Online channels ‘ripe’ for Colombian betting operators

An industry report released by igaming and sportsbook platform provider BtoBet has revealed that ‘the time is ripe’ for operators within the Colombian betting market to shift their focus from retail and diversify to include online channels.

Having effectively opened its online market to new licensees in 2017, Colombia has since adopted a strong regulatory framework for the sports betting and gambling industry on a national level, and become an example for other Latin American (LatAm) territories.

Despite these regulatory advancements, Colombia’s online gaming sector has remained a relatively minor part of the LatAm country’s overall market, making up just 9.4% of total gaming revenues for the first half of last year.

So far only a small proportion of the country’s 50 million-strong population has opted to open online gambling accounts following the liberalization of the market. However, the report has revealed that the signs are pointing to a gradual shift towards remote forms of gambling, with the online sector registering levels of growth that currently outpace its other verticals.

This apparent shift is further underlined by tax revenues for Coljuegos, Colombia’s gambling regulator, for the year ending 31 October 2019. These figures found that online gambling licensees registered a 106.3% increase to COP65.97bn ($19.6m).

The report goes on to cite how the above figures, combined with a 2.9% increase to internet penetration and the fact that the smartphone is now used by 93% of internet users, indicate that now is the time for Colombians operators to diversify into online channels. 

The report explained: “The time is ripe for local operators in Colombia to start diversifying ever more their business strategies to include the online channels. This not only applies in those cases where the operations are focused on solely the brick and mortar betting shop, but also to those operators who have already adopted an omnichannel approach.

“In particular, the latter should further seek to transform their non-registered players into registered ones, thus providing their customers with a betting ecosystem where all channels are interconnected for a better user experience.

“Such a decision should also be taken based on what is characterizing the industry at a global level. A recent report by Online Gambling Quarterly stated that, on average, 62% of operators’ revenue comes from mobile channels. For suppliers, the percentage is almost the same at 60%. And these numbers are only going to be growing over time.”

Moreover, BtoBet’s report highlighted the untapped potential within social media platforms. With 69% of Colombia’s total population active on some form of social media, 98% of which access their accounts via mobile, there is huge potential for a feature that enables players to search for (or directly place) bets from their chosen social media apps.

With this in mind, BtoBet has prioritized integration of this feature for its Neuron 3 platform, launched at this year’s ICE London. 

At the time, BtoBet CEO Alessandro Fried told industry journalists that Neuron 3 is about “delivering a new omnichannel perspective and filling the gaps in the player journey by providing its operators with the technology to develop their betting experience”. 

This is irrespective of whether the core focus is on mobile, desktop or retail betting, or if interest from the client extends to the “digitally wider channel spectrum” offered through Neuron 3 – including Social Media (SM) and TV Betting.

The new SM Betting feature, said Fried, has been developed with the profile of today’s gambler in mind, particularly the “strong tendencies to make use of social platforms”.

He also confirmed that players can search for, or directly place bets from the social media app of their liking – whether this is Twitter, Facebook, Viber or Telegram.

For more information and to download the entire report, click here.