Antonio Salord Dominguez, the gambling consultant with the focus on Latin American countries, has provided valuable information about the current state of the iGaming market in this region.
Find more experts’ insights and useful articles in the latest news about gambling from LoginCasino.org.
Antonio, as far as we know, Brazil lags behind other Latin American countries regarding the casino and betting sectors. What are the main reasons for this?
During the last year, we have been working to regulate online gambling in Brazil. This is one of the markets with the greatest potential in the Latin American region. The main European operators are looking for new markets due to the existing competition, and they see Brazil as a very attractive market to start operations.
We have seen an increase in the number of operators in Brazil who have started operations, thus ensuring their presence in the market once it is regulated. There are currently thirteen Series A soccer teams that have some kind of sponsorship with a betting house, which indicates that operators are betting heavily on the betting market in Brazil.
What countries in this region have the most relaxed regulations for the gambling industry?
I personally believe that Peru is the country where there are fewer restrictions at the regulatory level, except for the activity of land-based casinos where there are regulations and supervision.
In Peru, online gambling is not regulated, however, it is legal to operate sports betting and any type of gambling. Therefore, we are facing an unregulated market, but gambling activity is legal. On the other hand, sports betting can be operated through retail outlets and is not subject to any regulation.
This legal framework makes Peru a very attractive market for operators, where they can operate legally and there is no gambling tax. However, operators in Peru are working to have the regulation implemented as soon as possible.
In your opinion, what Latin American country has the strongest potential for the development of the casino sector?
Land-based casinos represent a very important economic activity in the region, especially in Mexico, Peru, and Chile. However, if we focus on the online casino, there is a huge potential in all the countries of the region.
During the confinement, we have seen an increase of around 200% in online casino products and the need for operators to improve the product offering of this type of vertical. The future of casinos is online, so it is a great opportunity to make the jump to the digital world.
The successful case of Colombia has inspired other LatAm countries to consider the legalization of sports betting. Who will be the next to make this sector legal?
Several countries in the region have already taken some steps to be able to regulate the sports betting market. Brazil is perhaps the country that is most advanced and may be the next to regulate the market.
Regarding Peru, regulation is stalled due to the current political context. Taking into account that in 2021, there will be elections in the country, this means the appearance of a new Congress and could stop all the work that has been done. The city of Buenos Aires has regulated sports betting and online casinos at the beginning of the year. Therefore, a call has already been opened to obtain a license and operate in the city of Buenos Aires. Argentina is making remarkable progress in regulatory matters, and we will see bookmakers operating legally in the country very soon.
We are in a crucial moment for the region, where all the incentives are given so that the regulations of the game begin to appear in different countries.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic influence the gambling industry in the region? Does it have considerable drops in revenue?
COVID-19 has caused a considerable negative effect in all land-based gaming operations: casinos, lotto, or sports betting. These operations have been the most affected ones without a doubt. In fact, in some countries of the region, casinos are still closed or operating with limited capacity.
On the online channel, operators were smart enough to know how to survive and even find an opportunity to grow. Although the lack of sports events left us in a critical path, especially for online operators, they succeeded in adapting their offer through other branches such as casino, live casino, virtual games, esports, etc. The first months of confinement were the most critical, but once competitions started, they were able to see the light at the end of the road, stay afloat, and even increase their sales and organic traffic.
We shall wait to see how the pandemic evolves and what effects it will bring to the operators. The pandemic has left a new gaming market in the region, and we hope that operators and providers will know how to deal with this situation.