseur of your country, but I can get a sense of your way of life, both social and political. Regarding the non-legalization of gambling in Brazil, I just want to mention that, so far, it has remained due to interests other than those of transparency and the development of the country.
iGaming Brazil – What progress will this bring to Brazil if legalized?
Carlos Campos – Progress will be immediate, transparent, fiscally millionaire and of interest to the general population. We should never overlook the strong fiscal component that will enrich the country and develop the Brazilian economy. The legalization of Casinos in Brazil will bring a fairer society and opportunities for everyone and for any sector.
iGaming Brazil – What has changed in Portugal after the regulation of gambling?
Carlos Campos – The truth, transparency, regulation of all types of illegal games and, above all, allowed the people in general to benefit from cultural spectacles and a recreational environment that no other sector could provide them otherwise.
iGaming Brazil – What are the Casino projects for the next 5 years? What innovations do you plan to incorporate in terms of service, technology and entertainment?
Carlos Campos – At the moment, Grupo Pestana is more interested in preparing the contractual continuation/extension of the concession of Cassno da Madeira with the Portuguese State, which expires in December 2023. However, in this preparation for the extension of our contract of conception, we are already foreseeing for the very near future, a handful of opportunities. Recovering the infrastructure and modernizing it, taking advantage of the growing trend of Tourism in Madeira, these are incredibly exciting times ahead.
Combining all this with a new technological offer in terms of machines too, with an increasing presence of a virtual reality, it is possible to foresee that we will have good growth in the coming years, all this always sealed with a good service from our employees to the our clients. It is the fundamental point of any good Casino: The welcome and an extreme quality service.