One of the overarching takeaways from this week’s SBC Summit Latinoamérica 2021 was the excitement of reuniting representatives of the LatAm gaming sector after a long period of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That enthusiasm was palpable during one of the most anticipated panels during the afternoon of the first day – Post-COVID Lessons – which brought together a broad cross-section of industry figures, with moderation duties falling to Fecoljuegos president Evert Montero Cárdenas.
The panel comprised Antonio Salord Domíngez, director of sales in Latin America for Playtech; Mónica Umaña, head of operations in Latin America at Evolution; Lourdes Britto, director of omnichannel strategy at Apuesta Total; Pablo Viana, country manager in Peru of Retabet; and Carlos Fonseca, lawyer and consultant at Gaming Law SAC.
One of the most obvious impacts of the global situation in 2020 was the closure of the land-based business and the growth of digital, with Cárdenas focusing on the duality between the two sectors. The five panellists agreed in their analysis by addressing the verticals individually, offering the view that each attracts its own player type which enables growth without the risk of cannibalisation.
This, said panel members, negated the fear that online gambling will end up taking players away from terrestrial venues.
Britto highlighted the current situation in Peru as an example, which has seen a growth in banking, while the “informal economy” has remained and even increased.
“The salary of Peruvians does not enter the bank,” she said, adding that venue-based play must not be neglected “in the face of this informality”.
Domínguez agreed, and said: “Informality generates money in the street that is bet on physical points and that is why we must give importance to retail.”
Britto went on to say that “the pandemic was a catalyst” to accelerate the growth processes of online gambling. Concurring, Domínguez pointed out: “You can work on a strategy for them to coexist and operators must work on that. If we want to have a market like in Europe, we have to regulate.”
Taking up the discussion on online versus retail, Viana stated that “the market is big enough for everyone”, but pointed out the need to join with the authorities “to advance quickly towards a regulation that’s beneficial for everyone”.
Umaña, meanwhile, said that the market still “looks at digitisation with suspicion,” but thanks to the pandemic, this is becoming less of a problem. By way of example, she highlighted the growth of television show style games on digital platforms and assured that “users are looking for options to play”.
“The impact of the pandemic was very strong, but this change of mentality towards the omnichannel leaves us with a positive aspect. That acceleration to a place that would have taken many years to get to,” cited Britto as a lesson learned from the last few months.
Remember that you can still register for an online pass to see the second day of SBC Summit Latin America by clicking here. You will be able to see all the conferences live from today and those of the entire event on demand.