Latin America has been a region which has captured the gaming industry’s attention over the last few years. And with more countries opening up to regulation, Wazdan is confident that it can continue to bring new and engaging content to players. That’s according to Izabela Słodkowska-Popiel, Head of Account Management for North America and Latin America at Wazdan.

Ahead of SBC Summit Latinoamerica, Słodkowska-Popiel sat down with CasinoBeats to discuss the growing opportunities in Latin America, explaining how Wazdan plans to bring its portfolio of products to more players across the region. She highlighted some of the key markets that Wazdan has identified for expansion, before sharing some plans for this week’s event in Miami.

CasinoBeats: Latin America has been a big focus for many gaming providers over the last few years. What opportunities has Wazdan identified in the region?

Since we went live in Colombia in 2020, Wazdan has enjoyed strong results in Latin America, signing prospective deals and implementing state-of-the-art solutions. Latin America is developing rapidly, which is why we’re focused on providing our innovative solutions to operators and aggregators. This development also affects regulated markets, so there is a lot of potential for market growth. We believe our products fit perfectly with the demands of players in the region.

Players in Latin America often seek games that offer not only entertainment but social interaction too. We’ve explored opportunities to enhance player engagement through gamification features and network promotions. The latter was very popular with players and operators, with a total prize pool of $4,300,000 across six network promotions.

Mobile gaming is also becoming more popular in LatAm, and Wazdan has identified the opportunity to create mobile-friendly games that cater to the growing number of smartphone users. A prime example of that is our Extremely Light series, which offers swifter loading times on all devices and consumes significantly less energy. Developing games optimised for mobile devices is a key strategy to capture this emerging market.

Latin America is a diverse region with various cultural nuances, languages and preferences. We have identified the opportunity to tailor our games to cater to the different tastes of players across countries in the region through our Freedom of Choice™ suite. This approach enhances player engagement and retention by providing the end users with control over the way they play our slots.

CasinoBeats: Looking at the Latin American market, can you give us an overview of how Wazdan has performed in the region so far?

Over the last three years, we’ve established strong relations with local casinos and platforms. The main regions we focused on were Colombia – the oldest regulated market on the continent – and Mexico, and among our prominent partners you can find top regional operators such as BetPlay or RSI. We’re continuously providing more games to the region, with more and more of our products gaining regulated licenses.

Colombia is also one of our fastest-growing markets, which is why we’re looking forward to expanding our reach in the region to the soon-to-be-regulated territories, such as Argentina. With a wide network of partners across Latin America, business in the region is booming and we expect the future to only bring more positives.

CasinoBeats: Have you found that players across Latin America have shown a preference for particular Wazdan games? Why do you think this is?

We have! Players across Latin America find many of our slots engaging, but a select few titles stand out in terms of numbers. Magic Spins™ is one of those games, a truly immersive title with the Hold the Jackpot™ bonus round that awards Jackpots up to x2,500 the player’s bet. Like a magic trick, the game enchants players with new and advanced mechanics, multiple Bonus symbols as well as the exceptional Collect to Infinity™ feature.

Alongside this, 9 Lions is a unique slot that continues to captivate players in the region. Despite its release back in 2018, this title continues to generate fantastic results and is a must-have in any portfolio. The game’s exquisite graphics and animations have propelled its success, whilst the refined soundtrack makes for a highly immersive experience. Engagement-boosting features such as Lions Bonus or Dragons Bonus are also some of the many reasons why this slot remains such a hot product!

Finally, Hot Slot™: 777 Crown continues to perform extremely well in the LatAm market, offering everything players would expect of a fantastic retro slot. This 5-reel, 20-payline title combines the design of old-fashioned slots with big wins and customisable features, including adjustable Volatility Levels™ and cash prizes of up to 305x the player’s bet.

We believe these titles are so popular because they are the epitome of a Wazdan slot. Not only are they built with attention to detail in terms of game math, sound, and graphic design, but they also provide players with tools to customise their gameplay. They are also all created with a mobile-first approach, which is a key factor in their success in the Latin American market. What is more, all our games are translated into more than 30 languages, including Spanish, and support all currencies and cryptocurrencies, so this localised content allows us to reach players in such markets.

Finally, with this market and SBC Latinoamerica in mind, we released the Los Muertos™ II slot. We hope that players in this market, especially in Mexico, will fall in love with this game.

CasinoBeats: Does this fall in line with what you would expect?

You can never be 100% certain whether a slot will find recognition amongst players in certain regions, but we’re not surprised that these titles struck a chord. As I have mentioned before, they all include the customisable Freedom of Choice™ suite, including features such as Volatility Levels™, Ultra Fast Mode or Energy Saving Mode. These mechanics provide players with the ability to customise the gameplay to their needs – a big plus in the eyes of players in the region. Features such as Collect to Infinity™ and Hold the Jackpot™ also help to boost engagement and the classic design of slots such as Hot Slot™: 777 Crown surely found its fans in the region.

CasinoBeats: In your view, is Latin America the next hub for iGaming? Is there still a long way to go in terms of regulations before the region becomes the next global powerhouse?

Latin America holds tremendous promise as a future hub for iGaming, driven by its expansive population, rising internet penetration, and the emergence of a thriving middle class. With over 650 million people in the region, the potential player base is substantial, offering lucrative market opportunities for the iGaming industry.

The regulatory landscape is evolving positively, with several Latin American countries actively working towards legalising and regulating online gambling and betting. This proactive approach signifies a growing acceptance of the industry, setting the stage for a robust and well-defined legal framework for operators. Noteworthy examples include Argentina and Brazil, both making strides towards becoming regulated markets. These developments not only showcase a changing attitude towards iGaming but also suggest that the region as a whole is on a trajectory toward regulatory maturity. While challenges may persist, the groundwork laid by key countries underscores the belief that Latin America is well on its way to becoming the next global powerhouse in iGaming.

CasinoBeats: What can delegates expect to see from Wazdan when they visit your stand at SBC Summit Latinoamerica?

First of all, I would like to invite all the readers to visit booth B32 at SBC Summit Latinoamerica for an immersive experience with Wazdan! You can expect to explore our top-performing games, check out our Latinoamerica-themed recent game – Los Muertos™ II – and get exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming hits.

What sets us apart is the unveiling of our exciting Network Promotions, featuring HalloWIN and Xmas Drop, offering an incredible $2,650,000 in prizes. Dive into our diverse promotional tools, including the award-winning Mystery Drop™ and the brand-new Jackpot Rain™.

With a specific focus on the booming Latin American region, Wazdan is poised to showcase innovative solutions to operators and players alike. Our leadership team, led by CEO Michal Imiolek and CCO Andrzej Hyla, as well as myself – a Head of Account Management for North America and Latin America, and Account Management team member Joanna Zdanowska, will be present to discuss our strong commitment to global regulated markets.

We’re also excited to have been shortlisted in two categories for the prestigious SBC Latinoamerica Awards, which reaffirms our strong position in the Latin American market.

CasinoBeats: Finally, what can you tell us about your plans for Latin America in 2024? Are you looking to target any particular markets?

We plan to expand our reach to the upcoming regulated markets in the region, such as Brazil or Argentina. We aim to provide our products to as many players in the region as possible so that both players and operators in the region can take advantage of our innovative solutions.

We are going to achieve this by rolling out as many of our high-quality titles to the market as possible, giving the Latin American player base a plethora of fantastic products to choose from. As this prominent market continues to surge, we want to stay ahead of the competition and be the first to deliver our cutting-edge services and games to support this exponential growth.