The winds of change are sweeping across LatAm, with the creation of a regulatory framework now in motion. Over the coming months, legislators will attempt to build a structure that works for all. Altenar’s Americas Regional Director, Hugo Llanos, offers his expert insights on why Brazil holds the ‘most promise’, and how its more established neighbours have offered valued lessons ahead of what could be the provider’s biggest year to date.
The hottest news for Brazilian operators is the regulation of sports betting being approved in December. You have previously stated Brazil holds ‘the most promise for businesses’ – how does this development drive Altenar forward in its growth for the coming year?
Regulation in Brazil presents a positive opportunity for everyone in the industry, as with regulation comes greater trust from players and hopefully, increased channelisation. They can be confident in the knowledge they are entertaining themselves in a modern, fun and safer environment.
We are opening an office in LatAm looking at improving our business support, with the aim of being closer to our partners in the region.
There are opportunities abound for those willing to grasp them and Brazil’s regulation has given the green light for innovation and creativity. This now means that Altenar can press ahead with its work to develop the best tools and features designed specifically for the Brazilian market.
Mexico is a booming market, with an estimated 40% of Mexicans betting on sports in some form in 2023. What opportunities lie ahead of Altenar’s expansion in the country for the coming year?
Mexico has always been an intriguing sports betting market and for us, it is a close second to Brazil. It is a substantial market with a growing economy, which saw a quarter of bettors wager on sport for the first time in 2022. This, for us, represents huge growth.
In 2024, we expect further opportunities and innovation to fuel our success in Mexico. Brazil is of course the newcomer, but it would be foolish to take our eyes off the ball in other territories, like Mexico, Peru and Chile.
How do you differ your offering in LatAm regions, compared to European territories? What are the key differences in LatAm players’ needs?
The key differences between LatAm and European markets are in the user experience, not the product itself. The way a sports betting website is presented to a customer in LatAm is different to how it would appear to European players due to differences in taste. A player in LatAm may like some promotions over others, for example, or certain sports in Mexico, such as American sports, are more popular than in Europe. It is essential to make the experience intuitive and as seamless as possible for players who are accessing the content from their home countries.
What do you anticipate being Altenar’s legacy in LatAm by this time next year?
We are working hard to ensure we listen and collaborate with our customers, and to engage in discussions to make sure the product we offer meets their needs. We listen, help formulate their ideas and then help them achieve their objectives. For us, it is about making that distinction between partner and provider – we will never just offer a product without supporting customers to get the most out of it. By this time next year, I hope we will see the market in Brazil live, with a robust regulatory framework, and a number of additional partnerships.
Exclusive ICE 2024 Q&A w/ Leticia Palacios, Director of Sales at Kiron Interactive
The virtual sports provider Kiron Interactive had a strong presence at ICE London 2024, the last ICE gaming trade show held in London before it moves to Barcelona. In this Q&A, Letitia Palacios, Director of Sales at Kiron Interactive, discusses the importance of ICE for networking and lead generation, trends spotted at the event, and new Kiron products unveiled such as the flagship football game GOAL Premier. Palacios notes that ICE provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase Kiron’s innovations to operators and that the event generated exciting potential new business partnerships. She highlights how Kiron stays ahead of competition by constantly developing fresh content and technology like its new photo-realistic football game.
Hello, Leticia! Let’s start by talking about this year’s ICE – the last one in London. How important was it for Kiron in terms of networking, and how will Kiron’s presence at the event influence future work?
For anyone who is a prominent stakeholder in iGaming, ICE London is and has always been a must-attend event as it is still the premier gathering of its kind in the gambling industry.
ICE provides us with the perfect stage where Kiron Interactive can enjoy mixing with a truly international crowd of key decision-makers. With our array of products both existing and new for the event, we’ve got everything we need to put in front of the industry and showcase our innovations that we’re confident will set trends in both our existing markets and those we’re poised to enter.
2024 also saw a significant number of attendees from Latin America and it was a great experience to be able to share more about our products, content and service with them, and they can drive revenue and efficiencies for their brands.
