Despite the “significant opportunity” presented by numerous nations across the Latin American ecosystem, a number of challenges must be tackled and overcome to ensure success, said David Natroshvili, Managing Partner of Spribe.
In a similar nature to other emerging markets across the African continent, these mostly centre around infrastructure, it is noted in conversation with CasinoBeats, with the lightweight approach necessary to make any meaningful foothold across the region.
Natroshvili delves into this, as well as how the overwhelming popularity of mobile impacts the experience and content offered and what games will dominate LatAm games lobbies, below.
CasinoBeats: Latin America has been identified as a key market for operators looking to expand their geographical reach. What makes it such an attractive market?
David Natroshvili: There are several factors that make the region so appealing to operators. The first is the significant populations found in countries across the region – Colombia has a population of 51 million, Peru 33 million and Brazil 214 million. In these countries, there is a huge appetite for sports and in particular football, as well as a desire to gamble on sporting events as well as on slots, table games, etc.
Feature and smartphone penetration is on the rise and consumers have the disposable income to engage with a range of entertainment products and options. On the regulation front, a growing number of jurisdictions are legalising and regulating online gambling but are taking a lighter touch when compared to other emerging markets such as the US and Canada. All of this comes together to present a significant opportunity for operators.
“…while live casino would be a big hit in Latin America, the bandwidth and data costs in certain markets will make it incredibly difficult to offer it to players”
CB: Where there are opportunities, there are often challenges to be overcome. What can operators targeting LatAm expect in this regard?
DN: The challenges in LatAm are similar to other emerging markets like Africa and mostly centre around technical infrastructure. As mentioned in the previous question, feature phones are more common than smartphones and the cost of data can be incredibly high for the consumer.
This means that operators must take a different approach to their platform and offering in these markets, and this usually means removing the ‘bells and whistles’ functionality and features used in more mature markets. For example, while live casino would be a big hit in Latin America, the bandwidth and data costs in certain markets will make it incredibly difficult to offer it to players.
Operators must also remember that mobile is the dominant channel of play – as in Africa, most LatAm countries have skipped the desktop stage and gone straight to mobile.
CB: How does this impact the experience and content that operators offer to their players?
DN: The challenge for operators is to still provide an engaging and entertaining experience despite the market challenges being faced. If live streaming or live casino is not available, they must look to other types of sports betting and casino content that not only meets but exceeds player expectations.
For casino, this means lightweight games that play seamlessly on mobile but that still get player pulses racing. To provide this type of experience on the devices that players have, operators should look to non-traditional casino content such as crash games.
“Feature and smartphone penetration is on the rise and consumers have the disposable income to engage with a range of entertainment “
CB: How can non-traditional content such as crash games help in this regard?
DN: Crash games such as our flagship title, Aviator, have been designed to be super lightweight so that operators can offer them in all markets and across all devices, and still provide a seamless player experience. They deliver the excitement that players are seeking; Aviator gets players on the edge of their seats as the plane takes off and climbs higher into the sky with the win multiplier increasing with it.
Can they hold their nerve for the biggest payout, or do they cash out with the current accrued winnings? This thrilling experience just can’t be replicated with any other casino game. The intuitive nature of the gameplay also makes crash games a hit with players that are new to online casino as it closely resembles the mobile and video games they are used to playing. In short, they allow operators to entertain players with captivating content, despite the technical challenges they face.
CB: How can operators leverage the huge popularity of crash games such as Aviator?
DN: Be bold and integrate these games into their lobbies and give them a prominent position. Players magnate towards crash games and non-tradition content, and quickly pick up how they are played.
Once they have a few game rounds in the bag, they return to the game time and again because of the thrills, spills, and big win potential they provide while also giving them a sense of control over the outcome – this is crucial when it comes to building trust with players that are new to online casino. Operators can also use the promotional tools built into games such as Aviator to push them to players.
“I don’t think crash games and no-traditional content will replace slots, table games and standard sports bets”
With Aviator, there are two bonus features available – free bets and rain promo. Free bets can be used by operators to introduce players to Aviator and to allow them to become familiar with the increasing curve format. The rain promo feature then adds free bets into the chat feature at random times. Players within the chat can then take the free bets by clicking ‘claim’. Players can also make it ‘rain’ free bets within the chat, adding to the shared experience and social interaction.
CB: Ultimately, will these games dominate online sportsbook and casino lobbies across LatAm?
DN: They are already dominating operator game lobbies. I don’t think crash games and non-traditional content will replace slots, table games and standard sports bets, but they will play a huge part in how these games and experiences evolve over the coming months and years.
This is certainly the case when it comes to the social interaction that is baked into crash games such as Aviator, and how streamlined and intuitive the user interface is. The good news for players in LatAm markets is that operators are really starting to understand the draw of crash games and are stocking more of these titles in their lobbies.
And as more LatAm markets open up and brands go live with games such as Aviator, more players can strap themselves in and take off towards the most entertaining gaming experience of their lives.