The Life of the Party Casino Madeira

Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira chats to Glyn Thomas

Casino da Madeira is in a superb location on the Island of Madeira as it’s only 5 minutes from the center of Funchal, and 23 km from the airport, which works out at about 25 minutes by car.

All the Casinos you have worked at will have had their unique special qualities but Casino da Madeira must be the most impressive. What would you say are some of the unique aspects about Casino da Madeira?

Casino da Madeira is part of a complex founded on 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 Congress Center, is very impressive and was acquired by Pestana Hotel Group in 1985.

Image: Carlos Campos, General Manager, Casino da Madeira 

In 2007, in the same year that Oscar Niemeyer celebrated its centenary, Casino da Madeira underwent a remodeling based on a project of another Brazilian architect, Jaime Morais, who maintained the Niemeyrian spirit. More than 40 years after its inauguration it is one of the jewels of the Pestana Hotel Group in Madeira.

For those who like the adrenaline, Casino da Madeira has a gaming room that offers a series of options ranging from American Roulette, Poker, Punto y Banca, Black Jack, to Electronic roulette, Keno, Poker, Rolls among others and the possibility to try out about 200 slot machines. The most sought after games are video games with new technologically advanced platforms. Casino da Madeira occupies a unique place in the entertainment of Madeira, because it offers a wide range of events. It is frequented both by locals and tourists, who seek to have a good time, whether in one of the many shows or on the Casino Floor, the feeling is the same, the search for strong emotions

Could you provide an insight into the organisation’s approach to its Privilege and Rewards programme?

At this moment the Casino da Madeira is in a process of transition regarding its program of customer loyalty. It was necessary to innovate the loyalty program using the available new technologies. An entirely new program has been created, which is still in progress. Customers of the casino have the possibility of having a WelcomeCard card, which guarantees them quick and privileged access to the facilities, without having to go through the registration and identification process, as well as immediate discounts on the consumption of food and beverages, either in the gambling room, Copacabana Disco Club or even in the showroom (Casino Congress Center). For the most savvy player we have the LuxuryCard, a unique card that grants privileges with immediate discounts up to 100% in the several dining areas, as well as free tickets to the shows, free entrance and access to the VIP area of the Copacabana Disco Club among many other privileges.

How popular are the Casino da Madeira Poker Tournament Events and do you welcome participants from across Europe, and how much is the winning prize money? Does the casino’s location mean that it benefits from the Cruise Ships?

The Casino is actually near the Port of Funchal, which is the Capital of Madeira Island. So during the cruise season, which happens from March till October, it is common to see ship’s crew coming in. However only those ships who stay overnight are important to us, as we only open doors at 3pm and the majority of the ships leave at 5pm. Still the Cruise Ships are a vital part of the Island’s economics.

What are the most popular Table Games at Casino da Madeira?

The most popular table games in the Casino, as in almost all casinos, are roulette and blackjack.

What is the highest pay out for slots in your Casino and what have been the biggest pay outs won in recent years at the Casino?

Well the biggest pay out won was a jackpot of 100.000 euros, In a bet of 15.00 euros. Recently we have paid several jackpots between 30.000 euros and 50.000 euros on an average of 1 per month.

How have guests treated Casino Da Madeira? Is it as much a Party, Entertainment and dining venue or as a casino?

Our slogan is “Where Everything Happens” which means that it is as much a party, entertainment and a dining venue. In addition to the gaming room, Casino da Madeira has two restaurants, three bars, a nightclub, a multifunctional space and a congress center that consists of an auditorium and a conference room.

For example, the Bahia Restaurant, located on the 4th floor, with a magnificent panoramic view over the city of Funchal, hosts weekly entertainment shows and concerts with some of the most renowned national artists. But, we do not stay here: our nightclub Copacabana is the cathedral of the Madeiran night. With a sound system as powerful as you can imagine, lighting and video-projection system of excellence, this nightclub is the scene of very lively nights and themed parties, as well as some of the very best Dj’s and acts. Outside there is another nice surprise, the Garden, an extension of the Copacabana Club, with Electronic Music selected by some of the best Dj’s on the Island.

The Madeira Congress Center is comprised of an Auditorium and a Conference Room, and hosts hundreds of national and international shows each year. One of the last conferences that took place in here was related with the Future itself. “Innovation & Future Conferences” was a great opportunity to learn about the Digital Revolution.

Has the Casino a cashless gaming option and, if so, is it operational on all gaming devices?

All casino machines are equipped with easypay system. The player has the option to enter cash or tickets to play.

Has the casino got a lot of displays which is popular at the moment on gaming floor either on the walls showing various videos or football and sporting events?

Yes, our Casino is equipped with several static and dynamic screens that promote events and, above all, broadcast the major sports competitions For example one of the great sporting moments that we have lived in the recent years was in the Euro 2016. We created a “fan zone” on the outdoor on the terrace of our Restaurant Rio, with a video Wall, a special decoration and also the typical meals of these sporting events. The result was a success, especially with Portugal’s victory in the tournament final.

What have been the best performing slot machines and EGMs at the Casino?

Novomatic VIP II are currently the machines that have the best results. At the top of the range also electronic roulette are highly sought by our patrons and Aristocrat Helix machines.

What is the ratio of locals to tourists and business visitors to Casino da Madeira?

As much as we love the idea of welcoming tourists in our Casino, our patrons are mainly locals. I would say that only 15% are tourists. We are working hard to improve on this, especially with our events. Following the trend of Las Vegas, Casino da Madeira has introduced, over the years, a series of outdoor parties, namely at the Casino Rooftop, which aim to capture a new type of customer, looking for new emotions. The Rooftop of Casino da Madeira has been small for the huge demand that these events have.

One of the highlights of the year is the obvious New Year’s Eve festivities, which includes the World Guinness Record Firework Show. The arrival of the decorative lights in the streets of the city center of Funchal, during the month of December, sets the beginning of the Madeira Christmas and End of the Year Festivities Program. These festivities culminate with the famous fireworks show, officially recognized in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest fireworks show in the world. By this time Madeira is completely full of tourists, and once again, the Casino da Madeira is the right place to be on this very special night.