The 2022 sports calendar promises great appeal for Latin American fans, increasing the region’s potential as the next focus of concentration for the betting industry. With the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup leading public interest, established operators on the continent are debating how to capitalize on these experiences after having faced the challenges left by the pandemic.
During SBC Summit Latinoamerica 2021, which took place at the end of October in Miami, a panel entitled ‘Reap the benefits of an intense sports calendar’ – sponsored by Stats Perform – left reflections for companies looking to maximize their business for the coming year.
Moderated by Juan Ignacio Juanena, Business Manager at Enjoy SA, the debate revolved around the lessons learned from the last two years, such as the need to set up an omnichannel business, the flexibility to incorporate original solutions – such as adding new verticals of gaming – and the value of strategic partnerships, especially for online development.
Counting the experience of Pinnacle, Florencia Brancato, the firm’s Head of Latin America, explained that innovation was experienced above all in the new verticals such as sports tournaments in other regions and, especially, esports. “We get a lot out of esports,” she said. “We got to work hard on opportunities like Dota and LoL, in Brazil especially. We got sponsorships with Santos for his esports team, and this also boosted the casino part.”
Now, as Juanena highlighted, the most active calendar in the coming months will be the opportunity for the acquisition and retention of players, a challenge that is difficult to experience in markets with unstable economies and voracious international competition.
According to the moderator, recruitment will be a key issue, “especially in 2022 with the World Cup”, taking into account the competition between operators throughout the continent, while “sports teams, as in Brazil, awarded 85% of the advertising capacity to the betting houses”.
For Alberto D’Angelo, CEO of La Tinka, acquisition costs have skyrocketed since competition is also experienced in traditional media, where only international companies with the most support have the capacity to reach. For this reason, the Peruvian operator chose to strengthen its online business to also keep retail alive, with “a good platform with an excellent range of games, fast recharges and fast payments. Customer service is essential, but you have to do it right from the start”.
He added: “This last type of player grew a lot during the pandemic. We have tried to get closer to the markets by understanding who is the player that generates value for us and how we manage to turn around those who come to ‘get us money’. You have to have a large marketing budget, invest in TV and digital conversion. Alliances, strategic associations and affiliates work hard.”
Given this, Brancato was also emphatic in stating that the Latin American market needs more affiliates. “At Pinnacle we try to be creative and look for different channels for acquisition. We have influencers who bet, who educate the market and function as brand-ambassadors. It has helped us a lot to grow with traditional and VIP players. With them, we create an educational dynamic that is needed in Latin America,” she commented.
For his part, Mosquera assured that also “the challenge is to present the greatest automation of payments and manual verification for possible fraud. It is a thin and complex line. But it is key to understand the player, the betting pattern and their interests”.
In addition to specific marketing and payment strategies to incentivize acquisition and retention in these growth periods, D’Angelo explained that local markets need more regulation from operators and suppliers.
He added: “Regulators copy the best practices of already advanced markets, but they do not first establish the conditions to achieve, in principle, the development of those markets. So they impose regulations from more developed countries and this is detrimental to the investments that have already been made. It is important to work with regulators, so that the regulatory framework is modern, protects internal investments, encourages work and favors the local market.”
Given this, Mosquera also described that “the lack of specific transparency in the figures shared by regulators generates certain uncertainty and difficulties when planning and measuring the health of the market”, which is why a greater dialogue with the authorities is needed to establish common projections.
SBC Summit Latin America brought together important delegates from regulators, suppliers and operators in the region, as well as experts in the field at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. If you were unable to attend, there is still time to register for the Online Pass here and see this panel and all the content of the event on demand. We hope to meet at the next SBC events and at the SBC Summit Latin America 2022, which will take place from November 1 to 3, 2022 in Cancun, Mexico.