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Samantha Asensi: “Tropicalization Is Key when You Want to Succeed in Latin America”

27 August 2020, 14:58
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Samantha Asensi, Latin America iGaming consultant and co-founder of Affiliate Summit LatAm, has provided detailed information about the peculiarities of the gambling market in this region. Read more gambling news articles that cover the most up-to-date topics.

Samantha Asensi: “Tropicalization Is Key when You Want to Succeed in Latin America”

Samantha, does Latin America have a big potential for the development of iGaming?

Absolutely! Latin America has positioned itself as one of the fastest-growing territories in the iGaming industry with a 52% growth compared to other emerging territories.

Even though we cannot generalize, and every single country is different, the Latin American people are extremely passionate and emotional with everything they do, especially when it comes to sports. A sports event is the main topic to meet family and friends around a bbq and socialize with each other. Latin American people are facing many challenges when it comes to political or economic issues, but they know how to enjoy life. iGaming is a part of this entertainment in many ways, like when their team wins against another team. Casino and Bingo games have also been a part of their culture for a long time. So, the opportunity is there.

Is the Latin American gambling industry open for foreign operators and investments?

Most of the countries are totally open to foreign operators. In fact, there are already international operators that have established operations there through local partnerships or by acquiring local operators.

Land-based casinos still have a strong presence in Latin America and foreign operators can bring the technology and expertise on digital. Especially after COVID-19, during which local operators have realized how important the digital landscape is. Betting shops and land-based casinos were closed due to the pandemic. While some of them were working with the omnichannel for some time, others did not see the full picture and got stuck in their business operations and were not able to face this challenge.

What are the major difficulties that gambling companies face while launching a business in this region?

The major difficulties are the lack of knowledge about the region itself. Every single country has its own culture, language, and customer preferences. Even when the language is the same, there are big dialectal differences from one country to another.

Tropicalization is key when you want to succeed in Latin America.

Operators must define a long-term strategy and target a specific region with localized content, local payment methods, and provide first-class support. You must build trust in every touchpoint. Trust is the most important thing when you are talking about investing your money in Latin America, especially on the betting market, and especially when you still do not know the company.

The right portfolio of products is also crucial. Here, in Europe, we are getting used to offering a big portfolio of products. That’s great because this is the evolution of iGaming and the market is mature enough. However, when it comes to Latin America, the market is not ready and it can be confusing for users to have too many choices. It does not mean that you should focus only on sports or casino, but you should offer verticals that local users feel comfortable to try without taking too many risks and then cross-selling.

What countries of Latin America are the most gambling-friendly?

Well, Colombia is the top of the list, as it is a pioneer in regulating online gambling. Not only that, Colombia followed some of the European regulatory frameworks and hired experts to build it. Coljuegos is Colombia’s gambling regulatory agency and works very closely with all the operators that have acquired a license, and supports them, especially in these difficult times.

Argentina has a complex regulatory framework because most provinces have not introduced online gambling regulation.

Brazil has just appointed an agency to finalize the market’s legislative and regulatory frameworks for sports betting, and I am sure that, before the end of the year, Brazil will be regulated. There is a huge interest in Brazil because of the potential of the market. Operators should start establishing their presence there because it takes some time to set up a company in Brazil. Furthermore, it is key to having the right connections to establish themselves properly.

Peru is still a grey area for online gambling, operators can target the country through other jurisdictions. I would say that Peru is a more mature market within Latin America in terms of payment methods, localization, and operations. We have many examples of European operators doing well in Peru, and I think the main factor of their success is that they put effort into adapting the brand to this specific market through long term strategies.

Operators should keep an eye on Ecuador and Bolivia in the near future because they are rapidly emerging markets.

What is the main difference between the European and Latin American gambling markets?

The main difference is the maturity between both markets. In Europe, we have technology expertise that is more advanced than in LatAm. iGaming is fundamental nowadays because users are demanding it. The new generations are mobile and social, they consume instant content through fast and reliable technology. Latin American operators are more educated on the land-based market.

Latin America has the local expertise, they know the local “taste”. Europeans operators can bring technology, while Latin American operators can assure localization and trust. The use of the right technology combined with a smart digital strategy is a win-win combination.

Read more: Peculiarities of gambling in Europe and recent regulations

Read more: Will the American iGaming industry enter a new era?

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