Unsurprisingly, the opportunity afforded by the opening up of the US sports betting market has been at the forefront of the industry’s context and agenda in recent times.
However, the LatAm region and in particular Colombia’s liberalised and revamped betting marketplace is likely to be arousing the interest of betting stakeholders.
Having worked closely with multiple LatAm government and sporting bodies, Managing Director of LatAm Sportradar Luiz Gustavo Zonca revealed that for Sportradar: “The priority as for everyone we work with is to ensure that any betting framework is the best, in terms of oversight, value, responsibility and integrity. We have found state authorities, regulators and sports bodies to be hungry to understand and learn about how others have done it right and how pieces can be assembled to create the optimal ecosystem.”
In an interview with SBC, Zonca also outlined the reasons why Colombia is such a critical market for the LatAm region: “Colombia is a critical market in the region for a number of reasons: a) the country is of a significant size; b) the population of the country is 50 million, and c) the country is super passionate about sports. In this context, no one should be surprised the world’s biggest operators are paying close attention and that their investments in the country are gaining the attention of other countries in the LatAm region.
“From my point of view, what is evolving in Colombia is definitely causing an acceleration in the speed of regulation in other countries. It is becoming increasingly clear that delays in their own country’s regulatory process is leading to lost opportunities.”
He went onto analyse whether LatAm nations can develop a single betting industry code to allow for a unified business framework, or whether this an unrealistic process.
“This is a really fascinating proposition with obvious advantages. But where we now are in the journey, my sense is that this is incredibly unlikely. Some countries remain unconvinced about opening up regulated markets. Furthermore, some have differences from province-to-province.
“At the end of the day, the cultures across the continent are completely different and their legislative frameworks are totally different. All of that renders the chances of a single code or framework incredibly slim.”
Detailing the LatAm factors and dynamics that he continued are the most underserved or misunderstood by foreign enterprises targeting the region, he continues: “One clear misunderstanding that non-native entrants into the region struggle with is the cultural differences across countries and the region. It becomes all too easy to assume that ‘if we roll something out across the Spanish language countries, that will work’.
“The language may be the same, but the culture is a completely different situation. Ultimately the LatAm region is not a homogenous group. Each country deserves and needs a separate analysis and strategy.
“Another important issue we see is the assumption that the guys from overseas think they can run the show here. In my own personal opinion, there are a serious shortcoming with that, as local knowledge, relationships and understandings are critical. More and more I see operators fail because they do not recognise this reality. The result: heavy investments managed from Europe or Asia returning low profits.”