ISSUE 23 • OCTOBER 2022 WORLD CUP MORE THAN LANGUAGE
Jefebet spotlights Puerto Rico
Who's tipped for glory?
Codere on inernational success
Fernanda Sainz CALIENTE INTERACTIVE
LEADING THE CROWD
Get clever about advertising
Becoming a leading force in Mexico
TAKING YOUR PROJECT
FROM VISION TO FRUITION
• Fernanda Sainz: Caliente is dominating the Mexican market
12-35 Sports Betting
•B etsson: could the World Cup spearhead new regulations across LatAm? • Betcris shows us the world of sports sponsorships • The Innovation Group: tracking the path to regulation • 60 seconds with... Lahcene Merzoug and Eugenie Golovina • Codere on the secrets to international success • LexisNexis Risk Solutions: smoothing the path to LatAm’s land of opportunity • More than speaking Spanish: Jefebet tailors betting to the Latino community
• Lotteries in Latin America: the three As • Breaking down Costa Rica’s new online lottery
46-67 A Qatar World Cup Special
•S portingtech: preparing LatAm’s sportsbooks for World Cup madness • A Bookies’ corner: examining Winter World Cup betting trends • SBC Picks: who will lift the FIFA World Cup trophy? • Assessing the growing interest in women’s sports • Don’t follow, lead: taking a clever approach to advertising • Do sports and slots go hand in hand?
•R ush Street Interactive’s Mattias Stetz on Colombian and Mexican successes • Uruguay: embracing online gambling
• Is cash still king? Paysafe discusses • OKTO: a frictionless journey can help drive LatAm growth
The SBC Leaders Magazine is brought to you by SBC - Sports Betting Community: EDITORIAL TEAM: Erin Gallagher, Andrew McCarron, Craig Davies, Ted Menmuir, Joe Streeter, Chris Murphy, James Ross, Lucia Mouriño, Conor Porter, Charlie Horner, Jessie Sale, Fernando Noodt Molins, Callum Williams, Viktor Kayed, Martyn Elliott, Nick Ware, Lucia Gando, Jessica Welman, Ted Orme-Claye, Danny Lee SALES TEAM: Rasmus Sojmark, Alyona Gromova, Conall McCabe, Jan Kowalczyk, Richard Deacon, Bob McFarland, Craig Brown, Juan Ospina DESIGNED & DELIVERED BY Better Mags (bettermags.co.uk) All material is strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of Sports Betting Community Ltd. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, Sports Betting Community Ltd cannot be held responsible for any errors it may contain. Sports Betting Community Ltd cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of any material, solicited or unsolicited. The views in the publication are not necessarily the views of Sports Betting Community Ltd or those of the advertisers. Produced and published by Sports Betting Community Ltd REGISTERED ADDRESS: SBC, Riverbank House, 1 Putney Bridge Approach, London, SW6 3JD TEL.: +44 (0) 161 367 1250 EMAIL: email@example.com WEB: www.sbcgaming.com
INTRO Erin Gallagher
SBC Leaders Editor
elcome to Issue 23 of SBC Leaders Magazine! This brings us to the final edition of SBC Leaders Magazine for 2022, and what a jam-packed year it’s been! But with a few more months remaining, and the World Cup still to take place, there is no sign of the betting and gaming industry slowing down. Over at SBC HQ, Miami is next on the travel list as we prepare for SBC Summit Latinoamérica. So with that in mind, we wanted to add a slight LatAm twist to this magazine. In our lead interview, Caliente Interactive’s Fernanda Sainz shines a spotlight on the Mexican market as she discusses THERE IS NO SIGN the symbiotic relationship OF THE INDUSTRY between sports and SLOWING DOWN betting. Football also takes a leading role as the Chief Marketing Officer discusses the brand’s sponsorship of numerous Liga MX teams. For Betcris, sponsorship is also a major component of their marketing strategy as Fernando Garita prepares for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and their partnership with both the Mexican and Ecuadorian teams. Speaking of the World Cup, we decided to dedicate a full section to this year’s tournament - analysing the betting trends, bookies’ predictions as well as the cross-selling opportunities between slots and football.
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The SBC team even got in on the action as we made our predictions for who is tipped for World Cup glory. Over in Colombia, Rush Street Interactive’s Mattias Stetz and Richard Schwartz are making moves as they discuss the market’s recent developments and plans moving forward. Both executives are confident that this South American market will play an important role in the company’s Latin American journey going forward. Our gaming section also highlights the Uruguay market as one to watch as the country prepares, or at least mulls over, new regulations which would pave the way for a legalised online gambling industry. Juan Ignacio Juanena explains why he believes online gambling is almost a ”crucial commercial need” for physical operators in the country to modernise the entertainment offering. Could we see other countries taking a similar approach? Rounding up Issue 23, Paysafe questions whether cash is still king, asking if there are other payment methods that could vye for the crown in the region - especially in an age when digital transactions are becoming ever more popular. As you can see, there is plenty to sink your teeth into. So on behalf of the SBC Editorial team, I hope you enjoy this edition of the magazine - and hopefully we will see you over in Miami!
A leading force
FERNANDA SAINZ: INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE AND RESILIENCE TO DOMINATE THE MEXICAN MARKET CALIENTE INTERACTIVE’S CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
shines a spotlight on the growing opportunities across Mexico and the symbiotic relationship between sports and betting BY LUCÍA MOURIÑO
ith a population of 129 million inhabitants, the strongest economy in Latin America and the third largest on a continental level, Mexico represents an unparalleled opportunity if the engagement of sports fans is also considered. Although it would be easy to assume that in such a large country the distribution of the gaming market would be shared among several companies, experience has shown that there is no country in which domination is as clear as in the case of Mexico and Caliente. Not only does the company dominate the local gambling market, but it also reigns supreme in the sponsorship space, in a league considered the second most valuable on a continent level, only behind Brazil’s Brasileirao. Out of 18 Liga MX teams, 14 feature the gambling giant’s brand on their jerseys. It is no mere coincidence that Caliente has hit this incomparable milestone: it’s the result of a carefully
OUT OF 18 LIGA MX TEAMS, 14 FEATURE THE GAMBLING GIANT’S BRAND ON THEIR JERSEYS
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planned and defined roadmap of a marketing team looking to expand and sustain a brand’s growth.
Intelligence, courage, resilience Fernanda Sainz, Caliente Interactive’s Chief Marketing Officer, has been instrumental in establishing the company as one of the leaders in the continent. She joined in 2014 as a consultant, and a year later she was formally invited to be part of the company to launch operations in Mexico.
Intelligence, courage and resilience are the three words that describe Caliente’s journey in the industry in recent years, according to Sainz. With only six people to launch this business, Caliente now has over 200 employees. “I chose ‘intelligence’ because we had to be very strategic in understanding when, how and with whom we worked.. From creating alliances with providers, media, payment methods, the government, football teams…A lot of research was done before launching,” she explained. In regards to “courage”, Sainz noted that Caliente was the first company to bet on building an online betting market, even when the feedback strongly suggested that “Mexico wasn’t ready”. As for “resiliency”, she said: “We had to be patient and resist competition
WE HAD TO BE PATIENT AND RESIST COMPETITION FROM INTERNATIONAL BRANDS THAT WEREN'T REGULATED AND DIDN'T PLAY BY THE SAME RULES
A leading force
from international brands that weren't regulated and didn't play by the same rules. We educate the media and football teams about the industry, demystifying myths and taboos that initially closed their doors on us.” To establish and stay current in the industry, it was necessary for Caliente to completely understand the local market and get into the consumer’s DNA. “Let’s not forget that before Caliente, other international online gaming companies, mostly Europeans, entered Mexico, and wanted to replicate what they were doing on their continent in this country and it didn’t work. You can have an international brand and a good platform, but if you don’t understand your market perfectly, you won’t be able to deliver ad hoc products,” she said. Is Caliente an example for other companies that aspire to be a powerhouse in Latin America? For Fernanda Sainz, it definitely is, as they were somewhat pioneers in Mexico and really opened up the local online betting market, which forced them to learn many lessons along the way. “In terms of time and resources, and to educate the market about online betting, being leaders was also costly for us,” she commented, noting that Caliente has also learnt from other companies in the region, such as those based in Colombia. “We’re still in a very young market, constantly learning about other markets, and exchanging experiences,” she assured. In jurisdictions where a lot of progress has been made in such a short time, like some in Latin America, Sainz believes that in order to acquire
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WHAT WORKS IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPED MARKETS CAN EASILY FAIL IN LATIN AMERICA market share, the market needs to be well regulated. Additionally, companies must be well established in the country, knowing not only the regulation but also the preferences and routines from local players. “This doesn’t just apply to Latin America, it’s the same in every country. For example, American sports are important in Mexico, but for Colombia they’re less relevant.”
Competitiveness in Latin America When it comes to roots, it’s very difficult to explain the Latino feeling to anyone who is not from the region. Likes, preferences, actions, feelings, interpretations. All these things are different when the Latin American public is involved. What works in international developed markets can easily fail in Latin America, while what often has no relevance in continents such as Europe or Asia, and even in Anglo-America, can lead to resounding success in this region. In Spain, the Royal Decree introduced restrictions for the gambling industry, prohibiting sponsorships between bookmakers and football clubs. In the UK, there is mounting pressure to part ways with an industry that is very much a part of domestic football. However, all the clubs in those countries have survived or will survive the consequences of losing this revenue source.
Going back to explaining Latin American culture, local intricacies lead to these characteristics to be completely involved in the rise and fall of different businesses. When it comes to sponsorships, having a gaming or betting brand on a jersey validates both the industry and the company itself. Quite often, sporting or organisational success depends on how much these companies invest in sport. It’s no coincidence that Liga MX is one of the most powerful sporting bodies in America, nor is it a coincidence that it has some of the most relevant players in the world. In regards to positioning itself in a country like Mexico, where sport and bookmakers are intertwined, Caliente said it’s been essential to be the main sponsor of most of the first division teams to become the leading brand in the local betting market. “For us, the relationship with football is essential, because we set that in our strategy from the beginning. For Caliente, the DNA of the brand is football. We want to be the leading football brand in Mexico, and that relies a lot on the strategy of each company,” Sainz said. However, she warned that “constantly sponsoring teams is not a golden rule, as it strongly depends on your marketing strategy”. On competitiveness, Sainz shared that “sponsorships are a strong longterm investment, where you do not see an immediate ROI”, so “you really have to be careful in selecting them if it doesn’t follow a mix strategy of marketing that makes sense, since it is not about arriving [to the market] and sponsoring just for the sake of it and
CONSTANTLY SPONSORING TEAMS IS NOT A GOLDEN RULE, AS IT STRONGLY DEPENDS ON YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
A leading force
for competing [with other brands].” But how do these agreements contribute to promoting clubs at a local and regional level? And to the women’s Liga MX Femenil? “Significantly. We’re currently the main sponsor in Mexican football and we contribute to this sport because we inject capital that leads to better finances for the clubs, better contracts and, therefore, a better show,” said Sainz.
To ensure the success of the relationship between betting and sports, it is essential to have a correct responsible gaming framework something that Caliente is very clear about and an area where it is highly committed. “Caliente.mx wants its players to engage in responsible gaming. We advise all of our players not to play unless they know the facts. Being responsible means knowing how and
CALIENTE.MX WANTS ITS PLAYERS TO ENGAGE IN RESPONSIBLE GAMING. WE ADVISE ALL OF OUR PLAYERS NOT TO PLAY UNLESS THEY KNOW THE FACTS “In regards to the women’s league, we’re the first sponsor that separates a budget and financially supports the Liga MX Femenil. This translates to better salaries and to the overall growth of the league, which has improved significantly.” Caliente also provides clubs with stats and content: “Betting and sports have a perfect symbiotic relationship: there are international studies that show that when data, statistics, and of course odds and bets are involved, there is greater engagement from the fan, and therefore more interactions, more interest and more time spent in this activity.”
10 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
when to play. We have trained staff ready to detect issues or problem gambling, and to provide options such as questionnaires, tips and self-exclusion tools,” she said. When asked about the approach that Latin America is taking on this segment, Sainz said that she considers it’s the right one: “There are more and more countries that are regulating online betting activity, and regulation means that all the actors involved comply with fair and responsible gaming.”
Looking towards the World Cup Looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup, Mexico has been selected with Canada
and the US as a host nation for the 2026 edition. Although it remains to be seen how the Canadian industry will develop and the heights that the US markets could reach, the reality is that Mexico continues to be the most established country in terms of sponsorships, meaning that there is a possibility that it will be the one that will benefit the most in the coming years, compared to the other two countries. “Undoubtedly, we’re a football country. We will experience a boom, both because we have local games, and because the schedule facilitates betting. We’re sure that we’ll take advantage of it, I have no doubts.” This feeling of confidence around the local gambling industry wasn’t echoed in the sports industry, since when Sainz was asked about her predictions for the World Cup winner and the countries that will reach the final rounds, she decided to exclude Mexico. “I think that Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France and Germany will be in the final rounds. And this time I feel that France will be the winner, although I would like Argentina to win the World Cup for Latin America and because of Messi.” •
SOLUCIÓN DE APUESTAS DEPORTIVAS COMPLETA, ALIMENTADA POR PROVEEDORES DE DATA DE PRIMER NIVEL
Regulation is coming
THE WORLD CUP IS A POINT OF INTEREST FOR THE REGULATION TO START WORKING IN LATAM BETSSON'S ANDREA ROSSI
discusses the reasons why the upcoming World Cup can kickstart regulatory changes across Latin America
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BY LUCÍA GANDO
he unprecedented version of the FIFA World Cup that will take place in Qatar at the end of November brings about a paradigm shift for all the parties involved in the most relevant sporting event of the year. As explained by Andrea Rossi,
Commercial Director for South America and Spain at Betsson Group, Latin America is “the most passionate region when it comes to football”, therefore the expectations for the gaming industry are higher than ever for the region. This is especially relevant for countries like Argentina and Peru, where this will be their first time
experiencing a World Cup with a regulated market. There is also the possibility that the sleeping giant Brazil will wake in the months leading to the tournament.. They would follow the example of Colombia, which was the first LatAm country doing so before the 2018 World Cup and is now considered one of the most advanced markets in Latin America when it comes to regulation of igaming. Following its M&A strategy in the emerging markets of Latin America, Betsson has achieved an established position by acquiring InkaBet, Colbet and Suaposta. The company is "currently focusing on Brazil and Chile,” as Rossi noted and said that they’re “now also live in the second biggest gaming market in Latin America, Mexico.”
