FADJA Colombia is only a few days away. Taking place on April 10-11 in Bogotá, the show is one of the most important in LatAm, a region that has experienced constant growth in the last few years. Coinciding with the run up to the event BtoBet has launched an industry report focusing on the Colombian igaming market, and in this interview the company’s CEO, Alessandro Fried, discusses the opportunities that the region, and especially Colombia offers to operators.

Q: BtoBet has been present in Colombia since Coljuegos regularized the local market. How has the market grown since its early days?  

Alessandro Fried: To truly understand the positive effect that the introduction of the regulatory framework has had for the local industry, one should take a look at the recent data that has been published by Colombia gaming regulator Coljuegos. Since the introduction of a legal framework there are 17 online licensees active in the market, with 1.5 million active and 1.9 million registered players. This not only indicates a spill over effect from an economic perspective, but this has brought about a clearer and more transparent relationship between the players and the operators.

Q: Do you expect other LATAM countries to follow suit?

Alessandro Fried: Colombia’s success surely indicates that more countries will follow its example. Countries like Peru and Argentina are considering expanding forms of online regulations. Just like there has also been talk about Mexico revamping its current regulatory framework. Without mentioning Brazil who in the past months has set the ball rolling to introduce a legal framework to regularize its market. So yes, I am of firm belief that exciting times lay ahead for the whole Latin American region as the majority of countries leave behind their unregulated stance.

Q: What are the main elements that distinguish Colombia from the other territories in the region?

Alessandro Fried: To have a real indicator of the opportunity that the local market provides, one has to analyze various elements, be it mobile connectivity, internet penetration, and the infrastructures themselves. And you immediately realize that Colombia exceeds the region’s median values.

For instance, when the mobile connectivity of the whole Latin American region amounts to 109%, Colombia’s mobile subscriptions is the equivalent of 116%. The same positive note is noted on the internet penetration side, but with a slight difference. Whereas it is calculated that 73% of the whole South American population is connected to the internet, Colombia’s internet users amount to a slightly less average of 68%. However, it has to be underlined that last January Colombia has registered a substantial increase of 9.7% when compared to the same month last year.

Then there is the smartphone factor, with 75% of the population owning a smartphone, whilst 95% of the population own a mobile phone. Things are also bright when it comes to mobile internet users, which amount to 64% of the total population.

Things are also definitely bright when it comes to the infrastructures themselves, with the country registering an increase in both mobile internet and fixed internet connectivity with a year-on-year increase of +14% and +48% respectively.

Q: What is the best approach for operators to best achieve results in the region?

Alessandro Fried: Without any form of doubt the technology that operators have at their disposal is very important. Is it the only asset needed to succeed in a particular region? No. Technological prowess needs to be coupled with all the local knowledge, ranging from the cultural aspect to the player preference and payment options amongst other elements. However I must state that all aspects are of equal importance.

Do you have knowledge about player preference? Can your technology be adapted to the local context? Is the technology itself scalable to meet the jurisdictional requirements? These are only some of the questions that operators have to consider prior to their setting up business in the region.

Q: What are the major strengths of the Neuron technology provided by BtoBet?

Alessandro Fried: It is essential to keep in mind that each region and their particular players are unique. Whenever a player is wagering on a gambling site, he is generating a huge quantity of data which if used correctly can result in a continuously updated player profile based according to his actions. It is the harnessing of this data that BtoBet’s Neuron Sports and Gaming platforms are particularly adept at. Through the Neuron platform’s assimilation of this data operators are in a position to better understand their players and thus provide them with an offer that is tailored according to their individual preference, and ultimately a better player experience.