As we know, this will be the last edition of the event in London before it makes the journey to its new headquarters in Barcelona, and we believe it will be an appropriate base for the gaming industry. We had a fantastic final event in London.
As a representative of Kiron, how successful was ICE for you? Was it promising in terms of new business?
It was very important to be present at ICE because it gave us the opportunity to show the new products we have and those we are about to launch on the market very soon.
For me, like every year, it was an incredible experience to be able to share facetime with colleagues in the sector, review trends and share with attendees the products that set Kiron apart as cutting-edge pioneers of virtual sports. We had a great show where we were able to present to operators from Latin America and the rest of the world and the feedback we gained was really positive, setting up several potential new business partnerships on the back of our product portfolio.
It was an incredibly busy three days, but a most rewarding and definitely an event that has delivered in terms of networking and lead generation.
Did you notice any specific trends at the event? Will they influence future Kiron projects going forward?
There is intense competition across global markets and this drives our creative processes resulting in the development of innovative products to present to the industry. It is important to continue renewing ourselves and creating content that transcends expectations while providing value propositions to operators and players.
Kiron differentiates by always being at the forefront of new trends and during ICE we presented the latest developments we have created using all the technology and know-how at our disposal. This makes us stand out in a crowded market and marks everything we do with a distinctive seal of high quality that puts us at the vanguard of the verticals we cater for.
Embodying this, we unveiled our latest flagship football product, GOAL Premier, which is set to revolutionise Virtual Sports products.
GOAL Premier delivers unmatched game visuals, incorporating cutting-edge photo-realistic player movement, flawless animation and next-gen CGI, offering players unprecedented realism and immersive action with a match every three minutes.
Our Instant Win portfolio is also received a significant boost, with three distinctive next-generation gaming experiences that are set to deliver fresh new gameplay to the genre with new themes and features that offer true diversity. Penguin Plunge, Crab Roulette and Roach Roulette all enjoyed a launch at ICE and bring a sense of fun, with exceptional visuals and character design that marry together with ease of play to raise the engagement bar for pick-up and-play betting entertainment.
We rounded off a comprehensive and significant array of major new product reveals with our entry into the hugely popular Crash game sector with an exclusive preview of Rodeo and Arm Wrestling. These hybrid sports titles feature side bets for additional engagement and are the first of their kind in the industry.
As you can see, our entire team has really pulled out the stops to ensure we had a product line-up that really shines and the reaction we received at ICE was incredible. It is this kind of opportunity that events like ICE deliver and Kiron will continue to bring its best to impress visitors wherever the venue is in future. Roll on Barcelona!
Super Bowl – how have providers approached the 2024 edition?
Super Bowl LVIII is upon us and will undoubtedly be one of the biggest betting events of the year. Operators and their third party vendors are sure to have been busy preparing for the Big Game, so we caught up with Callum Broxton, Head of Operations at Checkd Group, Kevin Nunn, Head of Trading – Americas at OpenBet and Mark Nerenberg, COO at Simplebet, to find out how they’ve approached the 2024 edition.
How does the Super Bowl differ from other US sports betting events?
Callum Broxton: There is no event quite like the Super Bowl in the US. Over half of the country will be tuned in to watch the game. Every other sporting fixture pales in comparison and not only does betting on the game attract great interest, but it is the only event in the US where novelty props can catch attention from bettors.
Only during the Super Bowl will fans be betting on whether the national anthem will go over or under a certain length, or on what song Usher will be performing first during his half-time performance. The 49ers are favorites with the spread currently sat at -1.5. The Super Bowl is such a unique event compared to any other due to the intersection it causes between the dedicated and casual sporting fan, many of whom will be placing a bet for the first time.
Kevin Nunn: The Super Bowl is the single largest and most wagered-on betting event in the United States. It combines the pinnacle matchup of the most popular sport with a plethora of side bets that keep fans of all interests engaged. It is not just a football game – it is a massive entertainment event.
This year, we’re elevating our content with 500+ markets, which appeal to existing bettors and those who simply want to enjoy the fun of Super Bowl wagering with limited knowledge of the game.
