Think ‘glocal’. That’s the advice given by Lorenzo Caci, director of business development and strategic partnerships at Sportradar when talking about how to maximise opportunities in emerging markets, and especially so with South America.

Talking at length in a recently published report on LatAm by BtoBet, Caci commented: “While broad similarities exist between betting markets across the world, if you’re going to make it big in LatAm you have to know the differences, whether they be practical, such as language and culture, or subtler, such as gambling preferences and domestic approaches. One of the main similarities that LatAm has with the rest of the world when it comes to gambling is an obvious one – a love of football.”

He added: “The passion for sports in South America is incredible but football is the big one, which is hardly surprising given the presence of huge footballing nations like Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. That passion is one reason why LatAm is one of the biggest opportunities that a sports book operator has to easily be attractive for users to go to their site and bet.”

Caci believes, though, that the market is still in its infancy, which means that opportunities have to be balanced against the inevitable hurdles that need to be crossed. It’s a feat, he says, that can be difficult without knowing the ins and outs of the region.

“For instance, whole LatAm is very much soccer driven,” he says. “In Mexico, for example, there’s maybe a bigger focus on US sports than other countries in the region. You also need to think local when it comes to your sports betting offering and the messaging around it. People still want to bet on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi or the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup but in these countries there is also a big interest in domestic leagues like the Brazilian Serie A and the Liga MX in Mexico.

“While countries like Mexico and Brazil are perhaps more developed than some of their neighbours when it comes to betting, football as a whole is still very much an emerging market and it’s mainly limited to the basic 1X2 market. Corner markets and player markets are scarce, while live betting is still in the early stages – many local operators are not offering much live betting yet because we are still around 70-30 pre-match in LatAm.

“In addition to the more technical opportunities in the region, there are logistical advantages with the growing LatAm market too. South America has a population of approximately 600 million people with just two languages spoken – Spanish and Portuguese – meaning a major simplification of processes for bookmakers when compared to somewhere like Europe.”

Caci’s main advice, however, is to have people on the ground in South America. “This is crucial in order to understand the local culture and  environment as well as potential problems and opportunities. And that’s what the ‘glocal’ approach is about – be global and think of the bigger picture, but don’t lose sight of local market details. The more information you have, the more successful you can be and the bigger reach you can get. There can be no doubt as to the potential of the market but, equally, it’s also clear that any prospective moves into the area need to be fully planned and mapped out to be able to succeed in LatAm.”