The emerging market nature of many jurisdictions across Latin America has been discussed, and discussed and discussed, the world over for many a year as countless predictions and suggestions have been evidenced on a global scale.
However, key developments have cemented LatAm’s position of being at the forefront of the industry agenda, with Brazil, Argentina and Peru all among those causing fresh optimism at the recent SBC Summit Barcelona.
With SBC Summit Latinoamérica upon us, which will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, between November 1-3, the latest edition of SBC Leaders reflected on moves made thus far, how crucial recent developments have been and plans moving forward alongside Rush Street Interactive.
The Chicago-based group, which also has offices in New Jersey and Bogata, as well as Tartu, Estonia, was the first US gaming company to launch a regulated online sportsbook in Latin America when it debuted the RushBet brand in Colombia in June 2018.
To begin the conversation, Mattias Stetz, RSI’s Chief Operating Officer, spoke proudly of the moves made thus far in the region; touching upon group strategy regarding a pair of market entries.
“We are at a stage where we are increasingly comfortable to increase our marketing investment”Mattias Stetz, Rush Street Interactive Chief Operating Officer
“RushBet entered Colombia in June 2018, just before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and from nothing quickly grew into a clear top three player in the market today,” he said.
“We entered Mexico on June 30 and, much like in our entry in Colombia, we have used the first couple of months to test the user flows.
“We are at a stage where we are increasingly comfortable to increase our marketing investment heading into the peak sports season.”
Whether this aforementioned marketing expenditure is reflective of the race to capture share further north remains to be seen, but with a World Cup firmly on the horizon capitalising on the region’s firm interest in the beautiful game is a necessary short and long-term strategy.
Regional interest from those across the Americas comes the way of Mexico, where RSI will look to capitalise on its aforementioned recent entry, in addition to Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada, Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica.
However, utilising the popularity of football has firmly been a part of the company’s game plan, with RSI recently extending a Colombia-focused exclusive La Liga partnership across the wider South America space.
This sees RushBet, in a three-season deal, gain intellectual property rights for the league’s top two divisions, LaLiga Santander and LaLiga Smartbank, which includes the usage of team names, shields, players’ pictures and competition logos.
In addition, an array of experiences via ‘money can’t buy’ encounters, giveaways and access to brand ambassadors all form key components of the enhanced deal.
“La Liga … gives us a great platform for further expansion in the region”Mattias Stetz, Rush Street Interactive Chief Operating Officer
“The exclusive partnership with La Liga gives us a unique tool in our marketing portfolio,” continued Stetz when assessing the importance of the agreement in gaining an additional foothold in the area as well as how this will be utilised to drive the RushBet brand further still.
“For example, on a weekly basis we are having pick ‘em style contests for La Liga which – by the way – is the most popular foreign soccer league in Colombia.
“We also have local events in Colombia with former players of La Liga, and numerous assets including tickets to games in Spain. La Liga is one of the most renowned soccer leagues in all of South America, and gives us a great platform for further expansion in the region.”
In July of this year the operator built upon a previously signed partnership that was inked alongside Grupo Multimedios earlier in the year by enhancing its LatAm footprint via the launch of igaming and online sports betting through the RushBet brand in Mexico.
Under a 25-year alliance, RSI will operate an online casino, including over 350 slots and table games, and sports betting countrywide in close partnership with the company, a subsidiary of which holds a licence to operate online gaming in Mexico.
The company’s wider interests span multiple industries such as media, sports, entertainment, wines, food, retail and real estate, and dates back almost 90 years.
When examining why the Mexican and Colombian markets were specifically identified as prime candidates to begin a wider charge across LatAm, Stetz cited population and long-term land-based gaming interests as key components.
“…we are constantly evaluating new market opportunities in Latin America”Richard Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of Rush Street Interactive
“With 50 million people in Colombia and another 130 million in Mexico they are two of the largest population markets in Latin America,” he continued.
“Additionally, we feel comfortable with the regulations in both jurisdictions from a product (both allowing casino and sports betting) and tax perspective that gives us a stable foundation for our business in each respective country.
“In Mexico we also have a partnership with Grupo Multimedios, a media group based in Monterrey. Both markets also have a strong interest in sports and sports betting along with a well established land based casino market.”
Richard Schwartz, RSI’s Chief Executive Officer, recently spoke of the exciting opportunities presented across the Americas when disclosing the group’s second quarter performance, with current moves in Mexico highlighted as a particular cause for optimism.
In addition to declaring a year-over-year improvement in revenue alongside increases in net loss and adjusted advertising and promotions expenses, Schwartz also gave an update on the operator’s progress in Ontario, Canada and Mexico.
It was noted that since their respective launches, Ontario’s handle and revenue have “steadily” grown, while the group remains optimistic and “excited” about upcoming marketing campaigns in Mexico.
The company also stressed that its total addressable market is $72bn across the US ($62bn), Latin America ($3.5bn) and Canada ($6bn), with fresh expansion certainly being sought as they present themselves.
Regarding the moves being taken at a legislative level across the continent, Stetz addressed those market conditions that would hold a particular appeal to RSI while remaining coy on where the company’s path will take it next in its LatAm journey.
“While we can’t speak about specific markets, we are constantly evaluating new market opportunities in Latin America,” he ended.
“We are most excited by markets with large populations that display favourable characteristics, such as support for both the online sportsbook and casino verticals.”