Despite facing significant unknowns in regards to the future sports betting make-up of Brazil, the CEO of Brazilian racebook Suaposta, Andre Gelfi, has backed Betsson AB’s early mover advancements in the sector. 

The CEO of the racebook, which operates in partnership with Porto Alegre’s ‘Rio Grande do Sul Jockey Club and is licensed by Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, made his comments following the December 2019 development that saw a refinanced Betsson sanction the purchase of a 75% stake in Suaposta. 

Leading one of the markets established online betting platforms, Gelfi and business partner Fernando Corrêa were originally reluctant to sell Suaposta to a foreign enterprise. However, speaking to SBCNoticias, Gelfi has since backed Betsson’s first Brazilian investment stating that the Stockholm based organization has secured an optimal position should Brazil’s government ‘maintain its schedule and legalize sports betting in 2020′.

Gelfi stated: “We were looking for a partner that could complement us, providing capacity and know-how, and that at the same time shared our company philosophy and bet on the growth of the long-term group in Brazil. It was essential that we were aligned in strategy and vision.

“Whilst Betsson has a financial background and has the knowledge of online gaming, technology and product, Suaposta has a license, local track record, local payment methods and access to digital media. It is a winning combination.” 

As a result of Betsson’s investment in Suaposta, Gelfi and Corrêa are now set to become key executives in the firm’s LatAm drive, with the CEO, in particular, underlining Suaposta’s established market credentials. 

Additionally, Gelfi stated that he has been closely monitoring developments at lottery body SECAP as well as providing insider perspectives on Brazil’s regulatory developments.

He concluded: “Conceptually, I do not dislike the change towards the concession regime, as it seems more legally safe, but we still do not know the terms of the draft concession contract, which I consider the cornerstone of the regulation.

“It is true that changes in SECAP management and modifications to planned regulation will delay the implementation of subsequent granting permits. However, we are convinced that continuity will be given to the process, and in the meantime, we take the opportunity to refine our proposal.”

Regarding SECAP, February saw Brazil’s Treasury department intervene and demand that the body reassess its licensing models to provide better regulatory oversight of licensed operator activities.

Following this, SECAP relaunched its consultation on licensing frameworks, which could lead to Brazil adopting a ‘fixed concessions model’ limiting the number of available licenses for foreign and domestic players.