Furthermore, the company will work with regional ambassadors to promote fair, transparent and responsible gambling, prioritising entertainment during the World Cup and beyond. “Many people will enter our platform during that time, including players who are betting for the first time. We have all our attention on the event and we have a concrete plan for the months before, during and after the World Cup,” Rossi said. “This year, the event will take place right before a holiday period in Latin America, so we will have a different seasonality in LatAm and it will allow us to get ready for February, when the
the regulations have moved forward to address sports betting in the countries passionate about football. “The World Cup is a point of interest for the regulation to start working in Latin America. Many regulators considered it as a point of reference to have an updated and working legislation,” Rossi commented, highlighting the unique opportunity that it represents. With 19 operating licences, sponsorships deals with the most competitive leagues, national teams and international sports teams and the recognition from players in more than 20 regulated markets around the
BETSSON CELEBRATES THIS WORLD CUP YEAR BY HIGHLIGHTING THE CULTURAL AFFINITY THAT IT HAS FOR THE LOCAL FANS
world, Betsson is an emblematic brand for the industry and its focus is now on “achieving additional opportunities as we continue to establish the Betsson Group as one of most competitive sports betting and online casino operator in Latin America.” The event in Qatar will be key to achieving that, as Rossi believes that recreational players will learn more about the options available for them in terms of online betting as they look for more entertainment options related to the World Cup. This is why it is vital to have a solid platform that can support the heightened demand expected in the different countries across the region and with an offer that guarantees interest before, during and even after the event. “We are going to be very present and increase our offering to give
Enthusiasm and desire Given its experience in the region, which began in Peru in 2008 and then continued with regional expansion and sponsorship agreements - the Chilean National Team, the Peruvian League 1 and the Copa America tournaments to name a few - Betsson will celebrate this World Cup year by highlighting the cultural affinity that it has for the local fans. Rossi pointed out that “we are the first ones to be passionate about sports,” highlighting the group’s “enthusiasm and desire” to plan campaigns, platform support, the necessary technology or other elements that promise a unique experience for the player. This is considering the powerful engagement that is expected during the World Cup, with millions of fans around the world looking for a gaming platform where they can place their bets securely. As revealed by Rossi, the company has a strong focus on new platform features related to the World Cup, such as an event exclusive section, which allows each user to build a specific bet whilst also being able to change their favourite options. The company is also planning a unique offer of the Betsson Million, a $1m prize in US dollars, just for the World Cup. However, this isn’t limited to sports: as a multi-product brand, Betsson is betting on different verticals, meaning that the entertainment will also focus on online casino with new launches and special offers.
local leagues and events will kick off. This is different from what happens when the World Cup takes place in June or July, when there’s continuity in the sport calendar with local leagues, Champions League, the Libertadores and the European Championships running.” The Latin American football teams will be, without a doubt and as is traditionally the case, the favourite candidates to win this tournament, which is why Betsson celebrates that
Regulation is coming
new and traditional players a reason to participate. Thus, they can stay in the game even if their own team isn’t there,” he said. He shared that it is also important to work with local ambassadors, who are renowned athletes from their own countries. “We will connect with players through engaging news, content and information, which will expand the reach to the most recreational players. The World Cup is the World Cup - a unique entertainment event that brings passion to every corner of the planet,” he said.
Betsson's LatAm momentum For Rossi, trust in the brand is the first thing the Latin American player looks for, given the local culture and the small amount of experience compared to more mature markets. For this reason, not only was classic television marketing essential for Betsson, but so was the agreements with CONMEBOL and other sports authorities, which has given the company the opportunity to be part of and support the development of sports and local talents. The company was able to access
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exclusive content that they offer to all sports fans connected to their media platforms. “We want to be considered one of the best brands when it comes to engagement, and this can be achieved by providing a strong 3600 entertainment experience to everyone who likes to have fun. We work hard to produce good content to deliver it to sports fans,” he explained.
THE WORLD CUP IS THE WORLD CUP - A UNIQUE ENTERTAINMENT EVENT THAT BRINGS PASSION TO EVERY CORNER OF THE PLANET “What is happening in Latin America when it comes to sports betting and online casinos is incredibly exciting, and Betsson Group is proud to be part of the development of what we consider to be one of the most dynamic regions in the world,” the Commercial Director said. With a very strong position in the region, thanks to the addition of local talent with great experience, Betsson
sees itself operating in all viable jurisdictions. That is why it has a scalable strategy supported by the Latin American hub that they have inaugurated in Bogotá, Colombia. The operator predicted that thanks to the World Cup and the boost given by recent regulations, such as in Argentina, more Latin American markets will implement their legislation, which will bring about a consolidation of the industry throughout the continent. In this regard, Betsson will reinforce its M&A strategy, one that will continue to be a key area of its expansion, along with its focus to keep up with the rapid pace of growth that it is experiencing in all the markets in which it already operates in the region. “The regulation will bring more opportunities for Betsson Group to do this. And make no mistake about it, regulation is coming to Latin America. We are 100% committed to the region and we plan to become one of the main players there,” Rossi concluded, recalling that Latin America has become the second most important market for the company. •
A World Cup Party
BETCRIS: THE WORLD BEHIND SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS ON NOVEMBER 20,
the world will tune in to the opening match of the most important sporting event on the planet. Operators are preparing to face a completely different and unique month for their operations. Betcris’ Fernando Garita dives into all things sponsorships BY FERNANDO NOODT MOLINS
he Latin American sports betting industry has continued to experience accelerated growth over the last few years. After the boost it has received due to an increase in the adoption of the digital world and automatic processes, it will experience its first World Cup in just a matter of days. Ahead of the tournament hosted by FIFA, Fernando Garita, Head of Business Development at Betcris, analysed the details of what he considers "the largest massive event in the postpandemic era" and projected record figures for the betting industry, especially considering "the large number of players who started playing online" in recent times. The operator is no stranger to major sporting events after being a sponsor of the Super Bowl for two consecutive years, among other things. That’s why they are preparing to increase their exposure before and during the biggest sporting competition in the world, predominantly through their commercial agreements with the Mexican and Ecuadorian national
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teams, which are among the 32 competitors that will arrive in Qatar in late November. “We are aiming to get a lot of projection and make the most of these sponsorships with approaches at the operational and commercial level, preparing events for our clients in
general,” he explained. However, he announced that there will be specific activations for the two forementioned teams that they sponsor and some for the rest that "will be part of the World Cup party." He also spoke about those countries whose teams did not qualify for Qatar
and the impact that their absence might have for the local players. He explained that, usually, they choose to support one of the 32 teams as if it were their own, since most of them are already supporters of one or more players who will play in the competition. Garita said that, most of the time, the number of new clients and the volume of play increase considerably during a World Cup. “Usually we see patterns of gaming from a much larger female population and we expect that to be the case this year,” he also said about changing trends for this specific event. Still, the Head of Business Development warned about one of the operator's concerns for Qatar 2022: the timetable for the matches in the World Cup. Due to the time difference, many of the games will be played at inconvenient hours in some of the company's main markets. Nonetheless, he still said that "the World Cup is the World Cup" and many people take the time to watch the
competition and even "even ask for their days off" to enjoy an event that, for a few days, will unite the world.
Betcris stays close to sports Over the last few years, Betcris has remained very close to sports, beyond their obvious relationship as a sports betting operator. The company has entered into numerous sponsorship deals with clubs, leagues and national teams in several sports. Still, achieving such deals is not an easy job and Garita explains that the main challenge is to coordinate and negotiate the conditions of each
WE ARE AIMING TO GET A LOT OF PROJECTION AND MAKE THE MOST OF THESE SPONSORSHIPS WITH APPROACHES AT THE OPERATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL LEVEL
agreement: "Most times it starts with a standard proposal with the clubs or leagues and that is where the challenge arises as we try to find that the exposure conditions are defined in favour of the betting product and the online vertical, which is where we will get the greatest benefit out of the sponsorship,” he detailed and explained that agreements tend to differ between countries and clubs. Also, he pointed out that "there is a world behind sponsorship deals”, in which many times intermediaries show up to work things out just fine, while some promise a lot from the beginning and, at the moment of signing the contract, the conditions end up changing. However, Garita celebrated that the market is purging to leave only the most recommended and those that best exercise their role as a link between the sponsor and sponsored parties. Either way, once all difficulties are left behind and sponsorships are
A World Cup Party
finally signed, Betcris highlighted the advantages of these massive platforms for brand exposure, achieved thanks to its dedicated teams. Some crews look for potential agreements, and others "accompany and take advantage of them". “For Betcris, approaching the fans of those leagues or teams as a brand means putting ourselves in their shoes and living each game as their fans,” Garita commented. He even pointed out that the company's own employees have become fans of teams with which the company closed an agreement. “On a personal level, every time I see the company's brand in an event or team I am very touched because I know the effort that the Betcris internal teams such as legal, commercial, financial, support and design make to be there after a great job. coordination and preparation," he said.
A changing landscape Betcris has expanded significantly in Latin America in the last few years, so it is no stranger to the major changes that the regulatory landscape has experienced recently in the region: the City of Buenos Aires, the province and
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other Argentine territories regulated their online markets, Peru established clear regulations of its own a few weeks ago, Colombia continues to be a beacon for the South American betting and igaming segments and other countries such as Brazil, Chile and Uruguay are analysing their own versions of legislation to do so as well.
APPROACHING THE FANS OF THOSE LEAGUES OR TEAMS AS A BRAND MEANS PUTTING OURSELVES IN THEIR SHOES AND LIVING EACH GAME AS THEIR FANS “The development of a scenario with established laws and procedural manuals is the best thing that could happen both to consumers and operators,” explained Garita, adding that it generates legal certainty for investors. In addition, he shared that the best thing for the industry is a balanced regulation, with regulators open to idea exchanges between the Government and the private sector. Although he acknowledged that it is not an easy job, he assured that at
Betcris they hope that the regulatory framework in the region will be established that way and that the current government administrations "are doing things right." He also celebrated the possibility of new progress in the legislative front for the industry to properly arrive in more countries in order to continue developing safely, while generating benefits for the local economy at the same time through the creation of jobs and financial contributions to health and safety — among other segments — as it continues to happen in Colombia. The progress with gaming legislation will favour the expansion of Betcris, which has grown significantly in recent months. In addition to launching their affiliate site betcrisaffiliados.com, they have expanded to new countries and are working to expand collection and payment networks in order to further facilitate the gaming experience for their customers. So, while they have the World Cup on the horizon for what’s left of 2022, they will also continue to work on various projects to ensure they provide the best product and service in every different sport they cover, beyond football. •
TRACKING THE PATH TO REGULATION IN LATAM’S TOP FIVE MARKETS BIG EXPECTATIONS
for a big new betting and gaming market will inevitably lead to even bigger moves on the regulatory front, especially in the case of Latin America. Here we gain some indispensable insights into how legislation will shape up in the top five markets from Mike Vanaskie, Senior Vice President, Development & Economic Analysis at The Innovation Group BY MIKE VANASKIE
s the world continues to re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, global economies face a new set of challenges. Rampant inflation, increasing government deficits and natural disasters are just some of the issues with which many nations, including several Latin American countries, now are grappling. In response, governments throughout Latin America have been searching for ways to diversify and grow their economies, and fund public initiatives. At the same time, gambling in all its forms continues to grow and gain acceptance in the western world, leading many pundits to share the belief that the legalisation of gambling in most Western markets is not a matter of if, but when. Whether the considerable amount of movement around Latin American gaming-related legislation is in response to current economic challenges or an embrace of the
inevitable, over the past 12 to 18 months there have been numerous significant legislative initiatives across the region. This article will detail the top five markets with the most meaningful Latin American regulatory changes and provide a brief overview of other “honourable mention” updates.
Brazil Despite a gaming legalisation and regulation process that has been plagued by uncertainty and numerous false starts, Brazil continues to be one of the most anticipated and closely followed markets in Latin America. Some recent, promising movements indicate that the sleeping giant that is Brazil’s gaming market may finally be waking for some forms of gaming, at least. The process to permit fixed-odds
sports betting in Brazil was first set in motion through the passage of a law in December 2018. While this created a grey market that is technically legal for online sports betting, formal regulations have yet to be rolled out. However, this soon could change as Law No. 13,756/2018 indicates that the regulation must be rolled out within a four-year period, with the final deadline occurring in December 2022. In February 2022, the legalisation of other forms of gaming - including landbased casinos, among others - was set into motion with Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies passage of Bill of Law No.442/1991 more than 30 years after it was first introduced. Following the Chamber of Deputies approval, the bill was sent to the Senate for the next step of the approval process.
More recently, in August 2022, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies advanced another bill that would legalise health and tourism lotteries, and provide a taxation and regulatory framework for sports betting within the country. Despite this recent positive momentum and looming regulatory deadline, the final approval process, legalisation and regulation of the aforementioned types of gaming has been delayed because of, well, politics. Brazil's general elections will be held in October 2022. The Senate, as well as Brazilian President Bolsonaro, have been reluctant to formally approve any gaming legislation before then. Recent reports suggest that at least one piece of gaming legislation will be approved after the General Elections. Our contacts in the market believe legislation related to sports betting regulation and lottery expansion are more likely to be approved than 442/1991. The coming deadline for sports betting regulations may make it the most likely candidate for approval; however, a pleasant surprise may be in order after so many years of waiting with bated breath.
