The Latin American market is “a Tale of Two Cities”, according to Victor Araneda, Gaming1’s chief business development officer, as the online landscape continues to grow “exponentially”, while land-based operators struggle “mightily” to survive.
In the first of a three part mini-series delving into the current state of the LatAm market, Araneda is joined by Unai Concha Olabarrieta, business development manager at OneTouch, Alex Leese, CEO of Pronet Gaming, Paul Myatt, chief business development officer at Aspire Global and Camilo Millon, head of sales LatAm & Spain for Kiron Interactive, to give the lowdown on what opportunities this presents.
What’s your overview of the LatAm market as a whole right now – how has it changed as we move away from the COVID pandemic?
Victor Araneda, Gaming1: Weakening economic prospects in some major countries, including Brazil, continue to damage the recovery effort. Latin America’s economy seems to be sluggish out of the gates trying to bounce back from the pandemic.
In terms of our industry specifically, it’s a Tale of Two Cities: the online landscape continues to grow exponentially and live in the best of times. Meanwhile, land-based operators are struggling mightily to survive. Still, some signals point to a potential rebound, especially in countries with high vaccination rates.
Unai Concha Olabarrieta, OneTouch: The situation we’ve faced in the last 18 months, largely being restricted to our homes both personally and professionally, has accelerated the development of certain trends, namely large-scale digital growth. We’ve seen this in online gaming in LatAm with online casinos increasing their performance and, especially, the number of active players they have acquired.
The encouraging news is, firstly, that life is beginning to return to normal after a long period of stagnation, and secondly, that the re-opening of land-based casinos has not had an impact on the growth of online casinos.
Certain new gaming products have also experienced a stimulus, such as live casino, which was recently regulated in Colombia. This means live casino is now available in one of the most important markets in the region and we expect to see further growth as a result, which is ideal for new studios such as ourselves that have launched a range of live products bringing a world-class land-based experience to players on the move.
Alex Leese, Pronet Gaming: It’s never easy to talk about LatAm as just one region. At one extreme, you have the well-developed Mexican market, once driven by retail, but we are now seeing several strong brands leading the way, in addition to Caliente which has been number one for some time.
On the other hand, markets like Brazil, Peru, Chile stand on the precipice of implementing regulatory frameworks. There are several online brands in their respective grey markets too, poised to jump into the regulated space when the time comes.
Across the spectrum, however – and especially following the pandemic – we do see a steady move towards more robust digitalisation and regulation. This is moving with formidable momentum, indicating huge potential.
Paul Myatt, Aspire Global: Clearly, there has been a general acceleration towards digitalisation, both from land-based casinos and from governments looking to create new regulatory frameworks in order to generate much-needed revenues through taxation.
Ultimately, we see LatAm as being a region of huge potential for online gaming. We are already active in Colombia, where we supply our platform and sportsbook to William Hill and Betfair, and in Mexico and Brazil too.
Camilo Millon, Kiron Interactive: Although Latin America seems to have been in our consciousness for some time, in reality it still remains an emerging market. It is also a territory that possesses tremendous growth potential.
As many will know, the populations there are as wide as they are diverse, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re sports crazy, particularly for football and horse racing. So, the propensity to enjoy a flutter on the outcomes of these favourite sports goes hand in glove.
Many tier-one global operators have targeted LatAm as part of their expansion plans, including Bet365, Pinnacle, Betsson, 888, among others, and they’ve been naturally joined by a large number of providers. Kiron is already well-established in many markets there and we continue to drive growth with our tailored content.
The enforced closure of retail saw a huge swing toward online solutions, but since ‘normality’ has returned, while there was a predictable surge back to the land-based locations, online has retained a good number of its new customers.
Thanks to the likes of pioneers like Kiron, virtual sports is now part of the core content portfolio demanded. Operators have been introduced to the benefits virtuals bring to their offerings and they’re keen to see that popularity continue in their locations.
Kiron operates in regulated markets and is fully compliant in Tier 1 markets. With LatAm markets only now becoming more regulated, Kiron aims to be a Tier 1 provider in these markets when they do so.
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.