The Latin American igaming market has the potential to be more valuable to the industry than the US one, but operators will have to tailor their offerings to local tastes to succeed in the region, according to Christian Maglia, the new Chief Commercial Officer of Stanleybet Group’s B2B division Magellan Robotech.
Maglia will be one of the speakers on the LatAm – Looking at Regulation panel of the Emerging Markets track at Betting on Sports 2019, the leading international event for the sports betting industry. It takes place at Olympia London from 17 – 20 September, and Stanleybet Group and Magellan Robotech will sponsor the VIP networking area.
After moving to his new role from platform and games provider WeAreCasino, where he was Chief Commercial Officer, having previously headed sales operations for Sportsradar and BetGames.TV, Maglia sees great potential for growth for his employer. His optimism is partly explained by the opportunities offered by emerging markets.
Magellan Robotech currently collaborates with and supplies its products – which include online and retail betting platforms, self-service betting software, virtual sports, keno and lotteries – to customers in Europe and Nigeria, and is also working to build strong relationships in multiple new markets. Maglia expects to have established a presence in “at least three other continents” within the next 12 to 24 months.
Speaking ahead of his appearance at Betting on Sports, Maglia revealed he is excited about the prospects for sports betting and online gambling in general in Latin America, but warned that it can be difficult for established international companies to enter new markets without input from local partners.
“Being able to have a truly international approach is not at all easy,” he explained. “We need to be ready to receive every type of signal from the various countries. Only in recent months, since the opening of the US market, have strong signals or openings arrived from Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Poland and Switzerland, to name just a few.
“It is certainly necessary to have a team that is capable of managing all the processes without neglecting the various facets of compliance and legal requirements. The certifications are often similar but vary from country to country, which also affects the available budgets.”
He continued: “The South American market, together with Mexico and the Caribbean, is likely to be much more important in terms of economic impact than that of the United States. Brazil has more than 180 million inhabitants. Buenos Aires alone comes in at 15 million.
“The passion of these countries for football and sports in general is something closely linked to their culture. Sports betting will undoubtedly be the gateway for many operators, but we must then find the right balance of products to offer. Some big brands operate in Brazil without offering bingo, and video bingo in particular. This happens when the customer and the customer’s needs aren’t fully considered.
“Magellan Robotech and the Stanleybet Group will approach these markets with great care, working with important local partners so as to avoid arriving as complete outsiders.”
Maglia believes that understanding local tastes will be crucial to compiling successful product offerings for companies looking to expand into new regulated markets.
“In my view, the key word is ‘glocal’. We talk about it a lot in other industries, but we won’t be able to do without it in ours either,” he said. “The global must be engaged with the local. Responding to local tastes, culture and traditions with a global approach will be the real answer to continued growth and expansion – it’s what we’re preparing ourselves for.”
He added: “There are different products and trends for each region. Virtual sports, virtual football leagues such as our Trident, are already breakout hits in Europe, the Middle East and especially in Africa. I also expect a similar trend in South America. The same goes for numerical games such as bingo, keno and lotteries.”
One thing Maglia does expect to have a universal impact is technological advances, something that he is confident Stanleybet Group and Magellan Robotech will be at the forefront of.
“I think the real game changer in the coming years will be the use of Artificial Intelligence and robots,” he explained. “I can’t share any details at this stage, for obvious reasons, but what is being prepared in our offices in Liverpool could definitively change the way we are accustomed to betting.”