Peru While the future of Brazilian gaming legislation remains less than certain,
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recent changes to Peruvian gaming legislation were comparably cut and dry. In August 2022, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo signed a bill into law officially legalising sports betting and online gaming in the country. The country’s Congress of the Republic previously advanced the legislation with a unanimous vote. As part of the formal legalisation, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism was
issued a statement in July stating the language of the law suggests only betting companies with branches in Peru will be subject to taxation while the remaining companies operating digitally in the country will be exempt. At this point, it is unclear whether any amendments will be made to the legislation to address this potential issue.
WHILE THE FUTURE OF BRAZILIAN GAMING LEGISLATION REMAINS LESS THAN CERTAIN, RECENT CHANGES TO PERUVIAN GAMING LEGISLATION WERE COMPARABLY CUT AND DRY
Despite ongoing challenges presented by mother nature, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission granted its first licence for legal sports betting to Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort, and its operating partner BetMGM, in early 2022. While the US territory passed sports betting-related legislation in 2019, the implementation process was slow moving. The Innovation Group was particularly excited to see the first bets placed in Puerto Rico given our involvement in the 2019 legalisation effort working with its Chamber of Commerce to help the government understand the sports betting market opportunity. In February 2022, on the heels of awarding the country’s first sports betting licence, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission granted three new casino licences - authorising casinos in the
named the country’s official gambling regulator. Moreover, a tax rate was set for operators at 12% of the “total tax base”, which consists of net revenue less maintenance costs. An additional maintenance tax consists of 2% of an operator’s income. Despite being projected to generate roughly US$40m in tax revenue for the government, the law has faced criticism from the Peruvian Sports Betting Association (APADELA). The association
Aloft San Juan, the Hampton Inn in Dorado and the Tribute Portfolio by Marriott Hotels in Ponce. While ramping up the competitive environment, these new properties should help the casino market - which we estimate generated over US$350m in gross gaming revenues prior to the pandemic recover and grow in the post-COVID world, and on the heels of recent, historical weather events.
Chile The Chilean government introduced a bill in March 2022 to regulate online gaming and sports betting, with a goal of launching the regulated market by the beginning of 2023. With the seventh largest population in the region and a large, unregulated black market for sports betting and online gaming, regulating these forms of gaming would create a significant legal market and, at the proposed 20% gross tax on licensed operators, be a boon for government coffers. The legislation has stalled, however, with the most recently publicised update indicating that the Economic Commission for Chile’s Chamber of Deputies was insisting on a review of the tax framework in August 2022. The Commission specifically noted that the tax structure lacked a regime for international operators. Perhaps Chilean politicians noticed APADELA’s criticism of the Chilean government’s recent legislation?
$450m casino resort in Punta del Este, has spoken out against the legislation. With opposition from both the public and private sectors, it appears Uruguayan lawmakers may be forced to rework the legislation yet again.
Honourable Mentions A number of other legislative movements in the Latin American market warrant coverage. While not exhaustive, this “honourable mention” list highlights some of the more
Maduro issued an order enabling the country’s casinos to reopen in late 2021, after their forced closure some 10 years ago by the late Hugo Chávez. The reopened casinos already are embracing the future with many now accepting cryptocurrency. El Salvador has become the first country to welcome a casino built around non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In January 2022, Canada-based Astro Babies announced the development of its first physical casino, located in El
Uruguay In August 2022, the country’s Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would legalise online gaming in the country. The bill has advanced to the Chamber of Deputies where upon passage it will advance to the Senate for a full vote. The bill first was introduced in 2021, but was met with criticism from some government officials for its lack of problem gaming provisions. While an article has been added to the legislation to fund problem gaming programs, some government representatives feel that more still needs to be done to combat problem gaming, including advertising restrictions. On top of this, the bill has faced criticism from the private sector as well. The Italian hotel and leisure company Cipriani, which has publicly announced its intention to develop a
Countries in grey do not currently offer legal and regulated forms of gaming
meaningful and interesting legislative updates in the market. Paraguay’s National Gambling Commission recently launched a tender for sports betting licences amid allegations of corruption within the regulatory body. On top of this, existing operators are criticising the government for not cracking down on illegal, unlicensed operators in the country. Venezuelan President Nicolás
Salvador, where players can buy and sell NFTs. Curaçao, a small island nation and online gambling hub, announced in July 2022 that it will implement significant reforms to its online gaming regulations. This includes the establishment of an independent licensing authority in an effort to shed its reputation as a reluctant leader of black and grey market online gaming. •
60 SECONDS WITH… BETEGY CMO EUGENIE GOLOVINA AT SBC, WE LIKE TO TAKE a bit more of a personal
approach to our interviews. Films, books, cars, holidays - they all shape a person and add colour to this industry we find ourselves in. In this edition of ‘60 seconds with …’, BETEGY Chief Marketing Officer Eugenie Golovina tells us about the book that changed her life, and why she’s still recovering from the visit to the Chelsea box at Stamford Bridge
SBC: What is your favourite film? EG: Little Miss Sunshine. The film is the best that meta-modernism has to offer: it teaches us to approach uncomfortable things with irony. It also has very peculiar humour, which not many find funny, so it's a good way of identifying "your" people. SBC: Great choice on film! So is your top album choice just as good too? EG: I hope so! My favourite album has to be Pink Floyd "Wish you were here". It is one of those albums you can listen to as a wholesome masterpiece from the first to the last note. It also sounds best on vinyl. SBC: We couldn't agree more! Vinyl is the way to go. How about books, do you have a favourite? Or do you prefer podcasts? EG: 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson is by far one of my favourites. One of those books that I can call life-changing. It first gives an impression of one of those "success" books. Still, once you get into it and see Peterson referencing literally every statement he makes and then putting the rules into practice, you become a happier and as a result more successful person. I gave Peterson's podcasts a listen after the book but found most of them too controversial for myself.
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SBC: We're heading into winter now, so summer holidays feel like a world away! Has there been a favourite place you've visited? EG: I am a true hedonist, so for me, it
is agritourism in Italy in early October. It's still warm but not hot, and also you skip the crowds of tourists and go straight to the heart of this beautiful country and everything it has to offer (starting with the captivating sceneries and gorgeous photos in the vineyards with the glass of the best Prosecco) SBC: That sounds incredible! Given that you work in the sports betting industry, you must have a favourite sporting event you've visited? EG: I think I'm still emotionally recovering from attending the Chelsea vs Tottenham game, which I actually got to see from the SBC box. To top it off, I got to take some pictures with Jorginho too! SBC: We're glad you enjoyed it! Moving away from sport slightly, what has been your most out-there purchase? EG: I'm not a compulsive buyer, but I did buy an African djembe drum during my visit to New Orleans over spring break. I then carried on the plane along with a huge Scooby-Doo toy I won at the fair. That's quite out there, isn't it? SBC: You had us at Scooby-Doo! Tell us, if you had to go into business with anyone, who would it be? EG: I find it dangerous to romanticise the mortals. I prefer going my own way and trusting the universe to bring the right people around from whom I can learn and grow. SBC: To leave us with some parting wisdom, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self? EG: "This won't matter tomorrow". Everything and everyone stressing you out today is not as vital and scary as it seems when you are in the moment. •
CODERE: THE KEY TO INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS IS TO EVOLVE ALONGSIDE CUSTOMERS CARLOS SABANZA,
Sponsorship & PR Manager at Codere, tells us how the multinational operator is understanding the changing needs of its players across the world
BY LUCÍA MOURIÑO
n Latin America, many international operators often arrive seeking to benefit from a customer base that has historically proven to be engaged in all areas of sports. Multinationals come and go, settle and share their brand without personalising their products, thereby relying on their international brand identity. However, in order to build a longterm bond with the customer, it’s necessary to offer products and benefits that both meet the needs of customers and also provide a streamlined user experience. In the gambling industry, the Spanish multinational Codere has a network that has been operating for four decades in established jurisdictions, and that has allowed the company to quickly penetrate new verticals, as in the case of the City of Buenos Aires at the end of 2021.
An industry spotlight Carlos Sabanza, Sponsorship & PR Manager at Codere, believes that the key to becoming a leader within the betting industry has been to evolve alongside customers, understand their needs and respond to them through experience, offering guarantees to the user.
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The company, which operates in five Latin American countries - Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay - and in Spain and Italy in Europe, is an example for anyone trying to expand
their business beyond their home country. Retail’s force and the online domination, as well as football sponsorships and marketing
campaigns, have led to the company’s brand to be recognised as one of the most valuable in Brand Finance Spain 2022 and one of the most relevant in The 500 most important companies in Mexico from Expansión’s ranking. Despite having achieved what many aspire to, for Codere it’s important that transparency and responsibility remain a constant effort within the industry. These are key points that anyone interested in being a force in LatAm should consider, as the ultimate goal is “to give the industry the spotlight that it deserves as an entertainment, employment and wealth creator.” “We would like these values to be an example for other companies, so that we can continue to grow as an industry,” said Sabanza, who when giving advice to companies seeking market share, mentioned that the gaming industry must provide all the guarantees for customers, meaning that there must be strict regulatory compliance. Although the pandemic has accelerated regulations in multiple jurisdictions, it has also drastically affected the gambling industry, which had to face unimaginable challenges.
The current situation, according to Codere’s Sponsorship Manager, continues to be challenging at a global level, since there’s a possibility of a recession in several markets. Codere, however, has been able to adapt and has already recovered 91% of its pre-coronavirus revenue. Now, the goal is to “manage such a dynamic environment, in which regulatory, technological and operational changes happen quickly”.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO GIVE THE INDUSTRY THE SPOTLIGHT THAT IT DESERVES AS AN ENTERTAINMENT, EMPLOYMENT AND WEALTH CREATOR A responsible gaming framework should also exist, one with the right approach. As a Spanish company that has experienced a number of regulatory changes, such as the recent introduction of the Royal Decree that limits advertising, Sabanza believes that it’s necessary to ensure sustainable growth and to protect the user,
administrations and operators with data as the main basis from the beginning. “It’s a highly regulated sector. Latin America is being very careful with these topics,” he added. In this sense, the company has already won several awards for its work around social responsibility and its commitment to responsible gaming. “It’s a core task for the company since its inception and something that we have intensely considered since the creation of the first responsible gaming program in 2018 in Spain. We were the first company to implement such initiatives.” As an example, “a social alarm was activated that didn’t match the reality of the industry in Spain,” just for having an over-exposed online gambling offer without a proper commercial regulation. “There wasn't more gambling [activity], nor was there a higher incidence of problem gambling behaviour. This experience showed the importance of adequate regulation.”
Sponsorships: key to customer retention Although the Latin America is still not as mature or consolidated as some
countries in Europe, like Italy or the UK, others like Colombia or Mexico are highly competitive, something that benefits the sector and its visibility, and offer multiple sponsorship options. “There are still many opportunities around sponsorships that we are exploring with the new regulations, such as in Argentina, and in other countries working towards a new framework. Without a doubt, sponsorships are an important boost for the brand and key to promoting sports betting,” he commented. Currently, Codere is a main sponsor of three football forces, such as Real Madrid C.F., Club de Fútbol Monterrey Rayados and Club Atlético River Plate. The last two feature the brand on the front of their jerseys, representing a milestone in local football associations.
Reaching new players The company has made a significant effort to localise its marketing strategy and to develop campaigns aimed at different markets and clients, connecting directly with the end user and achieving greater efficiency in its communications campaigns, something that ultimately consolidates the brand, as Sabanza explained. In Argentina, being the main sponsor of a club like River Plate has helped Codere reach local customers, through a “much more lively and close” experience and sharing values such as leadership, fair play and quality entertainment. This sponsorship not only helps Codere to make a difference by offering unique experiences, but also promotes all the benefits of making this industry visible. Moreover, the sponsorship has allowed Codere “to reach the public in the country in the best possible way, offering customers the best brand experience with an omnichannel product offering.” “Joining one of the largest sports institutions in the world positions us in a relevant way on our clear journey in Latin America. To break into markets where not everyone knows you, the association with such iconic brands offers credibility and positions us as a serious operator with whom customers feel safe betting.” Having a licence in the City of Buenos Aires, one of the markets with the greatest potential in the region,
26 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
and becoming River Plate's Official bookmaker, is a fundamental milestone in Codere's business plan in Argentina, where it has been operating since 1992. The visibility that this four-year deal will provide also helps “bringing these distinct and unique experiences closer to our clients through activations”. He added: "Through this alliance, both entities have achieved a better relationship with the Argentinian public, thanks to the different activations and experiences shared with our followers. Additionally, this new phase will allow us to continue promoting our brand together and to provide the best omnichannel entertainment and the best support for sports, as we have been doing for several years.”
THE ASSOCIATION WITH SUCH ICONIC BRANDS OFFERS CREDIBILITY AND POSITIONS US AS A SERIOUS OPERATOR WITH WHOM CUSTOMERS FEEL SAFE BETTING Taking into account that the FIFA World Cup 2022 will take place at the end of the year, companies must prepare to receive a new wave of clients. How does it influence a market with new regulations? Sabanza believes that the initial growth will be very high, as there are many people who have been waiting for a long time to be able to play legally in a regulated industry. “This situation will make the markets more attractive, especially when it comes to sports betting. This can also contribute to speeding up regulations in some regions, something that is very beneficial for us and the industry in general.” As for Codere, the priority is to generate an attractive offer so that these potential new players choose the company during the World Cup, and to ensure that the performance and stability of the platform are optimal at a technological level.
