In the latest edition of SlotBeats Spotlight we cast our light on the Latin American market and how it has developed and evolved over the last 12 months.
In the first episode, we ask our five experts what has been the key evolution for the LatAm slots market.
SlotBeats: Looking back at 2020, what have been the major developments for the slots market in LatAm?
Victor Araneda, GAMING1: The story of the year has been the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects across every vertical in the industry. Latin America has been particularly impacted due to its natural dependency to on a more emerging-market style of infrastructure.
With GAMING1 sitting across both the land-based and online domain, we’ve certainly been able to experience both sides of the pandemic and see its effects on players.
Sebastian Damian, Booongo: As with many regions worldwide, the online slots market in Latin America has grown considerably this year. More players than ever before are active and enjoying the wide variety of games that are now available to them.
This year alone, Booongo has secured multiple commercial agreements to extend our presence across countries including Argentina, Colombia and Peru, as well as Mexico where we will soon hold over 95 per cent of market penetration.
We’re still awaiting Brazil to regulate online gambling, which has the potential to be one of the biggest markets in the world. The country passed new laws in 2018 to regulate online activity but has yet to begin operations, but hopefully 2021 is the year that this market will reach its full potential.
Maria Luisa Malfasi, ESA Gaming: The online market in LatAm is still fledgling and very much evolving. From that perspective the biggest developments we have seen are the positive steps towards regulation in many countries in the region.
In the territories that already have an online gaming framework in place, we have seen a quicker transition from land-based gaming to online with players not having the option to visit bricks-and-mortar venues as a result of the pandemic.
We have taken our products live in Colombia this year through a joint venture with a local partner and we are still learning about the particularities of the market to ensure products are as tailored as possible for the LatAm player.
Unai Concha Olabarrieta, OneTouch: Within and beyond our industry, the impact of Coronavirus has been extremely challenging. The online slot market, however, has experienced an uptick in customer activity.
The closure of land-based and retail outlets as part of lockdown restrictions has shifted a significant number of users to the online casino space, as did the pause on many live sports earlier this year.
Taken as a whole, casino represents less than 13 per cent of Latin America’s online gambling market at present and, despite a brief downturn, sports betting has continued to dominate. Having said that, the pandemic has heightened the importance, and the market share, of the casino vertical.
Colombia’s recent regulation of live dealer products also boosted the slot market, because it increased the total number of players using online casinos, with slot acquisition benefitting heavily from cross-sell.
Ruben Loeches, R Franco Digital: In my view, we have plenty of positives to take away from the development of the LatAm online gaming scene this year.
In regard to gameplay and player tastes, we do not see too much difference between the Latin player and our home market of Spain – although there are certain in-game characteristics that lend themselves better to LatAm.
RTPs are relatively similar and more depend on the maturity time of the game and the phase of development it is in, rather than the region in which it is located.