Compared to other US sports betting events, the Super Bowl means planning year-round to ensure we can guarantee a robust, scalable product that withstands the huge increase in load. Last year, we processed 65,000 bets per second, marking 145% growth in volumes.
Mark Nerenberg: The Super Bowl is far and away the biggest betting event of the year in the U.S. It is an American tradition to go to a Super Bowl party and most likely gamble on squares or prop sheets, so while betting volume is substantial, the larger opportunity is user acquisition and activation.
The Super Bowl presents a chance to attract and engage a large portion of the U.S. population that otherwise is more difficult to reach. Sportsbooks not only look to maximize exposure leading up to the Super Bowl, they also want to maximize the value of these new users by converting them to engage more often.
Similar to the Sportsbooks as a whole, the Super Bowl is a chance for Simplebet to expose a wider audience to micro betting.
Have betting trends evolved from last year’s event and over the course of the regular season? What are the most popular bet types right now?
KN: Betting trends have evolved over the years. In the past, bets were overwhelmingly on the main outcomes of the game, but we have seen a marked increase on player-based markets. Super Bowl will be no exception to this trend.
The main game lines for the outcome of the game are still the most popular, but there is a large uptick in betting on touchdowns, scorers and other player statistical categories, such as how many passing yards.
MN: I think we are still in the early stages here with new states opening up each year, so the trends that are somewhat unique to the U.S. have continued to accelerate. Specifically, Same Game Parlays (SGPs) continue to be the primary focus for operators and thus continue to grow faster than any other form of sports betting.
The majority of SGPs include player props as predicting and following individual athlete performance has been a significant aspect of sports consumption in the U.S. for decades. Unsurprisingly, player prop micro markets have seen the most growth in the micro betting category over the past year.
CB: One trend we will be keying in on during this year’s game is the advancement of in-play betting. While in-play betting has been a staple during the Super Bowl for the past decade, with improved technology and more available betting markets, this is an area that will see great growth this year.
Those bets might be focused on a team that is down making a comeback to win, whether an exact drive for a team will result in a touchdown, or even if a player will catch a pass on a certain drive. We have also seen the rapid growth of same-game parlays and this is a trend that will continue for this year’s game for casual bettors. Despite the margin being weighted more favorably towards the operator, these bets add an extra incentive to watch for the neutral and often younger bettor, who sees an opportunity to win big from a small stake as being particularly attractive.
What markets are you providing for your own operator partners to help differentiate their offering?
MN: In addition to the micro player props mentioned earlier, “Same Drive Parlays” are a unique offering where we see big potential. This combines the SGP experience with micro timeframes, allowing users to predict multiple outcomes in a singular drive. For example, “Purdy will get sacked, Kittle will catch a pass and McCaffrey will score a Touchdown” is a bet that fans can make for any 49ers drive this Super Bowl.
CB: Our SmartPicks technology, found on both the FlashPicks website and app, provides bettors with a reason to place a bet at a partner site. It’s based on the highly successful Smart Acca product we have both rolled out within our own Betting Hub app and licensed to operators in the UK. SmartPicks uses historical statistics and betting data to indicate which teams have been performing well – or poorly – allowing users to make more informed betting decisions across moneyline, spread and total markets.
It is a product that has developed quickly since launch and we have big plans to increase its scope in the coming months and years, providing further value for operators by engaging with a demographic of bettor that understands sport while not necessarily being familiar with online betting. Smart Picks makes the process of betting simple, empowering the end user to use their own judgment. The benefit to the operator is clear, too. 11,000 SmartPicks searches were made during December with users then able to click out directly to their favorite sportsbook, with the margin on these bets compounded with every additional leg a customer includes in their selection.
KN: We provide our operators with as much content as possible to appease a bettor of any interest. Whether they demand a bet that has instant gratification, player-based bets, novelties, or game outcome bets, we will make them available. One element that differentiates the Super Bowl from other events is that we will also offer large odds on outcomes that are difficult to achieve. This way, if history is made in the game, bettors have a chance to claim they bet on that certain historic moment and won, providing even more satisfaction.