The road to Qatar 2022 To prepare for the World Cup, Codere has invested time in improving its sports betting platform, to make it more stable, robust, dynamic and
attractive, with a wide range of games, especially casino ones. In addition, Sabanza revealed that they have recently integrated technological solutions to make sports betting apps and services faster, “as customers demand and value very positively”. They have also improved the usability of the platform to allow accumulator bets from the same screen and on the same ticket, they have made progress in improving the user experience on the front-end and in data access and
analysis, both before and during the events. As an example, Sabanza mentioned that Codere has promoted branded games with sponsors, and has integrated other payment apps and tools such as a betting predictor in Mexico. At a differentiation level, Codere is known for focusing on the local market and the preferences of customers in each country. They have achieved this by partnering with local brands, offering physical and online channels
THIS NEW PHASE WILL ALLOW US TO CONTINUE PROMOTING OUR BRAND TOGETHER AND TO PROVIDE THE BEST OMNICHANNEL ENTERTAINMENT AND THE BEST SUPPORT FOR SPORTS access the offer, thereby offering a more localised customer service. "This closeness is something that few operators can provide and that
undoubtedly increases the commitment of our customers in the region," he assured. Finally, Sabanza shared his prediction for the World Cup, and said that the candidates will be Argentina, Brazil, France and Germany, although he is positive that “a team will emerge [as a top candidate] that nobody counted on and will shake up this tournament.” While he didn’t commit to naming one country, he stayed true to the industry and said that he would “bet on one of those four options.” •
LEXISNEXIS RISK SOLUTIONS: SMOOTHING THE PATH TO LATAM’S LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
HAVING BUILT UP A SIGNIFICANT LATIN AMERICAN PRESENCE over the last five years, LexisNexis Risk
Solutions is ideally poised to help new incumbents enter what’s shaping up to be a betting and gaming market of leviathan proportions. Adam Doyle, the firm’s Head of Gaming, explains all
BY CHRIS MURPHY
SBC: Can you tell us about LexisNexis’ ongoing activities in the Brazilian market and how does RiskNarrative fit into the equation going forward? AD: We’ve had boots on the ground in
Brazil now for probably about five years, and we've been working in supporting the financial institutes within the country. With the amount of data we have and our technology, we can really help operators enter this market once it goes live around December.
Like in any market there will be different regulation requirements, so it's just understanding what it needs to look like so we can do configuration and support the operators. We’ve already had success helping operators get up and running in different markets, like the Netherlands, and we can integrate new data suppliers into our platform. There is early indication that a high level of responsible and social gambling will be expected too, which we can help with both onboarding and continuously monitoring a player via a single API. We just need to wait for the final document to come out so we can build exact models that are currently nearly completed.
SBC: Having had five years’ experience in Brazil, what challenges has LexisNexis faced in that marketplace and how has it addressed them? AD: Like any new market, the biggest challenge is getting some of the boots on the ground, building relationships with the right services and making the right connections. When you’re entering into any country, it's important to fully understand what data is required and what technology you need. The LatAm market itself is a developing market; we have to make sure that we're doing everything that aligns with their rules and regulations. If we look at the UK, you can do a lot of checks with just your name, address, date of birth. But when we look at other countries like the US, we would need to check social security numbers as well. Brazil is very similar, they have the likes of the CPF, which is around tax numbers, and other additional information would be needed, for example the mother’s maiden name. SBC: How do you anticipate the new regulations taking shape and what preparations has RiskNarrative
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undertaken to be ready for them? AD: Right now, there is a presidential election happening, which is more than likely going to influence the final regulation and an operator’s requirements. It's still unsure on what the regulation will look like, but if we look at other markets it will likely involve IDV, AML and KYC checks, and name, age, CPF number, address and document verifications. If Brazil follows in the footsteps of the Netherlands, we might also be looking at other checks around responsible gambling and protecting players from harm. We're trying to make sure that
WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE ACCESS TO AS MUCH DATA AS POSSIBLE WITHIN THE BRAZILIAN MARKET. THAT WAY, WE CAN SUPPORT OPERATORS WITH OUR OWN TRANSACTION AND BEHAVIOUR MODEL
we have access to as much data as possible within the Brazilian market. That way, we can support them with our own transaction and behaviour model so operators can deliver an automated and frictionless process to their players and comply with whatever regulation may be put in place. SBC: With such vast potential for growth in LatAm, it's inevitable that there will be a need to reinforce corporate social responsibility procedures in order to provide the necessary levels of player protection. What do you think operators can learn from the European gaming sector, where a boom in the market has been followed by a backlash from regulators? AD: Gone are the days of just a oneoff, initial check at onboarding. It looks like the Brazilian regulators have already been looking at corporate responsibility procedures and the need to be monitoring players continuously once they’ve signed up. My understanding is they are looking at how it is being done in Europe; it’s hard to speculate but it looks
promising, and overall, that’s a good thing. I think continuous monitoring is good for protecting players and allowing operators to understand their customers better. In the long run, it is going to protect the operators too. SBC: What qualities should operators be looking for when sourcing the services of a company like RiskNarrative? AD: I think the most important thing is finding a provider who can demonstrate that they understand the regulations and can provide the data requirements needed. There are suppliers in the market that try and suggest that they are following suit when they're not, which can really open up operators to fines or issues during their audits. One thing with new markets is ensuring that the data that you're using is the exact data that you need. The devil is in the details; it's not always about the cheapest solution, or the one that gives you the biggest match rate. If we look at other markets, new regulation and guidance is always being released, so it's important that operators have a solution agile enough
to keep up with these changes, without requiring a lot of development work. One that addresses responsible gambling and player monitoring too. The positive of a solution like ours is we can quickly integrate new suppliers if needed, and operators can change the rules and risk scoring themselves without using code. SBC: What does RiskNarrative’s platform bring to the table in LatAm generally and Brazil specifically? AD: An important thing we can offer is speed to market. If an operator can get to the market three, four, five weeks ahead of their competitors, this
USING US, OPERATORS COULD ENTER LOTS OF DIFFERENT, FASTGROWING MARKETS, AND HAVE EVERYTHING IN A STANDARDISED PROCESS RATHER THAN HAVING TO HAVE MULTIPLE DIFFERENT INTEGRATIONS
gives them a significant competitive advantage. RiskNarrative is built with natural language rather than technical code, meaning an operator is less reliant on individual third-party suppliers or a technical team. Right now, our platform has over 50-plus third-party suppliers integrated globally; whether it's name, address, date of birth, devices documents, PEPs, sanctions, affordability, transaction monitoring, et cetera. So we are perfectly placed to help operators from day one. The RiskNarrative platform is a single API solution that allows you to build different journeys for different jurisdictions. Using us, operators could enter lots of different, fast-growing markets, and have everything in a standardised process rather than having to have multiple different integrations. Having been in the market for five years now, we already have a team that are all native speakers too. Any support and any translations that are required regarding rules and results can be handled quickly and competently, making life easier for operators. •
A bilingual approach
SETH SCHORR: MARKETING TO LATINOS IS MORE THAN JUST SPEAKING SPANISH FIFTH STREET GAMING’S CEO SETH SCHORR spoke
with SBC Leaders about the thought and care that has gone into developing the JefeBet brand as well as how to translate that sense of community from online into the real world BY JESSICA WELMAN
hey are a population consisting of over 60 million people, roughly 18% of the American population, but somehow the Latino and Hispanic population of the US gets shockingly little attention from the
32 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
gambling industry. With online gambling still in its infancy, it is understandable that companies are still focused on national-level marketing and brand awareness. Nonetheless, while marketing campaigns target specific fandoms - women and residents of specific states are commonplace -
finding similar campaigns targeted at the Latino and Hispanic market is a near-impossible task. At the brick and mortar level, casinos seem equally disinterested in more than an occasional Cinco de Mayo festivities and offering bilingual options for Spanish speakers. Fifth Street Gaming aims to change gaming’s lackadaisical approach. Earlier this year, the company launched JefeBet, the first major sports betting site designed specifically for the Latino and Hispanic community. The bilingual site is more than just Spanish language stories. The content features specific dialects and
FSG CEO Seth Schorr (second from left) breaks ground at the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina y Casino at Hotel Jefe along partners and community leaders.
points of view for the many different populations and subcultures within the community. The next step for FSG is to take the JefeBet online experience and translate it for the brick and mortar audience. Long before the JefeBet launch, Fifth Street was marketing its Las Vegas casinos to the Latino and Hispanic community in Southern Nevada. Now, the company is taking one of its properties and specifically creating it for the Spanish-speaking community. In September, the company began a full rebrand of its North Las Vegas property, Lucky Club Casino and Hotel, to Ojos Locos Sports Cantina y Casino at Hotel Jefe. Once complete, it will feature 200 new gaming machines, a nightclub and a sportsbook. We spoke with Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming, to find out more.
FIFTH STREET GAMING AIMS TO CHANGE GAMING’S LACKADAISICAL APPROACH
SBC: How and why is it important to you to tie the JefeBet brand across land-based casinos and online? How do you see it growing from here? SS: Prior to launching JefeBet, there really were no alternative options in terms of a media, gambling and entertainment brand for Spanish speaking and bilingual Americans. Our goal was to create sustainable, authentic communication channels with our target audience. We have spent the past 15 years catering to the Hispanic and Latino community in and around Las Vegas, and felt it was the right time to expand digitally, giving Hispanics and Latinos across the country access to a premier gambling and entertainment content hub that did not previously exist. In terms of next steps, we plan on having the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina y Casino at Hotel Jefe, the first gaming and hospitality property in the US to solely cater to the Hispanic and Latino market, fully functional by early 2023. Following this, we’d like to expand our brand even further, to the point where operators are leveraging JefeBet to
SIMPLE TASKS LIKE TRANSLATING ENGLISH TO SPANISH WON’T SERVE AS A NEEDLEMOVING STRATEGY IN AUTHENTICALLY CONNECTING AND ENGAGING WITH THIS DEMOGRAPHIC authentically cater to Spanish-speaking audiences of their own. We are constantly looking for the right partners who understand what our mission is, and will allow JefeBet to continue serving this community. SBC: What goes into ensuring this new property centers around the Latino experience and is not just a casino with a Latino theme catering to Spanish speakers? SS: Simple tasks like translating English to Spanish won’t serve as a needlemoving strategy in authentically connecting and engaging with this demographic. It’s table stakes. Given our detailed history in serving
A bilingual approach
FSG CEO Seth Schorr (middle) poses with representatives from the North Las Vegas City Council, Latin Chamber of Commerce and Ojos Locos
the Hispanic and Latino audience of North Las Vegas, we have grown to fully comprehend the demands of our audience. Knowing this demographic is wildly underserved, we set out to provide a property designed specifically for the Hispanic and Latino communities, even if it means losing other guests. While language is the most obvious factor, we have ensured to take all aspects of this property into account. All food, entertainment and gaming options are fully programmed for our specific audience, offering an experience for the Hispanic and Latino communities that really does not exist elsewhere in the United States. SBC: How did you choose to partner with Ojos Locos and what will they be bringing to the table?
OJOS LOCOS PRIDES ITSELF ON CATERING TO THE HISPANIC AND LATINO POPULATIONS THROUGH AUTHENTICITY
34 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
SS: Ojos Locos is the leading Mexican sports bar across the US, owning roughly 30 locations, mostly in areas with dense Hispanic and Latino populations. Similar to JefeBet, Ojos Locos prides itself on catering to the Hispanic and Latino populations through authenticity, and owns a distinct knowledge and understanding of what our audience values and ultimately demands. It was essential for our dining partner to have a strong background in serving this audience, adding yet another layer to the full experience that had been missing far too long for Hispanics and Latinos in this country. SBC: Talk a little about the planned layout for the sportsbook. How does the increase in online betting open up how casinos can really imagine a sportsbook layout? SS: The standard format for a sports book in a land-based casino is to have it adjacent to the casino floor in its own confined space. While this format works well in many casino resorts, we have designed something a bit different.
WE ARE OFFERING AN EXPERIENCE FOR THE HISPANIC AND LATINO COMMUNITIES THAT REALLY DOES NOT EXIST ELSEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES We decided to integrate sports betting into the sports bar experience we created with Ojos Locos. We believe most of our guests would rather watch and bet on sports while they are eating and drinking and conversing and not sitting in theater style seating but rather in an atmosphere that is more social. In addition to our traditional odds board which will be by a counter for those who want to place their wagers the old fashioned way; we have leveraged BettorView displays throughout the property which help to educate new bettors by showing odds, analytics and promotions in a more user friendly way. And yes, BettorView is creating a Spanish-language version for this property! •
60 SECONDS WITH… PRESSENTER GROUP’S LAHCENE MERZOUG JEEPS, HANIA RANI AND CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Three
things which you probably weren’t expecting to read about in the SBC Leaders Magazine! But in this ‘60 seconds with …’ piece, PressEnter Group CEO Lahcene Merzoug tells us about the films and music that make him tick, and the holiday to the Spanish mountains that brought a degree of harmony
SBC: To start us off, what would be your go-to film? And why? LM: Growing up I was a big fan of sci-fi, so my favourite film must be “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. It's an absolute classic, and a must-watch! SBC: Interesting choice in film, I'll have to watch it! Tell us, what has been your most extravagant purchase to date? LM: I am not really keen on materialistic things. So the most expensive purchase I have ever made would be property. I really enjoy renovation and creating something very different. SBC: Property is still very extravagant. Now, you've got your headphones in and can play any album on repeat. What's it going to be? LM: I love all kinds of music and I often listen to different genres depending on my mood and situation at the time. Right now, my favourite artist is Hania Rani. SBC: Great choice, Hania Rani is great! What would you say is your
dream car, and does this match up with what you're driving now? LM: My current car is an old reliable jeep from 1989. I used to be interested in fast cars, but Malta, a place that I love, doesn’t really have the roads for sports cars (if you’ve been you will know what I am talking about). SBC: Knowing what you know now, what career advice would you give to your younger self? LM: My advice would be, don’t only focus on your career - find a good work-life balance from the beginning. This is still something that I’m personally working on. SBC: So you live in Malta, which has
been one of my favourite places to visit! But what would you has been your favourite holiday? LM: I absolutely love to travel! Last year I went to Alicante, staying at the “Vivood Landscape Hotel” which is located in the Spanish mountains. This hotel was built in harmony with nature and has GREAT vegan food. SBC: Spanish sunshine and nice food? I'll pack my bags. To round us off, we'd like to ask you a question about business - if you could start a company with anyone, who would it be? LM: I don’t have anyone in particular in mind but the person must be able to complement my work ethic and who can also create a strong team around us. •
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The three As
THE LOWDOWN ON LOTTERIES IN LATAM: AGREEMENTS, AWARDS, AMBIGUITY FROM TAXATION ISSUES
to landmark digital deals, lotteries in Latin America have experienced another eventful year in 2022
Ludovico Calvi, GLMS President
BY NICK WARE
he lottery industry is, like many others, an ever-evolving one. New technologies are being embraced, new friendships are being formed and new games are unveiled. These points are all applicable in Latin America, where a number of countries are witnessing change and transition as the sector continues to grow. That’s despite the conspicuous absence of most of these countries on the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) website, which lists LaBanca (Uruguay) and Polla Chilena (Chile) as its only Latin American members. This was a point addressed by Ludovico Calvi, GLMS President, back in November 2019.
