Lorenzo Caci, Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Sportradar, conceded that “retail is still king” for sports betting in Latin America (LatAm), but implied that the potential for online penetration – particularly in countries such as Brazil – could end up tilting the balance.
According to Caci, while users generally have more trust in the idea of going to a shop to place a bet, there is a huge opportunity to leverage the growth of online betting in LatAm by “supporting its operators and leagues with the right technology and expertise to enhance fan engagement”.
He also drew parallels between South America and the developing situation in post-PASPA North America, where operators are seeing high demand amongst fans and punters alike for “live entertainment and information in the palm of their hands”.
LatAm is, like the US, very fragmented, with some countries upholding a blanket ban on betting and others like Colombia implementing legislation with great success, while Brazil is ready to regulate its huge online open market after the pre-Christmas passing of Bill MP 846.
MP 846 is primarily focused on how revenue from Brazil’s national lottery – operated by Ministry of Finance-controlled Caixa Econômica Federal – will be distributed among sport, culture and public safety, but also includes plans that will give the green light to regulated sports betting.
Under this new legislation, gross revenues for online operators will be capped at 8 per cent, with at least 89 per cent of the handle going to bettors and the remaining 3 per cent soaked up by the government.
“The potential for online penetration in Brazil is very impressive,” said Caci. “Telcos have good data plans with the cost of internet close to zero which, when combined with increasing social media reach, makes for really favorable conditions for sports betting operators.”
Caci added that “…everyone is expecting to see legal sports betting in Brazil this year”, with many international organisations, including law firms and consultancy groups, offering their services to the country’s regulator.
He added this is reminiscent of the situation in Colombia, before a Spanish company ultimately delivered the rules to underpin the now prosperous sports betting bill, drawing largely from those passed in Spain before adapting them to the local realities of Colombia.
Yet, even without this regulation, big name dotcom operators have already been targeting Brazil, a country where the obvious enthusiasm for football is mixed with similar passion for US sports including American football, basketball and baseball.
Caci labelled these dotcom operators, supported by the biggest TV and marketing budgets, as the first of four types of operator in Brazil, alongside operators managed by local entrepreneurs, bet-on-lotteries headlined by Jogo do Bicho and fantasy sports platforms, with all of these now also targeting sports betting – regardless of their primary POS.
He believes that Sportradar is well placed to service the growing demand for online betting in the country, particularly for the locally managed operators, through their Managed Trading Services (MTS) – the firm’s leading risk management tool – and ad:s, a full-service data-driven marketing offer for sports betting operators.
“Regions across LatAm – in this case Brazil – vary so greatly that you have to apply effective global strategies and adapt them to the local region,” said Caci.
“This is why we have developed the fully customizable MTS and ad:s, both of which can be integrated at whatever level of service operators require – no matter how big or small – and for any stage of the business lifecycle.”
He concluded: “The majority of operators decide to outsource certain parts of their operation, which is where our trading and risk management services can fit perfectly into their plans.
“The same thing applies to our marketing services. This is why we have such high hopes for ad:s in Brazil, which provides a full suite of marketing services to the operator, including sponsorship activation, the monitoring of traffic and conversion, and the management of SEO activities.”
While presenting the right betting opportunities and providing the right level of customer support have been decisive factors in Brazil thus far, the pricing of competitive odds from Sportradar – and the subsequent guarantee of workable margins – will be crucial for any operator, as the competition for market share inevitably intensifies.