GMB - Why a specific webinar on iGaming in Latin America focuses on Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia?
Paula Gonzalez Acosta - First of all, Latin America is a region with huge potential. Part of this rapid growth across LatAm has been fuelled by leaps in technology, with mobile gaming becoming an ever-increasing reality and ever more accessible. Secondly, due to the pandemic online betting grew, and competition in the market increased accordingly. H2 Gambling Capital predicts that global iGaming revenues will rise above $117 billion within five years. Just compare it with the figures in 2018, when revenues only hit $58 billion. The focus on Latin America is based on the size of the economy, population-wise, and the current status of regulation which varies per country.
For example, Argentina is Latin America's fourth-largest country with nearly 45 million and the second-biggest economy. Gambling is regulated on a province-by-province basis, with operators only allowed to offer their services to residents of their province. In those that choose to regulate, operators are permitted to submit virtually all forms of gambling. The country's online gaming and the betting sector will generate $2.4 billion in annual revenues.
There are no regulations of gambling in Brazil, but the entire market is waiting for it. Once they come into effect, Brazil will have the continent's largest land-based and online sports betting market. With a population of over 200 million (an estimated 63% of whom have access to mobile technology) and a nationwide passion for sports — particularly football — Brazil is a dream come true for sportsbook operators who want to expand into South America.
Peru regulates casinos and slot machines, but not lotteries, races, or sports betting. Online gambling is also unregulated, meaning that while authorities do not issue licenses, they also do not prohibit operators from offering online casino games or sports betting. The government has also announced an intention to regulate the online gambling sector. That is also the market that we keep an eye on.
Colombia became the first country in Latin America to regulate online gambling in 2016, and the gaming and betting market has been growing steadily since licensing began in 2017. Since then, they have seen all the benefits of a regulated market. Gaming and betting contributions to the national treasury rose to $19.6 million in 2019, a 106% increase from the previous year. The market's total NGR (net gaming revenue) was predicted to reach $200 million in 2020.
Are there many differences between the directions each country is taking?
Yes, there are countries with unregulated markets at all and fully regulated markets. But all the LatAm countries realize that regulation is the way for those who don't have any regulation yet and those who already have it. There are changes regarding the licensing model (open license vs. concession-based system) and the taxation. For example, in Brazil it isn’t clear yet which type of system they will work with; market experts recommend the open licensing structure. The city of Buenos Aires has a concession-based system already and tendered all seven licenses. The regulations should consider the country's current state and which model is the most feasible to attract foreign investors and support economics.
Colombia has stood out in the online gaming vertical. Can it be an example for other countries in the region?
Indeed, it is an example for the whole region. Colombia developed its regulations by studying different European regulations and adapted them to the needs of the country. The local regulator Coljuegos's openness, a clear set of rules to enter the market, the overall stability of the current regulatory, banking, tax, and investment regulations for the foreign investors - are the key factors that allow exponential growth in Colombia's gambling industry.
Colombia is one of the biggest markets on the continent. With a population of over 50 million, the fourth-biggest economy on the continent, a mobile penetration rate of roughly 56%, and a well-documented national passion for football, Colombia presents a massive opportunity for online gambling businesses — especially online sportsbooks.
How are the regulatory bodies behaving in the countries you will talk about in the webinar?
As we have mentioned before, the Colombian regulatory body is open and welcoming. In Brazil, there's no regulatory body yet. Today the appointed body is the treasury legal advisers; however, there's no defined one. Talking about Peru, it's The General Directorate of Casino Games and Slot Machines. It has been working very hard in the first place to change the negative image that the gambling industry has in Peru, which currently manages to eradicate illegal land-based gambling. Moreover, they have prepared a draft of a new bill to regulate online gambling that will be presented to Congress. In Argentina, it varies per jurisdiction; however, they are working to concession licenses for those regulated provinces.
Among the four countries you will be covering in the webinar, which one do you believe follows the best path to maturity?
The Colombian market is the first regulated one that has seen the regulation results with an open regulatory body. A friendly regulatory environment ensures the operations during the pandemic as it directly impacts the revenue of the health sector, which has shown the industry's priority for the government.
Online channels are registering steady year-on-year growth. Overall, it provides a safe and stable environment with more potential to explore - the tax revenue from online gambling grew 106.3% from 2018 to 2019.
How do you see the Brazilian market's growth despite not having defined regulations? What do you imagine for Brazil when the regulation is implemented?
The growth of illegal activity shows the country's overall potential; at the same time, it shows how much money the government is losing by not having a regulated market. These revenues could fund key sectors in the country as Colombia works with the public healthcare industry. Within a proper regulatory and taxation structure, a licensed gambling market could equate to BRL 2,389.2m in a gross win by 2024.
How can the company help operators succeed in this fast-growing market? What services does Slotegrator offer?
Slotegrator offers a turnkey solution, game content, payment gateway, and advisory services for different jurisdictions. We are eager to support local and foreign operators in the region by offering our products and services. For example, jurisdictional advisory services can assist current market participants from other countries and industry newcomers in choosing the right market and business structure and acquiring a license. With our experience and technology, we can help operators offer a broad portfolio of games that will meet the players' preferences. It's possible to have varied game content that includes traditional slots, live games, video bingo, virtual sports under one solution. We are glad to offer different payment systems based on our market expertise; localization is vital, and the operators need to provide the players with the payment methods available and preferred. It's essential to speak the same language with the market, and we do know how.
Those interested in participating in the webinar can complete their registration here.
Source: Exclusive GMB