THE LOTTERY MARKET IN LATIN AMERICA HAS MADE IMPRESSIVE PROGRESS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS Speaking at the 17th CIBELAE Congress in San Jose, Costa Rica, Calvi urged lotteries in Latin America to join the GLMS ‘family’ and help to safeguard the integrity and core values of sport from corruption. Calvi’s plea appears to have fallen on deaf, disinterested, or unperturbed
The three As
ears. Nevertheless, the lottery market in Latin America has made impressive progress in the last few years and, specifically, in 2022.
Brazil NeoGames recently joined the Brazilian ilottery market via an agreement with Intralot do Brasil, the operator for Loteria Mineira. Entering Minas Gerais, the country’s second largest state, NeoGames has pledged to provide a selection of instant games tailored for a local audience. Explaining the rationale behind the deal, NeoGames CEO Moti Malul noted: “By early next year, we will provide online lottery and sports betting players in Minas Gerais with an exceptional online gaming experience. We hope to serve as a strong partner to Intralot do Brasil in helping them achieve continued success in Minas Gerais, while simultaneously supporting our near and long-term objectives in Brazil and throughout Latin America.”
Argentina Important movements have also been made in Argentina, particularly
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in the province of Córdoba. Back in May, Lotería de Córdoba - the local lottery - outlined its plans to award ten operator permits, following the regulation of online gambling in the province. This kick-started a bidding process that culminated in an announcement in September. The surprise here, though, was that only eight candidates were chosen by Lotería de Córdoba to receive online gaming licences.
CÓRDOBA COULD GENERATE AROUND $112M A YEAR FROM ONLINE GAMING, PROVIDING VITAL FUNDS FOR THE PROVINCE Betway and Picapertor Online’s joint application was rejected because the companies did not comply with the exclusionary requirement of presenting the original documents and copies in Spanish, since, according to the original resolution, the presentation was made ‘in draft format with observations in English’.
Biyemas and SkillOnNet were also eliminated from the process. According to Councillor Juan Pablo Quinteros, Córdoba could generate around $112m a year from online gaming, providing vital funds for the province.
Chile Meanwhile, in Chile, tax concerns have slowed down the implementation of an online gambling bill which had previously appeared to be hurtling towards a final conclusion. There had been optimism that a federally regulated online gambling regime would be in order by 2023; the Chilean Ministry of Finance had even agreed to vote on the bill at the end of this year. However, while stating her support for the gambling bill, Undersecretary of Finance Claudia Sanhueza noted “visible flaws” in the tax framework provided by the Ministry. Its failure to explain how Chile’s local and commercial taxes would be applied to international operators, who should be subject to equal tax terms as domestic incumbents, was
cited as a factor in the requirement for a review to be led by an Economic Commission for Chile’s Chamber of Deputies. As a result, any of the previously earmarked dates now appear highly unlikely as the issues look set to carry on into the new year.
Ecuador There has been positive news in Ecuador, though, after its National Lottery signed a 10-year deal with Scientific Games to secure the supply of instant games, lottery systems, retail technology and the country’s first electronic draw game. This agreement forms part of plans to refresh the Ecuador National Lottery and its portfolio of games, with the aim of raising extra funds for the non-profit organisation Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil, which focuses on health, education and social protection. The group is aiming to expand its social and charitable work to all corners of Ecuador in favour of people in conditions of vulnerability and extreme poverty.
THIS AGREEMENT AIMS TO IMPROVE THE AREAS OF HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN BOTH COUNTRIES Jorge Medina, General Manager of Lotería Nacional de Ecuador, said: “We are very pleased to extend our excellent relationship with Scientific Games through an instant game contract that includes new technology and enables us to launch a new mode of instant and draw-based lottery games for the enjoyment of our players, and ultimately generate more funds to support our causes in Ecuador.”
El Salvador El Salvador approved an Economic Agreement in July to launch a national electronic lottery, the Lotería Electrónica Nacional. The lottery will be jointly operated by Canada, but the premise behind the agreement for El Salvador is to raise additional funds to support municipalities and invest in the
execution of health and education programmes. Pertinently, the Lotería Electrónica Nacional will not bear any costs to El Salvador, as the Canadian Commercial Corporation bears the responsibility for both the implementation and the operation of the new service. Deputy and President of the Foreign Relations Committee Ana Figueroa has outlined her belief that this agreement allows El Salvador to reaffirm its diplomatic ties while also allowing the country to expand in the technology field. Figueroa noted: “This agreement aims to improve the areas of health and education in both countries.” 10% of the Lotería Electrónica Nacional’s total revenue will be directed to the municipalities to carry out activities in favour of their residents, while another 10% will go to lottery vendors, to be distributed to strengthen operations from public institutions. The rest of the proceeds are to be used for public health, education and social assistance projects. •
A new player
ONLINE BOOM? BREAKING DOWN COSTA RICA’S NEW ONLINE LOTTERY ESMERELDA BRITTON GONZÁLEZ, President
of Costa Rica’s Junta de Protección Social, analyses the the impact of launching an online lottery in the country during the pandemic and how the diversification of the product portfolio is essential to success in the 2020s BY CHARLIE HORNER
t seems that in the 21st Century, we are witnessing mass migration of traditional activities to various online platforms. Beginning in the 90s with Jeff Bezos’ Amazon taking book shops online, a whole host of industries have been digitally reimagined for a modern audience. No other factor has sped up this process more than the Covid-19 pandemic, with the retail world closing abruptly, forcing businesses to adapt in order to survive. The change in consumer demands in the last two years has been stark too, as businesses adjust to the ‘new normal’. The gaming industry is certainly no stranger to the online world, with igaming and online sports betting booming in popularity in recent years and regulatory frameworks quickly catching up. However, it appears that lotteries have gone under the radar in this conversation, lost amongst the glitz and glamour of the flashing lights of online slots and the adrenaline rush of the last gasp
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winner for a sports wager victory. Yet, according to a YouGov poll on online gaming last year, 42% of all respondents claimed they had played any form of lottery online within the last 12 months, outperforming sports betting (36%), online casinos (13%) and bingo (11%). For Esmerelda Britton González, President of Costa Rica’s Junta de Protección Social, which launched an online lottery product in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing
THE ONLINE LOTTERY GIVES A PURCHASE OPTION TO A LARGE SECTOR OF THE POPULATION THAT DOESN’T USUALLY GO OUT TO BUY LOTTERY TICKETS
online products is essential to keep up with changing consumer demands globally. When asked whether the launch of an online lottery in Costa Rica during 2020 has had any material impact on attracting a different type of customer, Britton González replied: “Of course. The dynamic of commerce has changed worldwide with the growth of e-commerce. Many consumers are now used to purchasing products and services from the comfort of their mobile devices without having to move anywhere at all. “The online lottery gives a purchase option to a large sector of the population that doesn’t usually go out to buy lottery tickets, but thanks to the benefits of online shopping and the immediate payment of prizes, they can
consume it regularly. “In addition, the coronavirus pandemic came to strengthen e-commerce and, in the case of the Social Protection Board, it allowed us to resume our commercial activities very quickly.” With industries on the verge of collapse as the global economy came to a grinding halt in the spring and summer of 2020, decision makers were left with the unenviable task of adapting to the extreme conditions. While lottery sales in Costa Rica are yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, unlike other markets globally, Britton González is pleased that the newly launched online lottery is taking up an increasing proportion of total sales, but admits that there is scope for ‘higher growth potential’.
She added: “Sales of the National and Popular lotteries were higher before 2020 and that figure has not been achieved yet. Currently, online sales for the National Lottery represent 8% of the total issuance of tickets and the Popular Lottery approximately 7%. Growth potential could be higher, but the lottery inventory is limited to selling online.
THE ROLE OF GLOBAL LOTTERIES IS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR GOOD CAUSES “This is due to the fact that the rest of the issuance of the lottery draws is distributed among the traditional vendors, who have lottery quotas assigned by means of their contract with the institution.
Ostensibly, the role of global lotteries is to raise funds for good causes, whether that be through direct grants to charities, or to support local education and social welfare programs. Costa Rica’s JPS diversified its product portfolio to reflect this remit and the growing need to support welfare programs during the pandemic, which swelled the requirement for support. Over 430 social welfare programs rely on lottery resources in Costa Rica, with the JPS, in Britton González’s view, having to innovate to attract new players to continue supporting welfare programs. “With constant innovation, through the development of new products, new game modes, attractive promotions and advertising strategies that have
A new player
a greater reach and help us attract new players,” she explained. “Prize payment is of vital importance. It must be automatic and simple, as the consumer values receiving the money immediately. A good experience in the payment of prizes ensures a high rate of reinvestment of prizes, which benefits sales and profits for social organisations.” Not only does the state lottery help to support good causes, but it performs a dual role of keeping players safe, diverting them away from the dangers of black market operators, which the JPS’s President noted has taken customers away from the national lottery. “The strategy of expanding the portfolio is seen more as a tool to compete against that illegal market. Before the pandemic, traditional lottery products (National and Popular) showed a constant growth trend year after year despite the launch of new products. “Diversifying our product portfolio will allow us to attract more players by offering them innovative and easily
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accessible products commercially, which would translate into higher income and therefore higher profits to be distributed among our creditors. Gambling’s detractors would argue that increasing the product portfolio to digital products, no matter the social benefit, is a net negative on society due to the impact of problem gambling.
DIVERSIFYING OUR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO WILL ALLOW US TO ATTRACT MORE PLAYERS BY OFFERING THEM INNOVATIVE AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE PRODUCTS COMMERCIALLY Whilst Britton González does concede that online lottery products have a higher draw frequency which can lead to a risk of increased gambling, she noted that JPS has several tools at its disposal to combat those risks. Allaying fears of a spike in problem
gambling numbers in Costa Rica, she concluded: “The way to counter the potential presence of problem gambling is through raising awareness in the population with advertising campaigns that give a message of responsible gambling, with the aim of educating and alerting the population of this problem that many families in the country could be facing. “To date, different strategies have been implemented, such as the inclusion of a responsible gambling slogan in advertising campaigns and purchase receipts, as well as messages on social networks and lottery tickets. “With innovation and the rise of online sales platforms, other types of initiatives can be established to combat problem gambling. Mechanisms will be available to identify players’ betting behaviour, linking betting movements to an ID check. “With this valuable information, then generate differentiated strategies for each type of player, so that problem gambling alerts are generated and to create a more personalised responsible gambling campaign.” •
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A passion for sports
PREPARING LATIN AMERICA’S SPORTSBOOKS FOR THE 2022 WORLD CUP WITH THE WORLD CUP TAKING CENTRE STAGE on this
year’s sporting calendar, opportunities will be plentiful in Latin American markets that have a passion for sports at their core. With practically limitless potential for growth in these markets, Jack Smith, Sales Director at Sportingtech, discusses the methods that can be employed to ensure success
renowned for their passion for sports, in particular football, and with igaming potential already in abundance, the stage is set for companies with a considerable knowledge set, experience, and product offering to take advantage. The potential for growth is huge, but only when approached in the right way.
The omnichannel experience BY JACK SMITH
he position of the World Cup in the calendar is an unusual occurrence for the sports betting industry, and with European domestic football seasons
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already underway, opportunities will abound for operators. The job of a platform provider is to equip clients with the tools for them to be successful, so what is needed here is a sportsbook that can quickly adapt. Latin American markets are
In anticipation of monumental events like the World Cup, landbased operators across LatAm are moving into the online space in great numbers. Unassisted, however, they may find the move more difficult than anticipated - established operators will be hard to topple from their perches
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
and cash-in, cash-out and voucher processing, making valued customers feel they are being supported at every step of the process. The World Cup presents the industry with opportunities ripe with potential, especially for emerging markets in Latin America. Platforms that offer a quick and easy way to market, while providing the very best of what the industry has to offer, are sure to thrive.
