Establishing the LatAm sports betting market has become a hot topic in recent years, particularly as regions begin to regulate the industry to find the balance between the customer experience, the operators success, and the government’s benefit.
With this shift in the landscape occurring many players in the industry are constantly having debates regarding the next step for their respective sectors. This was particularly highlighted at this month’s SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital ‘Understanding and reaching LatAm players’ panel.
One topic that was discussed in the panel was how to create a long term identity in the LatAm market with Betcris’ CEO JD Duarte emphasizing that sponsorships and marketing are crucial to creating a band between the company and potential customers. However, he also warns that investing in sports sponsors can be a difficult market to optimise.
“In Mexico we sponsor the national team and we’re very proud to do so. We’re sponsoring at a LatAm level Major League Baseball and the National Football League,” said Duarte. “I believe that it takes a lot of strategy to actually be able to get the return on investment, but that’s not everything we’re after. We’re trying to solidify our position in Latin America as one of the strongest, if not the strongest operator.”
“It’s not a pure digital marketing strategy where you’re looking for return on investment right away and where you can track the results. This is more of a long term effort. It’s already given us a lot of positive feedback from regulators, customers, Media and from other organizations. So that’s one of the other benefits that comes with it.
“I acknowledge the fact that this is tricky with all these sponsorships because not only do you have to make on the deal with the league or the organisation you are sponsoring, but you also have to activate it by letting everyone know that we are the sponsor.”
The panel, which was moderated by Becky Liggero, the lead reporter of CalvinAyre.com, featured industry experts from a variety of betting sectors including Fernanda Sainz, CMO LatAm, Caliente Interactive and Alessandro Valente, the co-founder of Super Afiliados.
Alessandro Fried, the CEO of BtoBet, who was also the final participant in the panel, brought up the importance of helping transition the industry from a retail dominant environment to the digital space.
Fried commented: “We try to support operators to move from retail to online because we know that LatAm is still mainly driven by retail. So to move from retail to online… it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge related to payment and a challenge related to marketing the channel in order to make customer acquisition.
“So we found a very interesting company, a large company, called Rappi in LatAm, and they are what we call an online delivery service. So through this app, customers can directly order almost everything from supermarket supplies to a service. They take care of the app, the payment, the delivery, all the processes.
“So what we did, and this is a technical challenge, is to fully integrate our platform inside the Rappi app. This means that the customer for Rappi can go inside the application and in the same way he finds other categories, he can find betting and casino, they can select the operators, for example in Colombia, and inside the Rappi app they can use the money they have in the wallet to bet and play casino games.”
Throughout the virtual panel a varsity of topics were delved into with regards to developing the LatAm market to ensure that the can attract new customers, especially given that to most regions regulated sports betting and online gaming is a relatively new concept, as Duarte details.
“In LatAm sports betting or online gaming in general is still a novelty in a lot of countries,” highlighted Duarte. “To the normal person walking down the street, chances are they don’t even know how it works. So there’s still a lot of progress we have to make in teaching people and educating people on how these things work. I believe affiliates are going to be key in order to get to where we want to go.”
The final topic that the panel delved into was the implementation of LatAm localization in the firm’s businesses, with the group of experts in agreement that in order to fully understand the customer a region specific approach needs to be used.
Sainz concluded: “Localization is super important, for small things and bigger things. You need the local language, for example my recommendation is always customer service. Now, it’s important to be local, for the marketing team it is important to be local, because they know the culture of the country, they know how to speak with them, they have all the experience that you may not have in the market with the media, with sponsorship, and with partners.
“Mexico to Colombia to Costa Rica to Panama we have different Spanish, different slangs, and different likes for example in Mexico they love NFL and the American sports. In Costa Rica, like after football it is American sports.
“If you go to Colombia, they don’t care about the NFL or if you go to Argentina it is different. So it’s important to have the knowhow from the people of the local markets.”