Although much of the industry’s focus is on North America at the moment, recent developments in South America mean the southern continent of the Americas is turning just as many heads.
With an enormous population of more than 600 million and a strong sporting culture, Latin America is an enticing prospect for sports betting operators looking to enter new markets.
Interest in the region has increased significantly since Brazil’s government began the process of developing regulations for sports betting last year. The recent introduction of online gambling legislation in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina is also being viewed as encouraging by many.
“Latin America is a huge market with great potential,” says .
But this part of the world is not without its challenges. While countries such as Brazil and Argentina are well known for their love of football and there’s a strong tradition of gambling among their populations, the lack of regulation has held back many online operators.
Difficulty accessing financial services and appropriate payment methods has proven another challenge, particularly as many countries in the region have low levels of financial inclusion.
The Colombian blueprint
However, the development of the online market in Colombia is proving the region has real potential. Since regulating the market in 2016, the country has attracted 17 licensees and its regulatory system is being viewed by many as a blueprint for other Latin American countries.
Altenar has been active in the Colombian market since day one, having launched a fully managed sports betting solution for the country’s first licensed sportsbook, Wplay. The operator remains the market leader in Colombia, with about 50% of the market.
Stranomitis says Wplay’s success is largely due to the focus on localisation. “While other providers tried to introduce European methods into Colombia, Altenar listened to local voices and designed a sportsbook for Wplay.”
He says operators must not only differentiate their offerings in Latin America from the products they provide in other regions, but they must also pay attention to differences within the region itself.
While Altenar is also active in Mexico via its partnership with Playdoit, Stranomitis says developing products suitable for the two markets wasn’t simply a matter of looking at what worked in one and transferring it to the other.
“Despite some people’s belief, Colombia is a completely different market from Mexico and this is the big lesson Altenar has learned when it comes to Latin America.
“This is something successful operators in any Latin American country must bear in mind as they try to enter others.”
But while the differences between countries pose challenges, they are certainly not insurmountable, says Stranomitis. Indeed, Altenar is already preparing to expand its footprint further across the region.
“At the moment we are evaluating Peru and Argentina, as possibly those are the countries where operators may soon be able to secure an appropriate licence. Then obviously there is the ‘big bet’ of Brazil, which is a hugely promising country although we are still waiting for the government to deliver the new law.
“Last but not least, we are keeping an eye on the Caribbean islands, as we think there could be value there that not many can see at the moment.”