Localisation Creating the most engaging user journey possible is vital when fostering growth in markets where the player base is as passionate about sports as they are in nations across Latin America. A tailored offering is imperative; if the customer does not feel the experience is being catered specifically to them, the
IF THE CUSTOMER DOES NOT FEEL THE EXPERIENCE IS BEING CATERED SPECIFICALLY TO THEM, THE OVERALL SUCCESS OF THE OPERATION WILL BE JEOPARDISED
and companies rushing to set up a sportsbook or casino may succumb to any number of drawbacks. The betting industry has a landscape that is rapidly shifting in its approach to omnichannel betting offerings, and this constant shift must be mitigated by platform developers to ensure the player is transitioned efficiently. The
THERE ARE MAJOR OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONLINE BETTING IN LATAM AND, WITH THE RIGHT PLATFORM, COMMITTING TO A DIGITAL PRESENCE CAN RESULT IN SERIOUS GAINS
companies that have demonstrated success in Latin America have often been the ones that have shown a clear focus on the omnichannel experience, and this is indicative of its importance to long-term success in the betting industry. A presence both on and offline is key to attaining a high level of player engagement and retention. There are major opportunities for online betting in LatAm and, with the right platform, committing to a digital presence can result in serious gains. Sportingtech’s Quantum platform is ideally placed to address this demand, offering an accelerated time to market with true product localisation. It has a streamlined, user-friendly back-office for agents, a flexible banking system,
overall success of the operation will be jeopardised, especially in more mature markets. A key area that ties into this is localisation - targeting the vast collection of varying jurisdictions that make up LatAm, all with differing cultures and preferences, requires indepth knowledge of localisation, and by extension player profiling. This is an issue that software such as Sportingtech’s Quantum platform addresses head on - it is designed specifically to focus on the unique challenges of each market. Quantum embodies a modular approach to differentiation. It is built on the knowledge of the importance of a platform offering that is robust and scalable enough to compete against other providers, while also being customisable to meet an operator’s specific requirements.
Commitment to expansion Ambitious expansion plans will be key when looking to cater to the countless sports enthusiasts in LatAm markets. This requires top-tier operator partners on the ground, and a platform that
A passion for sports
is proven to cater to the varying demands of emerging markets is one that operators can put their faith in. Companies that persevere in their expansion efforts, regardless of whether they already have a significant footprint in these markets, are the ones that will eventually win out. The commitment to seeking out a bridge to further growth is clear evidence of the potential gains present here. With the confidence and knowhow to succeed in these endeavours, Sportingtech has a knowledge of these markets that is second to none and has consistently helped operators effectively navigate newly-regulated regions for years. As a licensed platform provider, it has also worked to the highest standards in terms of customer data protection and segregation. With the number of LatAm operator deals made by Sportingtech now standing at an impressive 20, the company’s significant experience and knowledge is clearly demonstrated. The provider’s strong position in these markets signifies its ability to cater to the needs and demands of all of its customers. Sportingtech’s presence in the region’s markets continues to strengthen with each operator added
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to its roster, and this is only set to continue as it maintains its continued dedication to further development.
Personalisation The potential gains in Latin American markets have always been a matter of discussion for the industry as a whole, but a common mistake has often been to treat LatAm as one market, rather than a collection of varying jurisdictions. The content that
operator’s platform. Producing these widgets is the result of a concerted effort to allow operators and their players quick access to matches, group betting, outrights and specials across both mobile and desktop, and that same work ethic is in full flow as the World Cup looms. To complement this, the introduction of the new bet stimulation tool, Bet Assist, has been incredibly well-received across a number of emerging markets.
COMPANIES THAT PERSEVERE IN THEIR EXPANSION EFFORTS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ALREADY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT FOOTPRINT IN THESE MARKETS, ARE THE ONES THAT WILL EVENTUALLY WIN OUT customers expect differs greatly from one market to the other, and with some of the world’s largest sporting tournaments taking place this year, operators cannot afford to provide them with offerings that clearly show a lack of effort in their provision. Supporting a more personalised offering is Sportingtech’s innovative Popular Bets and Popular Events widget. The module collates the top 10 bets and top 10 events across an
Based on live score and AI analysis, the tool generates automated betting tips across more than 100 popular betting markets - both pre-match and live with complete bet slip integration. The potential in LatAm markets is clear to see and providing an appropriate offering can result in significant gains. The path to success is fraught with difficulty, but choosing the right platform can mitigate a lot of the risk involved. •
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
EXAMINING THE BETTING TRENDS AS WINTER WORLD CUP MARKETS HEAT UP AS THE SBC SUMMIT BARCELONA AGENDA
Sam Rosbottom, Betfair’s PR Manager
demonstrated this year, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is on the minds of sportsbooks everywhere, generating lucrative opportunities while simultaneously posing a unique challenge
BY TED ORME-CLAYE
ith much of the industry focused on the operational side of World Cup matters - such as marketing, customer acquisition and retention and the temporary loss of domestic football SBC Leaders’ Bookies Corner decided to ask ‘what are the customers thinking?’ To find out, we reached out to Rachael Kane, Paddy Power’s Public Relations Manager; Henry Beesley, Fitzdares’ Content Executive; Chad Yeomans, Betway’s Head of Communications and PR, and Sam Rosbottom, Betfair’s PR Manager, to examine who punters are backing, and, in line with this magazine’s theme, with a LatAm twist.
It’s coming home… to South America? Anyone who has spent any time speaking to your average football fan about the World Cup this year will have come across one recurring opinion - the Qatari heat will present a formidable hurdle to European teams, and possibly lend an advantage to South America. This is a view clearly prevalent
among Fitzdares customers, as Beesley observed: “As you’d expect, punters are sticking with this theme with ‘usual suspects’ Brazil attracting a lot of support and are fairly strong favourites at the moment. “It’s actually Argentina, though, that represents our biggest loser in the book at present, having laid quite a punchy
PUNTERS ARE SEEMINGLY LATCHING ONTO THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SIDES TO COPE BEST WITH THE ELEMENTS
outright bet on them over the summer. “For the first time ever, the World Cup will be held in a Middle Eastern nation and with hot, sticky and physically demanding conditions forecast in Qatar this winter, punters are seemingly latching onto the southern hemisphere sides to cope best with the elements. “LatAm sides have taken up a good chunk of our book, with Argentina and Brazil proving to be particularly popular. We’ve also seen small support for Colombia.” For Paddy Power punters, Brazil was also the top choice, having been ‘well backed’ to win their group, whilst
THE FAVOURITES, BRAZIL, HAVE ATTRACTED THE SECOND HIGHEST AMOUNT STAKED BEHIND ARGENTINA, WHICH ISN’T THE BIGGEST SURPRISE! “As we headed into the international break, we were already seeing punters starting to get excited with World Cup fever,” Rosbottom began, explaining how 13/2 Argentina are the top choice overall, followed by fellow Latin giant Brazil at 5/1. “Argentina have attracted a large amount of interest and is currently the most backed team at this point in time,” he added. “As expected, the favourites, Brazil, have attracted the second highest amount staked behind Argentina, which isn’t the biggest surprise!”
Will Qatar 2022 show the red card to European dominance?
Uruguay have also been supported to win Group H. Looking ahead to the final, Kane added: “The most popular teams in the Outright Winner market are Brazil (22% of the market stakes), England (20%) and Argentina (18%). The most popular of the first-time winners are Portugal, Netherlands and Senegal.” Meanwhile, over at Betway, Yeomans again found that Argentina and Brazil are the Latin American teams with the most punters behind them, as both countries have strong squads with high profile talent. “As usual, the highest seeding teams in the groups are popular to win the group and to qualify, largely in multiples. Of the LatAm teams, Brazil and Argentina are undoubtedly the two most popular.” For the Betfair team, two familiar
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names from Latin America have come across as the favourites among punters - the powerhouses of Brazil and Argentina. It is clear that a large number of punters expect Europe's fourtournament reign over the World Cup to end to Latin American goals this year.
AS WE EXPECTED, ENGLAND HAVE BEEN A POPULAR SELECTION IN THEIR BID TO GO ONE BETTER THAN AT LAST SUMMER’S EUROS AND AS THE TOURNAMENT NEARS, THEY’RE ONLY GOING TO OCCUPY EVEN MORE OF OUR BOOK
As Beesley observed, “the World Cup is no place for ‘Cupsets’”, having been dominated by the likes of Brazil, Germany and Italy at five, four and four wins each throughout its history. For European countries, Germany has again proved popular for Fitzdares customers, with many apparently expecting the powerhouse to bounce back from their Euro 2020 loss to England - although the Three Lions are still catching some patriotic punters. “It’s true that European nations have dominated the World Cup in recent times and punters have been backing four-time Champions Germany to bounce back after failing to fire at the past two major tournaments,” Beesley continued. “For the first since Euro 2008, Joachim Löw will not be their manager at a major tournament and Hansi Flick is the man tasked with bringing the Germans back to the big time on the International stage. “Naturally, England have proved a popular selection and we can only see that going one way as the tournament gets closer. As we expected, England have been a popular selection in their bid to go one better than at last summer’s Euros and as the tournament nears, they’re only going to occupy even more of our book. “Of the other European
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
powerhouses, Spain’s young guns are attracting a bit of support, while we’ve also seen Denmark backed at a huge price!” This is not the case with Betfair, however, whose punters have been showing ‘pessimism’ at England’s chances - although Gareth Southgate's squad are still fourth in the punter choices at 13/2 to ‘send the nation’ wild in breaking 56 years of hurt.
WE’VE TAKEN MORE BETS ON ENGLAND EXITING AT GROUP STAGE AT 6/1 THAN ANY OTHER POINT “Actually, there’s an air of pessimism when it comes to punters backing England, looking at our market on when the Three Lions will be eliminated, we’ve taken more bets on them exiting at group stage at 6/1 than any other point. They’re 3/1 to make it all the way to the final,” Rosbottom remarked. Above England in the Betfair bettors’ rankings are France and Spain at 11/2 and 15/2 respectively, whilst Betway’s customers were clearly putting some thought into potential first time winners, as Yeomans observed. “Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia and Canada are the only teams that would be a first time winner that is attracting a fair amount of money from the betting public and interestingly, three of those are in the same group. Outside of these, it is the usual teams that are attracting the majority of interest.”
IT ALMOST GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT MESSI, NEYMAR AND LAUTARO MARTINEZ ARE THE MOST BACKED PLAYERS OF THE MARKET SO FAR, ALL OF WHICH ARE LATAM TALENT For Europe overall, however, he noted that “France leads the pack as the most backed team in Europe. This is closely followed by England, but they are always popular in big tournaments. Germany, Croatia and Belgium are the only other European teams that have gained significant interest thus far”.
The Golden Boot - Kane for the gain, or will Messi stake his claim? Today’s bettors love a stats bet, and the World Cup, which sees some of the world’s greatest strikers go head to head - minus a certain Leeds-born, Norway-raised Manchester City player this year. For European selections, 18% of Paddy Power customers have chosen Karim Benzema and 15% Harry Kane, Rachael Kane informed us. “However, in terms of South Americans in the market, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus are definitely the most keenly supported for the prize,” she added. This was the same at Betfair, where Benzema is “leading the way when it comes to most popular players backed with the punters”, coming in at a lucrative 12/1 to win the Golden Boot. “Currently, the favourite in the market to score the most goals at the tournament is Harry Kane at 6/1, but the Spurs striker hasn’t been as popular as Benzema, Mbappe (8/1) and Neymar (12/1).” Unsurprisingly, when it comes to Latin American players there have been a few familiar names - notably an Argentinian veteran and an eyecatching Brazilian. “It almost goes without saying that Messi, Neymar and Lautaro Martinez are the most backed players of the market so far, all of which are LatAm talent,” Betway’s Yeomans remarked. “The Golden Boot market is one that heats up nearer to the tournament kick-off, largely down to punters looking to ensure their player is both called up and not injured.” At the time of writing, Fitzdares also noted: “To be honest, we haven’t seen any business yet on this market with nations still yet to decide on their final squads. As a result, it’s still very much up in the air so we’re yet to see anything concrete. “However, the markets have been moving enough for two popular names to emerge to the forefront of the starting 11: Messi will always be a popular selection though, and there seems to be genuine belief that he can finally end his international drought. “We’re also anticipating England’s main man, Harry Kane will be wellbacked to repeat his 2018 heroics and bag the Golden Boot again.” •
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THE GOLDEN BOOT MARKET IS ONE THAT HEATS UP NEARER TO THE TOURNAMENT KICK-OFF, LARGELY DOWN TO PUNTERS LOOKING TO ENSURE THEIR PLAYER IS BOTH CALLED UP AND NOT INJURED
Position BUSINESS JOURNALIST Team PAYMENT EXPERT World Cup Winner: I think that it's right to say that Argentina is a good contender for first place. Lionel Scaloni has managed to give Argentina their best national team in probably a decade, creating a real chance of making history for the third time. It would also be a poetic end to Lionel Messi's playing days. Surprise Package: Boasting a brilliant performance with six wins, two draws and one defeat in the qualifiers, I believe that the Netherlands will bring the same skill and passion into Qatar as well. The fact that they're in a group with Ecuador, Senegal and Qatar also gives them a nice three wins at the start to look forward to. World-class talent such as Memphis Depay and Virgil van Djik under the expert guidance of Louis van Gaal definitely makes the Oranje a force to be reckoned with. Top Goalscorer: Poland's Lewandowski has proven time and time again that he can be deadly if left in just the tiniest of spaces. The two games against Mexico and Saudi Arabia could prove just enough for him to walk out of Qatar with the Golden Boot in hand. Player of the Tournament: Japan’s Takefusa Kubo may only be 21 but he’s already made a name for himself in La Liga through the ranks of Barcelona, Real Madrid and most recently, Real Sociedad. The World Cup might be the biggest incentive for this young talent to unleash his full potential.
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
: S K C I P SBC’S P U C D L R WO
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Position: SENIOR CONFERENCE PRODUCER Team: CONFERENCE World Cup Winner: Holland they're bang in form, and I just love the kit! Surprise Package: Denmark and/or Switzerland - People really seem to underrate these European nations, but in my opinion, they're solid and have real potential. Top Goalscorer: Mbappe. I can't believe no one has said him or Benzema (at time of writing) Player of the Tournament: Kevin De Bruyne, for sure! The Belgian midfielder has truly been at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s success at Manchester City - I have no doubt that he can recreate this for his national side.
