A quick but complete look at the reality of gaming in the region makes it possible to detect attractive investment opportunities, as well as challenges that must be overcome in order to take full advantage of the prospects for progress in the sector, says our expert Emiliano Sanchez.
By Emiliano Sanchez, Business Development Manager, Endorphina*
After my visits to Cancun, Mexico (Caribbean Gaming Show), Colombia (FADJA), Peru (PGS) and Brazil (BgC), I confirmed one previous personal perception: LatAm is a vibrant market filled with opportunities. The recent changes in online gaming regulation in Argentina and Brazil, as well as the current development of regulated markets like Mexico, Colombia and Peru, clearly define a line of action for any gambling company: it’s essential to establish a presence in these markets as soon as possible. We are observing this with companies investing in sponsorships in big teams in Brazil (Betcris, Kashbet) and in the current competition for licenses within Buenos Aires, Argentina. The industry has realized the importance of the LatAm market, so more companies are expected to invest in the area.
However, gaming in Latin America has some challenges to overcome. There has been a progressive conversion of land-based players to online universe. Since the disruption of digital gambling into our lives due to the proliferation of Internet access and mobile devices, the industry has polarized between the two gaming modalities. It seems as if land-based is competing against online betting. But we, as an industry, tend to forget that our real competitors are other adult entertainment services (movies/series stream services, non-gambling virtual gaming). Online and land-based are two sides of the same coin and, until we can develop proper partnerships between companies, we will continue to see this type of issues arise.
WHAT WE HAVE TO DO
So what’s next? Buenos Aires Government seems to be in the right direction, having online international companies relating to local casinos. Another good tool for player conversion and retention could be a strong loyalty program, useful both for land-based and online casinos. How can we achieve this interaction between these two gambling worlds? We need more development on payment methods (for example, M-Pesa in Kenya is a key player for the market). Although Colombia and Mexico have solid payment systems, this must be extended to the whole region.
OPTIONS FOR PLAYERS
Land-based spots (casinos, betting shops, agents) are important, but, in order to move forward, we should provide players more options to decide if they want to play at home, on the street, or take his/her friends for a weekend at a casino. All of these gaming possibilities must bring the same result: the best interactive gaming entertainment for players. There is a lot of talent in LatAm to achieve this and solid companies are growing there. Some of them aren’t known yet for the consolidated European industry. While in Europe they are discovering the potential of Latin America, these companies have been increasingly expanding and establishing themselves for years. Failing to recognize them and partner with them will prove to be a big obstacle to access this huge and profitable market. On the other hand, establishing strong and long-term alliances with these innovative companies will prove to be a great recipe for success. The strengthening of commercial and strategic bonds between European and Latin American gaming will surely be the next best thing to come in the industry.
*Emiliano Sanchez is a well-known gaming expert with an extensive experience and knowledge in players’ retention, VIP management, business development, operations and gaming distribution in different international markets.
Before working at the top software provider Endorphina as a Business Development Manager, he was in charge of the overall sales strategy to expand the customer base at Blacktag, and managed VIP players’ accounts at Tabella, Silverarrow Marketing, and Innovative Data Solutions. He holds a Bachelor degree, Physics, from the Universidad de Costa Rica and is currently living in Prague, Czech Republic.
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