Viva Las Vegas: Super Bowl touches down in Nevada
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar not just in the US but the rest of the world. And as all eyes turn towards the Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, gambling companies will be looking for new opportunities to elevate the experience for bettors.
We spoke to Allan Petrilli (Managing Director at Acquire.bet), Troy Paul (Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of SGG Media) and Jamie Shea (Chief Marketing Officer at Strive Gaming) to get the low-down on all things Super Bowl.
This is the second year that the Super Bowl is taking place in a state where sports betting is legal. From a betting perspective, are there any lessons that could perhaps be taken from last year’s event in Arizona?
Allan Petrilli: While I do not have much to add comparing to last year in Arizona – Las Vegas is the MECCA of betting. When considering whether any lessons that can be learnt, my first thoughts went directly to the experiences that brands can offer their VIP customers, and particularly the acquisition-focused promotions that they can run in the lead up to the event – think giveaways, trips, hospitality experiences etc.
It may be a bit late to start rolling out these experiences now, but who doesn’t want to go to Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl?
Troy Paul: Everyone bets on the Super Bowl! Even those that watch one game per year. However, any serious gambler will already have a wagering account- so it’s not really a time to sign up massive numbers of new accounts. However, the Super Bowl is a great time to incentivise your players to make their biggest wagers of the year.
We have seen young fans like “Prop” bets and Parlays- so the Books with the best prop and parlay odds and the best web site from a usability standpoint is paramount. If you have a user site that is not player friendly the gamblers will just go back to the sites they understand and find easiest to navigate.
Jamie Shea: The Super Bowl will be very different from last year’s event. In Arizona, companies like DraftKings had a significant presence. However, DraftKings isn’t present in Nevada; FanDuel does have a retail location, though. In Nevada, you must register in person to wager online. This year, I think BetMGM might emerge as one of the big winners—they have retail locations and an online sports betting presence.
Since people won’t be able to bet with the other big national operators, BetMGM and Caesar’s have a tremendous opportunity to make their product known to the influx of people coming to the city for the Super Bowl. It will be intriguing to see how those coming into Las Vegas from out of town, who are accustomed to brands like FanDuel or DraftKings, will react. It will also be interesting to see if out-of-towners’ experiences with the BetMGM app might influence them to switch to that app after they return home. This could significantly impact player conversion.
This year will certainly be quite different from previous years. I’ve grown up in this industry, having run sportsbooks at retail locations for years. Nevada, formerly the only place in the country to bet, has maintained its requirement for in-person registration, a mandate not seen in other states. This makes it challenging in Nevada. However, unless regulations change, I fear Nevada might not thrive as much as other states.
In your opinion, what new opportunities / challenges does hosting the Super Bowl in Nevada present for sportsbooks? Could this be the year of ‘record bets’?
Allan Petrilli: In my honest opinion, I don’t necessarily believe that the location of the Super Bowl does, or should, have an impact on the volume of bets place. Of course, if we’re looking at the land-based industry in Nevada, then sure, we may see more bets placed at brick-and-mortar casinos. Although Las Vegas has always been a popular destination on Super Bowl weekend, regardless of where the game was being played.
That being said, I do believe that there may be some challenges around the lack of pure mobile betting in Nevada. Across the Silver State, players need to create their betting accounts in-person; so, I wonder if sportsbooks will be able to handle the increased volume of bets on gameday in a manner that doesn’t resolve in massive lines.
Troy Paul: Absolutely! Super Bowl LVIII certainly has the potential to be the year where we see a record number of bets placed.
Jamie Shea: Every year is a year for record bets. Since the repeal of PASPA six years ago, the understanding and popularity of sports betting have steadily grown. I believe this trend will continue, and Nevada, in particular, might see a record year for sportsbooks. Station Casinos, local to Nevada, will likely see a record number of sports bets placed. Nationally, with the sports betting industry’s substantial growth, massive numbers of bets are expected through major operators. Those not traveling to the game as well as those getting their bets in, in their home state before traveling, will be a big number indeed. The promotions have been fantastic, further fueling the growth of sports betting. The popularity of the Super Bowl is influenced by various factors like team matchups, halftime show performers, and fan bases. The industry’s continued innovation, including popularizing prop bets and live betting, will keep the Super Bowl engaging.
And how about casinos, are they going to miss out on the action? or is there opportunity for cross-selling casino to sports bettors, and vice versa?
Allan Petrilli: The land-based venues are obviously going to benefit from the increased footfall that weekend. But I don’t believe that there is a significant opportunity around pure casino acquisition during the Super Bowl.
That being said, acquiring new players during Super Bowl weekend is relatively “cheap” for online betting and gaming companies, especially given the organic interest around the game and the widening of relevant audiences. But generally speaking, this type of traffic tends to be lower quality and, quite often, churns quite quickly.
That isn’t to say that there is absolutely no opportunity for casino acquisition, however. For brands with multiple verticals, there is a great opportunity to potentially acquire casinos for a low price and, at a later date, cross-sell other products. This strategy is much easier said than done; if brands want to do this effectively, they need to be creative and timely in their offering.
Troy Paul: There are opportunities for casinos, but only those situated in Las Vegas. Over Super Bowl weekend, players flock to the Mecca of sports betting that is Las Vegas for a bit of entertainment. And many big gamblers would much rather spend their money on wagering in the casinos than on an expensive ticket for just one day! So there is no doubt that sports fans in the city will also have a flutter on casino games too.
Jamie Shea: Regarding casinos, I don’t think they will miss out on the action. Everyone coming to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl will likely stay at a casino property, exposing sports bettors to casino games. The excitement will be palpable. Who doesn’t want to play craps alongside excited fans of their team or of the NFL, in general? The sports bars, slots, table games and restaurants will be filled to the hilt with enthusiastic fans.
What more can, or should, the gambling industry be doing to capitalise on the hype surrounding major sporting events such as the Super Bowl?
Allan Petrilli: For me, it always comes down to personalisation. Acquiring new users and getting bets placed for the Super Bowl is sometimes seen as being “easy”, but converting those users into long-term, loyal customers is quite the opposite. It is very difficult. This is then made that bit harder because those newly acquired customers are then looped into the same CRM and loyalty schemes as the more traditional bettors, but you need to approach these players very differently.
One way to keep these players engaged is by offering interesting, unique markets for future bets – whether that’s politics or even entertainment. This is really important. What you also need to ensure is that you educate these users and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel safe and not alienated. This is why personalisation is so important.
Troy Paul: Firstly, the gambling industry should make sure that they are promoting the products that their audiences want to see – namely prop bets and parlays. If you give players what they want, then they will certainly be happy.
Secondly, sportsbooks should offer Bonus Boost bets for the markets that they have on offer; if you do that, players will certainly show up.
And thirdly, this is more specific to the casinos, but have lots of TVs and places to sit. This might sound like a simple idea, but it will be very effective – players want to be comfortable when having a bet. They might even pay a fee for the luxury of having a comfortable seat. But just make sure you don’t make that fee egregiously high!
Jamie Shea: The industry is already maximizing the Super Bowl hype through promotions and marketing. Operators like BetMGM and Caesars should ensure easy account registration on their properties. While promotions and advertising are crucial, the long-term success hinges on offering a superior product.
The Super Bowl presents an opportunity to attract new customers, making it essential for sportsbooks to provide user-friendly and appealing platforms. Additionally, the industry must prioritize responsible gambling, ensuring sports betting remains a safe and sustainable form of entertainment.
And finally, if you had to make a prediction on who will win the game, who would you guess?
Allan Petrilli: I think that this might be the year for the Chiefs.
Troy Paul: Taylor Swift versus Patrick Mahomes … now that’s too tough to call!
Jamie Shea: Regarding predictions for the game winner, I’m caught up in the Taylor Swift hype. Her involvement brings fresh eyes to the NFL, introducing the sport to a new demographic, which is fantastic for sports engagement. In this sense, Taylor Swift has already won the Super Bowl in my eyes!
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