After becoming the debut entrant within the Colombian market alongside local operator Vicca Group, whose chief executive Sylvain Boniver stated “Colombia is setting the benchmark in Latin America,” GAMING1 is now firmly setting its sights slightly further north.
SBC Americas caught up with Victor Araneda, international business development director for GAMING1, who discussed those early Colombian manoeuvres and why now is the right time for a US invasion.
“…GAMING1’s business model is based around operating exclusively in locally regulated markets…”
SBC Americas: GAMING1 became the first organisation to gain an online casino and sportsbook licence by Coljuegos in Colombia, how important was this early entry? Why was the market targeted?
Victor Araneda: As GAMING1’s business model is based around operating exclusively in locally regulated markets, our success or failure is predicated on our ability to identify potential markets of interest early on.
In that time, we need to be able to assess the necessary framework and environment to later deliver both technically on the platform side, as well as operationally by creating the correct structure, partnerships and marketing strategy.
In the case of Colombia, we were able to see the process through from the very early stages, as we prepared for 2 years before regulation passed. The market now has a total of 14 licensees some of which haven’t launched yet, while we celebrate our first year of operation – GAMING1’s first outside the EU. This proves we were right about our market expectations, and significantly ahead of the curve.
SBCA: There has been plenty of movement after the US Supreme Court decided to repeal PASPA, what is GAMING1’s current stance with regards to the United States?
VA: We joined the American Gaming Association’s Sports Betting Taskforce a year ago, becoming one of a few international operators to do so. While the industry’s expectations are probably the highest they’ve ever been, it’s now up to state legislators to put in place the proper framework for each individual state.
“We might be one of the few examples worldwide of a land-based operator successfully moving into the online space”
During this lengthy rollout process, the industry and experienced international operators must play a role to make sure those high expectations are met, and GAMING1 believes the AGA is the right vehicle to channel this.
In parallel, we are finalising our US incorporation process, and continue to meet with partners that share our philosophy and are interested in our platform and gaming content.
SBCA: As more states and countries regulate, the potential to further embed the GAMING1 footprint will arise, how do you best prepare to act upon fresh regulations?
VA: It’s about staying true to our company values. We might be one of the few examples worldwide of a land-based operator successfully moving into the online space.
Our technology was built from the ground up to operate under regulation, as well as to create true offline-online convergence.
After seven years of fine tuning, now in two continents, we are fully confident of the value we can bring to our partners. That makes the prospect of every new regulation a unique opportunity.
“…many major markets lack the political will or clarity to proceed with their regulatory processes…”
SBCA: You were recently presenting in Prague at the International Masters of Gaming Law conference. What’s the general outlook for regulation internationally?
VA: It’s an intriguing moment for the industry. Some markets are fine tuning their now mature regulation – it’s been over 7 years since we went live in Belgium, our headquarters – and yet many major markets lack the political will or clarity to proceed with their regulatory processes.
However, there are many reasons to feel optimistic about the prospects of regulation, including the examples of Sweden, the Netherlands and of course, the United States.