Position: SENIOR JOURNALIST Team: SBC AMERICAS World Cup Winner: Argentina will go into the tournaments as favourites for many. They’ve shown sensational form over the last couple of years and I’m sure everyone would love to see Lionel Messi cap off the greatest career of all time by lifting the up-to-now elusive World Cup. Surprise Package: In terms of a surprise team, look no further than one of the hosts of the 2026 World Cup, the USA. Group B is a favourable one for the US, with an out-of-form England posing the biggest threat. With a number of American stars plying their trade in Europe’s top leagues and the star power of Christian Pulisic, the US could have a successful tournament. Looking like a surprise player, Costa Rica’s 18-year-old forward Jewison Bennette scored twice in a recent friendly against South Korea and bagged on his Championship debut for Sunderland. Boasting blistering pace, Bennette could be one-to-watch for an always entertaining Costa Rica side. Top Goalscorer: Harry Kane. Providing England progress to the latter stages of the tournament, their goalscoring exploits are almost entirely dependent on the Tottenham star. Two World Cup golden boots would be a fitting achievement for one of his generation’s greatest finishers. Player of the Tournament: Lionel Messi. The greatest player to grace a football pitch will light up Qatar on his way to earning the sport’s biggest crown.
World Cup Winner: My heart says England but my head says Brazil. The depths of Brazil's squad at the moment is frightening. This seems to be a different Brazil from yesteryears, less flair and more steel. Surprise Package: Canada. Will they win the World Cup? Unlikely! But there's a chance we could see them progress to the knock-out stages. Their counter-attacks will hurt teams. Top Goalscorer: Gabriel Jesus - Brazil will go far in the tournament. Jesus will get plenty of opportunities and, if he continues his Arsenal form into the World Cup, top scorer definitely isn't far off. Player of the Tournament: This suggestion will all depend on what France team turns up at the tournament. However, if Les Bleus are going to be successful then Aurélien Tchouaméni will be pivotal. Mbappe is their star player but Tchouaméni will be the MvP. Think Kante to Leicester City/ Chelsea success.
World Cup Winner: Expecting for England to win a tournament is the definition of insanity, so I'm not getting fooled this time! Both Brazil and Argentina head into the tournament deserving favourites and whilst I would love the game's greatest ever player - Lionel Messi - to win his first World Cup on his last attempt, I feel Brazil have much more quality, depth and experience to win their sixth World Cup. Surprise Package: Denmark have been a team that have been consistently great at recent international tournaments. Their coach - Kasper Hjulmand - is brilliant and they are set up with players such as Eriksen, Hojbjerg, Maehle, to cause any team trouble Top Goalscorer: There are too many to choose from! If I've tipped Brazil, I guess I'll go with Neymar. It feels like this will be his crowning moment. Player of the Tournament: Again, Neymar. He quite rightly gets his critics but he's unbelievably good.
World Cup Winner: My head, heart and everything else says Argentina. I will be eternally unfulfilled if I don't get to see Messi win a World Cup. Would be a travesty. Surprise Package: Qatar are better than people expect, at home and used to the conditions, a coach from the Barcelona system and not the most difficult group. Chance to play England in the next round if they could nick second place and that has beautiful upset written all over it. Top Goalscorer: Harry Kane will score 7 goals during the group stage and then zero in the knockouts to clinch another ultimately disappointing golden boot. Player of the Tournament: This is always a narrative choice. It'll be a big name player from either a major over-achiever, or a finalist. If the tournament goes the way I'm hoping and fantasising, this will be Messi.
Position: SENIOR JOURNALIST Team: CASINOBEATS
Name: Joe Streeter Position: EDITOR Team: PAYMENT EXPERT World Cup Winner: It’s incredibly hard to look beyond Brazil. Even approaching 40, Thiago Silva has proved that he is a picture of stability and can provide balance to a team that possesses a ludicrous wealth of attacking flair. Few sides will have a bench anywhere near the level of Brazil’s, as the likes of Antony, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha play backup to Neymar and Vinicius Jr. Finding harmony with such firepower is a real challenge, but if Tite can manage this, the Samba boys can blitz to success in Qatar. Surprise Package: Having
54 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
Position: BUSINESS JOURNALIST Team: PAYMENT EXPERT
underachieved at recent tournaments, a favourable group and rise of Dušan Vlahović can see Dragan Stojković’s Serbia side finally achieve some success at a major tournament. If they are to achieve this, it will be largely fuelled by the form of Lazio’s colossal hitman Sergej MilinkovićSavić. If the Serbs can adapt to the Qatari climate, I’m backing them to be a force, especially given their potentially easier route to the last eight. An honourable mention also goes to an Alphonso Davies-driven
Position: MEDIA MARKETING MANAGER Team: SBC MEDIA
Canada side, who can take advantage of an elderly Croatia and navigate into uncharted territory of the last 16. Top Goalscorer: Nobody takes advantage of weak defences on the big stage more viciously than Harry Kane. As much as I predict England awakening from dreams of football coming home early in the knockout stages, Captain Kane can secure the Golden Boot in the group stages. Player of the Tournament: Left field, but having been witness to the brilliance of Antony at Old Trafford already this season - as long as Tite sees sense and starts him, I'm backing the beautiful blonde Brazilian to have a breakout tournament.
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
Name: Louis Field
Position: SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE Team: MARKETING
Position: BUSINESS JOURNALIST Team: LOTTERY DAILY World Cup Winner: Argentina Previous limitations in defence and midfield have been addressed with younger, more athletic individuals who appear to have the requisite hunger and determination to provide the support system for Lionel Messi to end his World Cup heartbreak. Brazil might run them close, France boast the best individuals but perhaps lack the cohesion, and England have Gareth Southgate as manager. Surprise Package: Japan - While traditional big-hitters Germany and Spain are favourites to progress from the group, neither side possess the individuals of the past nor are they displaying any real fluency. Japan could sneak into the knockout stage with a miserly defence and the attacking flair of Kyogo, Kamada et al. Top Goalscorer: Kylian Mbappe France should reach the latter stages of the tournament and with the likes of Australia and Tunisia in their group, Mbappe has the opportunity to rack up the goals early on. Player of the Tournament: Lionel Messi - He won it in 2014 without Argentina even winning the World Cup, so if they go one better here, he’s a sure-fire candidate to claim the prize again. He’s also retained his penchant for the spectacular, so a few eye-catching goals, particularly from free-kicks, are likely to significantly aid his chances.
World Cup Winner: I'm itching to say "It's coming home"...but let's face it, with the inclusion of South American countries such as Brazil, we're in real trouble! Their squad depth is terrifying, the ability between these players is electric, and one injury clearly won't affect them heavily at all, they're stacked in almost every position! The seniority of the backline is crucial, with Marquinhos and Thiago Silva surely being first team names, but with the emergence of players like Bremer and Gabriel Magalhães, the options they have are too good. With other big senior names such as Casemerio, Fabinho, Alisson/Ederson & even Neymar, the younger players really have a lot of star quality to be playing alongside. I think they'll be back with a bang this year, it's been too long for them. Surprise Package: I'm really reaching here...but I genuinely think Canada will surprise quite a few people. They've really solidified a style of play over the last year, and since the emergence of the wonderkids that have cemented their place in the squad, I think we could see a few shock results going their way. The obvious name is Alphonso Davies...but other names such as Jonathan David and
Stephen Eustáquio will be showing off their talents this World Cup, I'm sure of it! Top Goalscorer: Whilst I want to go for a striker from my predicted winner...I think we could still be seeing a good performance from Portugal, with Ronaldo for me being the competition's top goalscorer. With some easier games than others in the group stages, Ronaldo could easily bag 1-2 goals in each game, already throwing him into an incredible position going into the knockout games. I did want to pick Messi, but as it's seemingly both of these players' last international competition, I had to go for Ronaldo as he'll be lining up with the likes of Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes and others who can play a pass better than most. Player of the Tournament: It's gotta be England's Player of the Year... Bukayo Saka! With everything to prove after the Euros, he'll be showing off his incredible talent every time he steps on the pitch. Whilst he's still not making the team over the likes of Foden and Sterling, recent performances off the bench and for his club, will show this boy has bags of quality and more... does it show I'm an Arsenal fan?
Position: MEDIA MANAGER Team: SBC MEDIA World Cup Winner: The history of Golden Generations isn’t great, but it’s time for Belgium’s ageing stars to finally win something. And their route to the last four looks good. Surprise Package: Wales. Despite having a team of youngsters, Football League journeymen and a solitary superstar who effectively retired two years ago, Rob Page’s puzzlingly effective team will reach at least the quarter-finals. Top Goalscorer: Few players are as effective at bullying lesser teams as Romelu Lukaku and the draw gives him the chance to fill his boots in the group stage before struggling in the knockout games. The same logic could apply to Harry Kane, of course. Player of the Tournament: It would be nice to think that in his last World Cup, Lionel Messi will win it by playing well enough to actually deserve the individual honour this time, but I expect Kevin De Bruyne to be the best player on show.
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
Fernando Noodt Molins
Position: SENIOR JOURNALIST Team: SBC NEWS
World Cup Winner: I would like to say England, but I’d also like to win the lottery and sail to Cancún in my new yacht. It might be an easy answer for this World Cup but I think Brazil will win it, European teams have won four in a row and I think now is the time for the pendulum to swing back to South America. They also have a very strong team with some high-quality talent across all positions, with a lot of their players proving themselves time and time again in the Premier League alone. Surprise Package: Poland could have some potential, Lewandowski is tried and tested, is a strong capitan and still has a lot left to give. Their squad also has a lot of players with top-flight experience from Serie A, and I see them getting through their group - although in second place after Argentina of course. This would then likely put them up against France, however, who are the favourite to win their group for a reason, but Les Bleus haven't been as dominant in the UEFA Nations League as they were during the 2018 World Cup. The trophy is also infamous for having a winner's curse in many cases. Top Goalscorer: Messi is the obvious choice here, he’ll get a lot of goals in the group stages and will perform well against anyone beyond that, win or lose. Looking at other players, Kane is the obvious choice for top England goalscorer but I’ve got some faith in Raheem Sterling to repeat his Euros success. He always performs well when he puts the England shirt on. Other players to keep an eye out for are obviously Jesus with Brazil, and I think Mitrović could prove dangerous for a few teams. Player of the Tournament: It could again be Messi, not just based on goals but just his general fluidity as a footballer. Who knows though? Virgil van Dijk or Christian Eriksen could put in some good performances for the Netherlands and Denmark respectively, and as I said for top goalscorer Gabriel Jesus is phenomenal for Brazil.
56 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
Position: SENIOR JOURNALIST Team: SBC NOTICIAS
Position: EDITOR - SBC LEADERS Team: SBC MEDIA World Cup Winner: Let's not kid ourselves here, it's not coming home. Although an England World Cup win just ahead of Christmas would be great, wouldn't it? If I was to back anyone, it would have to be Brazil - they have a solid team for this World Cup and are deservedly a betting favourite. Maybe this could be their sixth win if Argentina don't pip them to it. Surprise Package: Surprise package? I'll have to go with Uruguay on this one. They may not be as potent as they once were with the aging strikeforce of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but in Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, they could have a readymade replacement. The nation has already performed footballing miracles despite its small population of 3.5 million people, and with some young stars rising through the ranks, the team could pose a surprise or two to their Brazilian and Argentine rivals. Top Goalscorer: Given that I've tipped Brazil for a win, I should probably choose a player from there. But that would be too easy. Harry Kane seems to be an obvious choice for anyone backing England, and I reckon he could do quite well, especially in the group stages. Player of the Tournament: At risk of repeating what a few of my colleagues have had to say, it would be nice to see Messi given the honour in 2022.
World Cup Winner: 35 games undefeated, two cups and a solid team make Argentina the top contender. They'll sail through the group stage and have an anticipated final against Brazil, the only other real contender. Whichever team wins that game will lift the trophy and, after beating them at the Maracana Stadium, Argentina look like the favourite. Surprise Package: Ecuador. The South American side will show how organised a team they are in the group stages and have a solid defence and talent enough to shock anyone from Group B. Top Goalscorer: Lautaro Martínez is only second to Messi as Argentina's top goal scorer with 21 goals in 38 games in the Lionel Scaloni era. With an easy group he'll get a head start and play a key role scoring several times for the team. Player of the Tournament: Lionel Messi continues to lead Argentina to success and will show his best World Cup form to get the award for the second time.
Propelling women's sports
THE RISE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS - IDENTIFYING SHARED GOALS WHETHER IT BE THE SUCCESSES of the
Lionesses over in England, or the rising popularity of the WNBA in North America, interest in women’s sports is increasing across the globe, and so too are the number of betting markets
BY CONOR PORTER
arlier this year at SBC Summit North America, industry experts came together for a panel titled ‘The rise of women’s sports - identifying shared goals’ to discuss what is next for wagering on women’s sports, as well as what operators, organisations, and athletes can do to drive fan engagement. Taking part in discussions was Jaymee Messler - Founder of Gaming Society - who was asked by the moderator, Sue Schneider - VP Growth & Strategy, Americas at SBC - where the intersection between women’s sports and the betting industry is. Messler noted that this can be split into two different categories incentivising bettors to wager on women’s sports, and empowering people to bet via education as well as
WE WANT TO USE THE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY TO BE INNOVATIVE AND TO PROPEL WOMEN'S SPORTS FORWARD
58 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
Jaymee Messler, Founder of Gaming Society
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
inclusive offerings and content. “We want to use the growth of the industry to be innovative and to propel women's sports forward,” she stated. “If there's a promotional boost on every sportsbook, if we can incentivise betters to include a women's sports bet in your parlay, or bet on a WNBA game, bet on an NWSL game, bet on an MMA fight and or an Invictus fight. If you're incentivising people to bet you're going to get to know who they are … you have to have equitable lines and odds for women's sports so that people can bet on them.” Messler continued: “The other category, which is a very different one is, empowering women as bettors. That could be betting on the NFL, betting on MLB, betting on NBA, but creating education, creating inclusive products,
WE WANT TO MAKE WOMEN'S SPORTS MORE ACCESSIBLE, WE THINK THIS WILL HELP GROW THE SPORTS THEMSELVES
creating content that is relatable and fun, that makes it less intimidating to bet, so we treat it as two very different things under the bet on women movement.” The Gaming Society Founder was joined on the panel by Lexi Janson, Director of Sportsbook Product at DraftKings, and Shannon Knapp, CEO & President at Invicta Fighting Championships. Janson agreed with Messler, stating that to make sports betting more accessible, more content is needed, which is not just the main lines, but a strong depth of markets and promotions available. “During Women's History Month, we ran a pool that had over 100,000 entries, and it was all related to women's sports entrepreneurs, all that kind of stuff,” the DraftKings Director said. “So running promotions, free-toplay pools, and having the same content, also streaming as well, like we had streaming for the French Open. Just getting women's sports more accessible, we think will help grow the sports. And that's our main aim.”
