At the end of October, regional marketing company Sherlock Communications launched the report ‘A Big Bet: The Latin American Gambling Market in Full Development’, where it showed that, despite the lack of regulations, the local players are already involved in the online gambling world. However, a large majority also demand clear rules to promote the development of each market internally.

The intention to exploit the great potential that Latin America offers had already been exposed by operators, providers and other local and international investment companies, but the report makes it clear that it is the players who are committed to a regulatory framework that allows responsible and transparent gambling to benefit every party involved, starting with each government.

To promote a healthy development of an industry represented by reliable and responsible companies, the marketing agency, based in São Paulo and with eight offices between the Caribbean and South America, specializes in advertising campaigns for gambling and betting operators.

From their experience, Brazil and Peru are emerging as the most interesting markets because “residents gamble more frequently” there, although “as the clarity of the legislation increases, the map of betting markets in LatAm will undoubtedly change,” according to Patrick O’Neill, Managing Director of Sherlock Communications, in an exclusive analysis for SBC Americas.

O’Neill said: “In Brasil, only sports betting moves around $1bn, and with proper regulation that has been discussed, the expectation is that the sector will move around $2bn per year.”

Following studies from Olavo Sales da Silveira, chairman of the Board of ABRABINCS (Brazilian Association of Bingos, Casinos and Similar), O’Neill considers that the figures would be more shocking if the government “supported the primary insertion of the urban casinos model that allows capillarity and widespread investments in the various municipalities with a tourist vocation that are spread across the country representing opportunities for investors from Brazil and the world.”

In an ever-changing and always controversial political climate, while waiting for regulations in Brazil and other Latin American jurisdictions, Sherlock Communications is moving forward with the launch and recognition of brands, from Mexico to Argentina.

O’Neill stated: “As our recent report on the betting market shows, it is not so simple to define a successful campaign for the region as each country has its own regulations and population has different preferences and habits,” adding that “the key is to show transparency.”

The Managing Director believes that marketing strategies that position new brands in an emerging and still immature market should aim to create trust, and that’s why responsible gaming values must be pursued in accordance with international standards and markets that have been already developed, such as the marketing policies included in the American Gaming Association (AGA) code.

He said: “We aim to demonstrate the responsibility of the brand with websites that control if minors are entering, with terms and conditions that also adhere to responsible gaming campaigns. Marketing, in this case, must go further, combining effective Public Relations campaigns that contribute to the positive perception of the betting site.”

One of the strategies that has worked when trying to broadcast a brand and educational messages in the gaming industry in Latin America has been associating with streamers. O’Neill believes: “the right influencer, streamers in this case, can become an interesting brand ambassador. Currently, streamers are the most impactful influencers in this market, interacting optimally with punters.”

The Managing Director added that the benefits are numerous, including brand visualization and the relationship between streamers and their audience, which build trust when choosing a secure site.

Sherlock Communications is currently using that strategy with its local partners, which is in line with the expectations from the public that emerged from the agency’s report, where it detailed that brands with ambassadors are perceived as trustworthy.

O’Neill said: “According to our study, a professional player is ideal to represent a betting site in Colombia (45%) and Brazil with (41%). Latin America is a region that stands out for its sports fans, its teams and players are references for its public and generate trust in them.”

In addition to these strategies, both platforms and marketing campaigns must be oriented towards the mobile sector, since it’s “essential” in the region if they aim to attract a young audience, especially millennials. Although the pandemic has been another factor that accelerated the growth of online gambling, O’Neill emphasizes that the sports betting retail sector should also aim for a similar development.

Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of customizing a specific strategy to each market, not only because of their regulatory differences but also because the population has different preferences and habits.

Considering legislative rules, the consolidation of the mobile sector is fundamental for the development of the region, always resorting to optimal communication strategies that comply with the standards, as O’Neill stated: “Understanding the legislation and the reality of each individual country is key for bookmakers to operate successfully in Latin America.”

The Managing Director added the general strategy should be to adequately inform and communicate these advances, saying: “It is the same technology that provides the marketing tools to get closer to the public, being able to segment the digital public, implement appropriate marketing strategies, with useful and informative content about the sector.” These strategies, carried out efficiently, should retain the loyalty of those who started using online as an option during the pandemic and attract new consumers.