Rush Street Interactive breaks down the Latin American opportunity

Latin America
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Latin American prospects could offer sportsbooks and online casino operators an even bigger opportunity for growth than the US, according to a Rush Street Interactive executive. 

The process to regulate sports betting in Brazil is continuing at pace after years of dormancy, with the current legislation in the Senate following successful developments in the lower chamber. 

But it isn’t just Brazil that has operators drooling as gaming regulation is being established across the region which is known for having sports-frenzied populations. Rush Street, for instance, is enjoying success in both Mexico and Colombia

Before appearing at SBC Summit Latinoamerica in Miami, Rush Street’s Marketing Director for Latin America, Emilia Perez, gave SBC Media a look behind the curtain of the operator’s thought process for the burgeoning region. 

SBC: What comparisons can you draw between North and South American betting markets when it comes to implementing a marketing strategy?

Emillia Perez: As a curious fact about the North American betting market, according to Statista, the number of users is expected to amount to 105.3 million users by 2027. Also, in global comparison, most revenue will be generated in the US (US$19,140m in 2023). 

Seems huge, but you’ll see later why LatAm can be even more interesting. In the US there are state-by-state regulations, and some can restrict certain types of wagering activities. This is important because it has a big impact on marketing, because promotions, communication, responsible gaming, and other topics can be affected by what the regulation in each state is requesting. 

In Latin America, there is a similar situation where the gambling market clearly reflects the diversity of the region with the different legislation to regulate operations, however, there are some variables that make LatAm a very interesting opportunity for foreign and local gambling companies. 

First, the passion for sports and especially for soccer, we’re crazy about soccer in Latin America. There is also an increasing mobile phone ownership, bigger internet connectivity, and a more flexible online gambling regulatory framework. According to Statista, Latin America’s online gambling market will grow exponentially to $3.4bn in 2025. We have become the place where companies from the entire world want to be.

In terms of marketing strategies, apart from the legislation, there are some key factors to consider when entering new markets: preferred language and slang, users’ preferences (sports and games), and cultural background. For example, while in the US and Mexico, American sports (football, baseball, basketball) are very popular, in most countries in Latin America, soccer is the biggest. Same with casino games, popular games in North America aren’t necessarily the same in LatAm. This is why elaborating research and understanding the diversity of the countries is key to making strategic decisions before entering a new market. 

SBC: Would you say a North American marketing approach can be altered to fit the dynamics of Latin America or do operators need to start from scratch?

EP: A North American marketing approach can serve as a base or starting point; however, the success of the communication will depend on how you adapt it to each market where the operation will be. A driver that’s important for a potential gambler in the US can be very different from a driver that’s important for someone in Colombia or Ecuador. A successful phrase or slogan in English can sound very different if you just translate it to Spanish, slang is important. 

And this is not only happening between the US and LatAm in general, but this also can also happen in the different countries from the same region. What works in Peru does not necessarily work in Brazil. Interests are also different, while RSI in the US is very strong in casinos and marketing is focused on this product, in Colombia what’s important are sports, so everything changes between markets and a good marketing strategy should be flexible enough to adapt to these differences. In Colombia, we say that communication needs to be tropicalized.

SBC: Can you give us a breakdown of Rush Street Interactive’s own LatAm marketing approach? How do you set yourself out from the competition in the region?

EP: In RSI LatAm we focus on three important variables: coherence, consistency, and differentiation. Coherence because we want to be where it is relevant for us to be, consistency because the quality of our communication must be the same in everything we do, and different because we want to stand out and make our brand easy to remember. 

To achieve this, we have strong messages to deliver our value proposal for each product: trust in statistics (sports), and more ways to win. (casino). Yes, when everybody is talking about having fun and being passionate, we are inviting our players to use their brains before placing a bet, and of course, giving them tools to do so. Betting with intelligence is also aligned with responsible gaming regulations, and this is simply a projection of the values of our brand. 

SBC: What emphasis have you placed on localized marketing across your active markets of Mexico and Colombia?

EP: Localised marketing is exactly what we do in RSI, and a clear example is the communication we have for Colombia and for Mexico. As a quick context for those who are not familiar with the concept, localization is the process of adapting the brand to a specific context. In our case, the product origin is North America, but we have created a specific brand for Latin America, so we have a foreign source and platform, with a localized marketing strategy.

The objective when using localized marketing will always be to make the audience feel the brand was created especially for them. Speaking to them in a language they understand and addressing their needs and pain points will never fail. Some basic steps to prioritize localized marketing are translating the content materials into native languages of local markets, don’t forget about slang. Also, changing the characters to fit how the nationals look if needed. 

SBC: Responsibility requirements across Latin America can vary from country to country, how does RSI ensure its marketing promotes a coherent brand image across the region whilst meeting different compliance metrics? 

EP: For RSI, gambling is a form of entertainment that shouldn’t negatively impact a player’s life, and that’s why we have developed different strategies to achieve brand responsibility. Being aware of responsible gaming starts in our own house, so every year all employees must certificate in responsible gaming awareness and understand how it works with different tools to know how to act in every moment of their jobs and with our players. Yes, we have our own e-learning platform.

All our company processes and promotions are aligned with both countries’ gambling operators, SEGOB and Coljuegos, for Mexico and Colombia respectively. Additionally, we have intentional campaigns to communicate responsible gaming as part of our regular content. Being a very conscious brand about responsible gaming makes our principal sport communication based on betting in an intelligent way believing in statistics as the main tool to make all decisions. 

How does this commitment live in different touchpoints with our player?

  1. Special shows on TV where statistics are discussed to help players make better decisions: Betcenter (ESPN).
  2. Stats center in our platform.
  3. Specific content focuses on intelligent bets: Game intelligence podcast, Game Time streaming show.
  4. Influencers and brand ambassadors creating content with stats as a principal asset to bet.

Taking place between 31 October-2 November at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Miami, SBC Summit Latinoamerica features a plethora of high-profile speakers as well as networking opportunities. To check out the agenda and book tickets, click HERE.