New report into LATAM’s US$5BN betting industry shows massive growth potential and diversity across nations

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* Market study by Sherlock Communications of Latin America’s six main economies finds Brazilians and Peruvians bet more than anyone else

* Understanding the legislation and landscapes of each individual country is key to bookmakers successfully operating in the region

* Free bets will attract new customers regardless of the market, but selecting brand ambassadors is not so simple as different countries prefer different profiles

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Latin American gambling industry undergoing widespread changes as betting companies migrate online and casinos are forced to close their doors. Now, a new market report into the perspectives and betting practices of the region’s population sheds new light on the present and future growth of an industry already estimated to be worth close to US$5 billion in LATAM.

Published by Sherlock Communications, A Big Bet: The Latin American Betting Market on the Rise studies the region’s six main economies — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru — and includes a survey of more than 3,000 residents carried out in partnership with Toluna.

While one in four respondents said they have never placed a bet, close to 39 percent of respondents have done so “a few times” and in Brazil and Peru, 18 percent said they bet more than once a week. The report makes clear each country must be analysed within its own context: For example, Brazilians gamble more than any other nationality yet some 20 percent of them — twice as many as Chile and four times as many as Mexico — believe gambling should be illegal in their country.

“Our report shows the need – and indeed desire – for clear and concise regulations,” said Patrick O’Neill, managing partner of Sherlock Communications. “Countries where betting is unregulated is less attractive to international companies as well as more dangerous for customers”.

The report found that when it comes to selecting an ambassador to help attract potential customers, the criteria varies from market to market. A professional player is preferred in Colombia and Brazil, while respondents in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Peru believe a TV host would better boost the profile of the bookmaker. More than one in five of all respondents believe a footballer is an effective ambassador, yet even then there are differences as Colombians, for instance, said success is more likely when using a local hero whereas in Peru an international star is preferred.

Latin Americans, however, are in agreement when it comes to what would help make them decide which betting company to use. Some 62 percent of all respondents cited free bets and special offers as the main reason to choose a bookmaker. Only in Colombia was a simple payment system prioritised (60%) over enticing promotions (58%). An easily navigable, mobile-friendly website is another important criteria, as is local language support.

When it comes to casinos, Brazil is the only country among those surveyed where physical establishments are not allowed, although approval and legislation is pending. Brazilian respondents believe, if passed, it could help the economy grow (30%), attract more tourists and money (43%), and generate jobs (40%). There are, however, concerns too: Close to 30% of all those surveyed in the region believe a casino can increase addiction to gambling and even drinking. In Brazil, 23 percent of respondents also believe it could lead to an increase in money laundering.

“The Brazilian government has before it the opportunity to recognize gambling as an economic activity, like 80% of the countries that make up the UN. We argue that the country has the potential for a diversified package of games, in particular we believe in the primary insertion of the urban casinos model that allows capillarity and widespread investments in the various municipalities with a tourist vocation that are spread across the country, representing opportunities for investors in Brazil of the world “, said Olavo Sales da Silveira, Chairman of the Board of ABRABINCS – Brazilian Association of Bingo, Casinos and Similars.

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