What is the future hold for igaming in Latin America? Max Dubossarsky, Chief Operating Officer at Betinvest, examines the issues from a supplier perspective
Latin America has long been described as a sleeping giant, with commonality of language and a clear appetite for online gaming. Colombia led the way in passing online gambling legislation, issuing its first licences two years ago, while in Brazil the Ministry of the Economy this summer launched a public consultation on sports betting regulations as part of a process of creating a legal framework. Then there is Mexico, which is behind only Argentina in terms of the size of its gambling sector in Latin America, boasts an untapped, vast player market with new legislation encompassing online gaming in the works.
One estimate suggests that coupling together legal and unregulated gaming activities in Latin America creates an overall market worth over US$150bn per year. One supplier that is expanding into the region with vigour is Betinvest. Here, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Max Dubossarsky describes his view on the state of play.
INTERGAMINGi: How do you view the igaming landscape across Latin America?
MD: “The region isn’t developing quite as extensively or rapidly as the industry would like it to, and it’s possible that its regulations will end up differing from the rules we’re used to in Europe, but it’s nonetheless very promising. “In addition to land-based gambling, Colombia legalised online gaming in 2016. “Meanwhile, Mexico and the Argentinian province of Buenos Aires have regulated the industry and have their own licensing. Also set to join this list in the near future are Brazil and Peru, which are both actively working towards establishing a legal framework for gambling. “As we’ve said before, the market has huge potential. The people there love to gamble. This means that there’s a high demand for the products our industry has to offer, and we’re ready to start meeting it with our own solutions.”
How can your Sportsbook iFrame have an impact within a regulated market like Brazil and what makes it stand out from its rivals?
“Thanks to its fast, straightforward integration, our iFrame solution will enable operators to set up in this market and start operating as quickly as possible. What’s more, since Latin America has such a huge number of soccer fans, our range of odds are sure to satisfy or even exceed the expectations of our clients, given that our traders already have 20 years’ experience working with this sport. “In addition to this, our solution is highly customisable, meaning that the sportsbook can be localised and adapted to meet the needs of LatAm operators.”
What potential does Brazil have to rival Colombia as a major player in regulated online gambling?
“At the moment, Colombia is fully regulated, while Brazil is still in the process of establishing the rules for taxation and work in the market. In that respect, Colombia is already way ahead. Brazil could still have the potential to overtake Colombia in the future in terms of market volume, though the growth and development of Brazil’s market is going to depend on the kind of licensing and tax system the regulators choose.”
What about Peru and other nations where regulation is mooted?
“If we look at Peru, we can see that they have already set out the rules and requirements for operators. There are guidelines for taxation and getting licenses. You could say that they’ve made more progress towards regulating the industry but, nonetheless, are keeping an eye on Brazil to see what the country’s next steps will be towards legalisation.”
What importance does the level of mobile internet connectivity within Brazil hold for igaming’s potential?
“Every year, sports betting around the world is becoming more accessible from mobile devices. New technology and the younger generation that use it form the basis of players’ demands and operators’ and providers’ offers. Access from mobile phones simplifies the process for the customer and makes it more convenient. As a result, when we talk about developing our industry, we can’t deny that offering and improving solutions for mobile is vital.
“As for internet in Brazil – mobile internet in particular – between January 2018 and January 2019, the number of users increased by 100 million. According to data published at the beginning of 2019, the total population of Brazil is 7.676 billion. “A total of 66% of Brazil’s population are mobile internet users, 85% of which go online every day. Each year, the average speed of mobile internet connections increases by 29%.
“Non-unique mobile connections to the internet for the same time period of January 2018-2019 amounted to 102% of the total population. “All of these statistics confirm that operators who are looking to get started in the country must have a mobile site and app to meet their players’ requirements. That said, it’s worth noting that people in Brazil are more trusting of a betting brand if it also has a land-based presence.”
How lucrative could legalised online gambling be in Brazil for international operators?
“It could be great for operators since the number of potential players in this region is huge. It’s the fifth biggest nation on the planet and there’s bound to be a lot of interest from overseas operators.
“Operators will need to stay up to date and abide by the laws on taxation of sports betting businesses. At the moment, regulators are looking to base tax on operators’ turnover, and not on the GGR (gross gaming revenue) as is the case in Europe. It’s important to note that the proposed approach doesn’t take into account the large sums of money that are paid out to players.”
What particular player behaviours do those looking to enter Latin America need to be aware of, in terms of types of bets placed and game types enjoyed?
“It’s not news that sport is a big deal in Latin America. The region has a rich sporting tradition and people enjoy playing. On the streets, almost everyone watches matches on their mobile phones and soccer is the favourite sport of all. Most players have smartphones and access to the internet. “As for bettors’ behaviour, the average stake in LatAm differs from that of Europe. People generally bet between $1 and $5, and the number of bets placed in a single betting shop can reach 350 every day.
“If we consider players in Peru, on average they are men and women aged between 38 and 73 – generation X and Baby Boomers. In Brazil, it’s primarily men who place bets on sports, while women tend to be more interested in lotteries. “Another thing to note is that players in the LatAm region are accustomed to seeing fewer markets with much less choice than the range we provide our Europe clients with. That’s no problem for us though – as a provider of sports betting software, we can easily customise the range of markets on offer.”
What is your company’s history, current and future plans within Latin America?
“Our company has 20 years’ experience in sports betting. Most of our clients are based in Europe at the moment, but we’re expanding our presence across the globe and the LatAm market is one of the most attractive to both operators and suppliers.
“As a leading provider of sports betting solutions, we’re obliged to keep abreast of and be active in the places and markets where the industry needs to be driven. That’s why, although it’s a very important region for us, the LatAm region isn’t the only one we’ve got our eyes on.
“Nonetheless, it’s a huge market with limitless potential for companies in the igaming sector. It’s only going to get bigger, better and more lucrative in the years to come, and that’s good news all around. “As a software supplier, we plan to drive and develop the sports betting industry in this region.”