The nascent LatAm market has a raft of new jurisdictions opening their doors to igaming, but looking at how closely they will follow the lead of its European cousins and how pressure from international participants will impact the local operating landscapes, Ivo Doroteia, CEO of SportingTech highlighted that “At the end of the day, it’s all about clarity.”
He explained: “Being a supplier and being present everywhere, what we want is to know what is expected. Looking at Colombia, it is clear for everyone what you are going to get from this market.”
On the second day of SBC Summit Barcelona, a panel entitled ‘LatAm – how closely will jurisdictions follow the Spanish model?’ – sponsored by FBM Digital Systems – took an in-depth look into the demographics, player habits and the games themselves within the LatAm market to see what insights can be utilised in building the future of slots.
Moderated by Samantha Asensi, CEO at Twistycs, the panel, alongside Doroteia, consisted of Roberto Regianini, CEO at FBM Digital Systems, Alberto Alfieri, co-founder at Jada Gaming, Thomas Carvalhaes, regional director, Brazil and Latin America at Hero Gaming, and Alberto D’Angelo, CEO at La Tinka.
It was Alfieri who kicked off looking at the still-unregulated Brazilian market. Bringing in a commercial point of view, he highlighted: “There are so many points to consider here for this delay. Are we close? Well, we’re closer at least. We have pretty much one year to see if the regulation in Brazil will see the light.”
Adding to this, Carvalhaes remarked: “To an extent, it’s actually frustrating not to see a regulation taking place in Brazil yet, provided that it’s such a massive market – we know there’s more than 210m people.”
“There have been positive signs,” stated Doroteia. “The government has been reactive, they have made some changes, so there are new people coming in and new positive suggestions. They’ve moved away from the old text model that they had and pushed it to GGR which will create more attraction for any investor coming out.
“So there are good signs at the end of the day, it’s just about clarity on the strategy to go.”
Looking at the Peruvian market, D’Angelo revealed that there’s lots of expectation for regulation, stating his belief that it “is on its way.”
He added: “We have discussed with possible regulators about the market and its development in the industry and we believe that we’ll have a good regulation and one that takes the GGR into consideration.”
He continued to highlight the balance between retail and online within the Peruvian market, explaining that within retail, you generate jobs, rent local properties and then have the social side of it. Meanwhile, mobile is a different experience, “so we are expecting a regulation that takes into consideration conversion in the retail and mobile environment.”
“We believe that the regulation is on its way and we believe that it’s going to take into consideration the things that have been positive in the European markets and mature markets,” he concluded. “But the most important thing is not to replicate things that haven’t worked well in developing markets, and also taking into consideration a growing market such as Peru.”
Pressed on whether he thought Peru is following the European or Colombian jurisdiction, D’angelo revealed it was more similar to the latter, yet emphasised that Columbia “is 100 per cent online marketing because with all the retail, you can only recharge your wallet and play online – but I think you can do better than that”.
He continued: “You can issue a regulation that takes into consideration retail but also online, controlled money laundering and also underaged playing. We believe that we are looking to Colombia and trying to replicate the things that have really been performing well.
“It’s a nice market so we’re looking positively to the Colombian market as a way of regulating this one.”
Asked by Alfieri about his specific expectation in Peru regarding retail – due to his thoughts on it being important across all of the region of South America – D’angelo highlighted: “If you want to be one hundred per cent sure that there’s going to be zero money laundering, it’s very hard to do that, but a regulation should identify clients and the payment prices.
“But you need to take into consideration that in order to regulate and to generate revenue, you have to start taking into account the dynamics of the market and the current operations that operators are generating for the growth of the industry. You can’t kill current operators.”
Alfieri added: “I think we all agree here that the true omnichannel regulation and management operation here is the key, and understanding the differences between the two main channels, but really and truly the identity verification is one of the major steps within online.
“We can see it in Spain as well where online has all the requirements and restrictions while retail doesn’t, and this is a well established market in Europe.”
Looking at the Colombian market, Carvalhaes remarked: “We know it’s not perfect but at least from an operator’s perspective, it’s a regulation that you can look at and it makes sense – from a sportsbook perspective and casino, it’s just clear.
“There’s a lot of pressure and urgency for the Brazilian government right now.”
“I think the main risks we should avoid in Brazil – and this is applicable to other markets – is to not expect a perfect regulation at first,” added Doroteia.
“If I go to Germany, I know what I need to bring, but copy and pasting this might not be the right solution because it’s a different market at the end of the day, so let’s work with the locals and understand this market itself.”
He concluded: “Retail in Brazil has a completely different structure from anywhere else, it’s a completely different model, so on our end, what we did is we developed it in order to fit the country. I think we should have a similar approach when it comes to the law itself.”
Regianini concluded: “We face a big challenge already in Europe, like preparing products for Portugal for instance is a nightmare but it’s worth it because it’s a good market. So looking at the Brazilian regulated market in the future, for sure all the force will be put into having some dedicated and customised products.
“It will be a challenge but it’s a good sign.”
To watch this session On Demand via SBC’s digital platform visit digital.sbcevents.com for a free registration.