The Latin American online market “will grow slowly over the years,” according to Camilo Millon, Kiron Interactive’s head of sales LatAm & Spain, but unless there is some serious investment, retail will remain king.
In the third and final part of a three part mini-series delving into the current state of the LatAm market, Millon is joined by Alex Leese, CEO of Pronet Gaming, Victor Araneda, Gaming1’s chief business development officer, Unai Concha Olabarrieta, business development manager at OneTouch and Paul Myatt, chief business development officer at Aspire Global, looking into the evolution of the online sector.
We have seen the LatAm-based online operations grow at a very fast pace in the past year or so, how do you see this evolving in the future and what opportunities does this bring to the market as a whole?
Camilo Millon, Kiron Interactive: As already mentioned, retail was shut down completely during the lockdowns, which greatly assisted in growing our presence online but since the easing of the Covid regulations, we have found that customers have gone back to their old betting habits and retail is preferred. Retail is definitely the favoured option in Latin America.
To assist with growing virtual sports online, better infrastructure needs to be in place in terms of coverage and compatible device availability. This will grow slowly over the coming years but unless there is some serious investment, retail will remain king.
Virtual sports have long been seen as a complementary product in the LatAm market and have been used to offer alternatives when live sports are not available but this is changing and virtuals are in a good place to continue their rise to prominence.
As a whole, the market has seen what online can offer local operators, having opened their eyes to its benefits, but for many, it is something that is only now beginning to be considered for future development.
Victor Araneda, Gaming1: The online world will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. Most countries in the region have understood the importance of strengthening their digitalisation efforts as well as its implementation, historical payment habits are maturing rapidly.
As local and international sports leagues return to normalcy and the online regulation rollout continues, investors should feel reasonably bullish about the opportunity for online in the region.
Alex Leese, Pronet Gaming: It is likely to be the land-based giants that subsequently invest heavily in online that benefit most. In the recently regulated Colombia, for example, we have seen BetPlay and Wplay transferring their empires online.
Alternative regulation depending, that strategy might not work as well elsewhere. If more countries opt for open regulation with an unlimited number of licences, then online acquisition will win over an expensive retail inventory. In either scenario, operators with the best omni-channel technology and mobile product will be primed to take the lead.
Unai Concha Olabarrieta, OneTouch: This growth has occurred because several land-based businesses have moved online, however this has been due to an exceptional event none of us could have predicted.
From an acquisition marketing perspective there is little to learn, but from a product perspective, the more products you can offer the better.
Also, if this situation ever returns and live sport is suspended for example, as it was in Spring to Summer 2020, several companies have put in place mitigation strategies and invested in products such as virtual sports which proved to be a useful product vertical to generate much-needed revenue during a tough period for gaming operators.
The opportunities in LatAm are huge with new regulation paving the way for more products and more countries coming online while more land-based businesses opt for a digital approach.
Paul Myatt, Aspire Global: There will be plenty of opportunities in the future as online operations grow quickly, but it is important to stress there are pitfalls to avoid too. Land-based operators migrating to digital can find the process time-consuming, particularly when having to adjust to the regulations set out by a particular jurisdiction.
At Aspire Global, we have the benefit of experiencing the pain points ourselves, having started out as a B2C operator. We know how we can make life easier for operators so that they can focus on brand-building in exciting new markets, of which Brazil stands out in particular for its potential.
The SBC Summit Latinoamérica on 27-28 October is the leading conference and exhibition for the betting, casino gaming and lottery industries in markets across Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico.