Rob Verdia, Head of Products at Nexiux Solutions, says LatAm offers huge potential, but localisation will be key to delivering engaging player experiences in each market
Latin America has emerged as a key market for online gambling operators looking to expand their geographical reach. It is a sizeable region that offers just as much potential as North America but with much lower barriers to entry.
Key markets such as Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Mexico have embraced regulation and offer a viable environment into which operators can launch their brands and deliver compelling player experiences while still ensuring players are protected.
This is not always the case in North America, where some sportsbook operators have already withdrawn their brands from the US states that have failed to deliver the ROI they were expecting.
But it is important for operators to understand that this is a market where localisation is the difference between success and failure. LatAm should not be seen as one jurisdiction, but rather as multiple markets with each requiring its own approach and proposition.
This is because each country is different. From regulation to smartphone prevalence to internet availability, preferred sport and popular payment methods, operators must localise across these areas and more if they are to engage consumers and meet their expectations.
Operators must also be mindful of the nascent nature of these markets. Regulations and requirements can change at a moment’s notice, and they must be able to adapt instantly if they are to remain compliant.
This throws up plenty of challenges for operators. Some are standard to when operating in multiple markets, but others are unique to Latin America – in particular, payments and the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as a preferred payment option among players.
Let’s take a look at some of the main challenges operators face when setting their sights on markets across the region.
Changing regulatory requirements
New and emerging markets often launch with a regulatory framework that is then tweaked and tightened once operators go live. For those that are first to market, this can mean they are aiming for a moving goalpost in the early days when it comes to ensuring compliance.
It’s also common for tax requirements to be altered as markets mature; this is something we have seen in African jurisdictions which can impact the viability of the market.
This is why operators need to ensure their brands are powered by agile, flexible platforms that allow them to jump in and make the changes they need to meet evolving requirements, often with very little notice.
Internet bandwidth and smartphone penetration
In emerging markets, it is often the case that internet bandwidth is low, data costs for consumers are high and the prevalence of smartphones moderate at best. This means that operators cannot offer the same “bells and whistles” experience as they do in more established markets.
This can mean stripping back the user interface and removing features and functionality such as streaming so that players can place wagers and spin the reels without that core experience being impacted by glitches, slow loads or the book or casino simply crashing.
Again, this requires a platform that offers high levels of flexibility and customisation.
Different player preferences
It goes without saying that player preferences differ from market to market. This is even the case in established regions such as Europe where the sports and games preferred by players in, say, the UK, are entirely different to those in, say, the Netherlands.
Latin America is just the same. Players in Mexico will be drawn to different sports and slots than those in Argentina. Understanding these player preferences is therefore vital, but so too is being able to localise markets and odds, and the providers/games made available to players.
Localise payments and digital currencies
When it comes to localisation, payments are one of the most important areas for operators to get right. If players can’t deposit via the methods they want to, they are highly likely to drop off and switch to a rival brand that does.
In Latin America and other emerging regions, this includes being able to deposit and withdraw using cryptocurrencies. This trend is not so strong in more established markets, but we are seeing a lot of players in LatAm want to use digital currencies for online gambling activity.
To be able to facilitate these payments, operators must ensure their platform can easily integrate new methods into the cashier.
Having considered the key challenges operators face, it’s clear that the platform they use to make moves in Latin American markets will ultimately be key to their success.
At Nexiux Solutions, we believe that modular, dynamic platforms and technologies must be used as the foundation for operators making a play in markets such as Latin America, North America, Africa and Europe.
This allows operators to integrate best-in-class third-party providers that specialise in delivering features, functionality, data, games, payments, etc for specific markets. This in turn allows them to provide a truly localised player experience.
Such is the opportunity presented by the LatAm region, operators must get their platform and tech stack right from the get-go. Dynamic and modular really is the only way forward and will ultimately prove to be the key operators need to unlock each market.