MY FIRST INCLINATION IS THAT I NEED TO BUILD MORE CONTENT TO CONNECT THE FANS THAT COULD BE POTENTIALLY BETTING Janson added that more education is needed to help bring betting’s split between men and women closer to the 50:50 split we see between men and women in sports fandom, a point which Knapp doubled down on. She said: “I definitely agree with education. Because I don't come from that background, I'm very intimidated, so education is a big deal for me. “Also, as a promoter, I look at this and I say ʼwhat can I do to help people be more successfulʼ as well. When you talk about that content, my first inclination is that I need to build more content to connect the fans that could be potentially betting so they get more familiar with the athletes, and that would then help both companies.” Schneider also brought up the topic of fan engagement for women’s sports
Propelling women's sports
betting for the panel to discuss, asking what strategies and tools work. Free-to-play games were highlighted by Messler as a good way to engage with bettors as not only can they help onboard players, but it also provides users with a fun interactive experience while watching sports. Knapp noted that Invicta provides behind-the-scenes content to show its fans things that will help them feel more informed and connected to the sport, building an emotional connection with their fanbase. The importance of having a female voice was emphasised by Janson when it comes to fan engagement, as she said: “We try to have female voices, so you'll see Jessie Coffield on all of our ads and everything. Also, we have Jessica [Smetana] who does our podcasts. “We feel that it's important to have a
WE DEFINITELY HAVE A LOT TO DO GOING FORWARD AS WELL. THERE'S PLENTY OF GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
60 SBC LEADERS • OCTOBER 2021
strong female voice and just make sure that we're building the products and the content that women want to see, but also for betting on women's sports, the whole breadth of fans can get engaged in women's sports.” Messler also added that having an athlete’s perspective is important for fan engagement, as Gaming Society was cofounded by her and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, while the company’s Vice President of Business Development is former WNBA star, Marissa Coleman. “If you're a current athlete, it's very difficult to be involved in the industry for obvious reasons, but I think it's important,” Messler stated. “One of our priorities is how do we clarify those lines so the athletes can benefit from the industry because it's growing so quickly, but not have it be something that's going to be risky, or have it be something that can get in the way of obviously playing. “Obviously, you can't talk about betting on your own sport, but really making it so there's more sportsbooks in arenas and in stadiums. Sportsbooks are also involved in content. They're involved in other things that are helping people engage in sports
WE REALLY ARE FOCUSED ON EQUITY AND INCLUSION betting without necessarily having to do with betting. “I think there are ways for athletes to be more involved, and they should be. That's something that we're prioritising by having so many athletes involved in the company.” When the panel was asked by Schneider about the future, Janson noted that there’s still a long way to go, but it's an exciting time as there are a lot of growth opportunities. “Even on the content side, there's certainly a long way to go. We're trying to be at the forefront and be a part of the conversation. “We really are focused on equity and inclusion, and I'm really excited. We’ve seen a lot of growth in the industry as well. I'm really happy to be at a company like DraftKings that is really focused on that. We definitely have a lot to do going forward as well. There's plenty of growth opportunities.” •
Don’t follow, lead the way
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
CREATIVE MARKETING DURING THE QATAR WORLD CUP - A ‘VERY, VERY’ DIFFERENT YEAR WITH THE IRREGULAR SCHEDULE OF THIS YEAR’S WORLD CUP,
a shift in conditions now means that marketing campaigns will need to be changed accordingly, with some fresh approaches required in order to really stand out from the crowd. Here we get the views of two marketing luminaries BY JESSIE SALE
ooking ahead to what promises to be an unprecedented FIFA World Cup, Liliana Almeida, Head of Marketing and Communications at Clever Advertising, explained the ways that operators can effectively offset some of the inevitable challenges they will face. “World Cups are always fun to work on,” she said. “They are so unpredictable that the rush ramps up! This World Cup is even more exciting to manage and work because the calendar is overlapping European football and the Christmas Holiday season. “This is a serious challenge for brand exposure and marketing budgets/expenditure. Operators will have to cut through the noise of businesses that want to capitalise on their brands with the event, understand how they can have their players placing bets early in the morning, and fight for a piece of the
family budget that is normally set for Christmas.” Almeida believes this as a ‘perfect example’ of planning and anticipating, warning that any operator that wants to secure customer acquisition and drive revenue must get their campaign planned and aired well before the beginning of the sporting event.
“Not only one will be able to secure the advertising slots that will guarantee visibility but also better deals,” she continued. “As far as players’ behaviour is concerned, betting in the morning is not usual as punters are well accustomed to watching and following their teams later in the day and at the weekends.
AS FAR AS PLAYERS’ BEHAVIOUR IS CONCERNED, BETTING IN THE MORNING IS NOT USUAL AS PUNTERS ARE WELL ACCUSTOMED TO WATCHING AND FOLLOWING THEIR TEAMS LATER IN THE DAY AND AT THE WEEKENDS
Don’t follow, lead the way
Liliana Almeida, Head of Marketing and Communications at Clever Advertising
“Perhaps with the new ways of working, remote and working from home, many will be able to follow the matches and the impact will be lower than expected. Of course, a good grasp of your customer behaviour and preferences will help to define and draw appealing campaigns to minimise the risk. “Operators will also have to be incredibly enticing with their offers to get a piece of the family Christmas budget. Partnerships with a retail businesses could give them an edge. If a punter is betting on their team and reverting their cashing into gifts simultaneously, the motivation to keep them on the operator's platform is higher.” Dean Akinjobi, CEO of Football Media - a digital football advertising agency - suggested that operators should be embracing the fact that this is a tournament that occurs once every four years, as well as the Christmas timing of the tournament. “More fans are likely to be at home and/or out socialising due to the festive period, which will increase opportunities for operators to use creative advertising ideas that align with the season. “Implementing contextually relevant digital advertising across multiple
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Dean Akinjobi, CEO of Football Media
channels, using social media effectively and working with local pubs and sports bar chains on exclusive customer promotional activity during live screening of matches in their locations, are some of the ideas that we have been planning for clients to help to offset the challenges around the timing.” In terms of the peak time to make marketing moves, Almeida suggested that with sporting events of this size, operators should start engaging with customers weeks before the event. “But this year is very, very different,” she said. “A lot is going on that will break customers' attention and choke marketing budgets. Depending on the advertising channels one chooses to work with, effective acquisition marketing moves should have started a couple of months prior to the sporting event.”
THE ABILITY TO CONVEY A MESSAGE THAT FOLLOWS OR DEEPENS ACCORDING TO THE USER’S PATH IS THE ONLY WAY WE GUARANTEE A POSITIVE OUTCOME FOR OUR CAMPAIGNS
Looking into particular past campaigns, the Head of Comms praised the Adidas “All or nothing" campaign for WC 2014 for its creative ideas. “The usage of channels, messages, and explosive through-the-line segmentation is exquisite,” she said. Similarly, Akinjobi noted his company’s World Cup campaign for a food takeaway app where fans would predict the winners of each match based on national cuisines and win a year’s supply of credit. “Taking inspiration from other sectors is key for operators to be different and succeed during the World Cup,” he highlighted. Looking into the benefits of operators diversifying their promotional approach for the tournament across TV, online, social media, print, etc, Almeida suggested that choosing ‘below or above the line’ marketing techniques is ‘hard not to say nonsensical’. “The lines have blurred into a ‘through-the-line' segmentation,” she continued. “The ability to convey a message that follows or deepens according to the user’s path is the only way we guarantee a positive outcome for our campaigns. “What makes the real impact is the storyline. We must pass a clear,
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
engaging, and entertaining message, or we will lose the user’s attention.” Akinjobi shared his view that what is of most importance is that there is a ‘uniformed approach’ when it comes to the delivery of campaigns across diversified channels, to ensure that that campaign message is consistent, so that it delivers the most effective level of impact. “The channels that I think will have the most impact are online and social media,” he said. “Where the campaign message and tonality can be tailored to the target audience across each channel in the most effective way, alongside contextually relevant online content and social media trends and conversations.”
IT’S IMPORTANT THAT OPERATORS TAKE INSPIRATION FROM TRENDS THAT HAVE WORKED ACROSS OTHER INDUSTRY SECTORS AND MAJOR SPORTS EVENTS SUCH AS THE SUPER BOWL Overall, the CEO went on to discuss in further detail that the best way - in his opinion - for operators to make their advertising stand out from the competition is to be different from the competition. “Don’t follow, lead the way,” he expressed. “It’s important that operators take inspiration from trends that have worked across other industry sectors and major sports events such as the Super Bowl. “Working with a wide range of agencies or suppliers that are positioned to help them with innovative standout advertising ideas, campaigns and channels, during this key period of time, will lead to success during the World Cup.” The World Cup, like other major sporting events, elicits a lot of emotion among fans. The pair agreed that operators should utilise this opportunity in their campaign. “There are many types of punters, but the betting base of it is mainly emotional,” Almeida said. “The feeling of winning is the psychological trigger that actions the bet. Here is where I
believe CRM teams will shine. “Assuming the operator has a full grasp of their customers, this game is CRM turf! The noise will be loud and the investments high, but nothing will beat the ability to grip the customer like CRM. That team knows where their punters place their pennies, and they build behaviour and spending clusters that will allow the perfect combo of offers to flow in.” Akinjobi concluded that the tournament is one time that every nation’s fans are fixated on their team’s progress, as well as interest in multiple
other nations that are participating. “An England fan could have a soft spot for a team from Africa or the Brazil national team, or a domestic player at club level playing in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga might have such a strong emotional connection with the club fans at a domestic level,” he explained. “These insights can help operators to connect with fans on an emotional level and be different from their competition when it comes to advertising during the World Cup.” •
13-15 JUNE 2023
Toronto Metro Convention Center
SBC is excited and proud to be bringing a reinvigorated Canadian Gaming Summit to Toronto in 2023 The long-established CGS is already Canada’s premier annual conference and trade show for land-based and iGaming professionals, and SBC will be working in partnership with the Canadian Gaming Association to build on the event’s status and ensure it continues to support the growth of the industry. SBC’s first involvement as organiser of the CGS comes as Canada’s gambling sector goes through a major transformation driven by the opening of single event
betting, which has created multiple opportunities for operators, affiliates and suppliers. CGS 2023 will reflect the changing face of the industry, with a conference agenda and exhibitors that encompass both the newer sports betting sector and the more established casino gaming and lottery verticals, making it a mustattend for every company keen to do business in one of the world’s most exciting gambling markets.
World Cup and Slots
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
EVOPLAY: PUTTING WORLD CUP-THEMED SLOTS ON THE MAP SPORTS AND SLOTS GO HAND IN HAND, with new
Ivan Kravchuk, Evoplay CEO
representative athletes and ex-professionals constantly signing up for lucrative brand deals and ambassadorships to advertise studios’ latest releases. But perhaps the best opportunity to create a hit comes from one the world’s biggest sporting events, the Qatar World Cup 2022
BY DANNY LEE
onducting a fairly atypical strategy, Evoplay released its wager-based title, Football Bet, at the start of summer, almost six months before the World Cup gets underway. Straying away from a standard slot design, the game presents players with 16 national teams and allows them to bet on how far they believe each team can go in a knockout tournament, using odds to inform their decisions. The studio’s CEO, Ivan Kravchuk, discussed how setting an early release has allowed the company to stay ahead of the curve, why the studio avoided a typical slot structure and the effects of a winter tournament on the igaming industry. SBC: Can you walk us through the inspiration behind Football Bet’s tournament-style wagering mechanic and why you strayed away from the typical reel slot titles? IK: We’ve always been interested in offering a diversified product portfolio,
which is why we give so much focus to instant games, with the format serving as a perfect frame for the implementation of any sport-related gameplay.
WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN OFFERING A DIVERSIFIED PRODUCT PORTFOLIO, WHICH IS WHY WE GIVE SO MUCH FOCUS TO INSTANT GAMES
Football Bet is an instant title that has allowed us to cater to two audiences with one product, showcasing a betting feature that both igaming enthusiasts and sports bettors can enjoy. The main motivation for the creation of the game comes from the upcoming World Cup, with the biggest international competition in football stimulating the creation of a series of football-related games. Having conducted considerable research on the behaviour of sports bettors, we have taken traditional
World Cup and Slots
betting and its interface as a basis, providing players with the opportunity to bet anytime and on any event. SBC: Considering that the World Cup is starting in November, was there any particular strategy behind a June release for this title? IK: We have been preparing for the event for some time now and wanted to have time to whet the appetite of our audiences and introduce them to the product.
WE PROVIDE SPORTSBOOKS AND ONLINE CASINOS WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER NON-STOP CONTENT AND INCREASE RETENTION RATES This truly reflects Football Bet’s aim, which is to grip players before the event and keep them interested after it ends. This strategy also allowed us to market the product effectively and develop engaging promotional materials and activities for players. The World Cup dominates Google searches whenever it returns to our screens, and we’re well aware of this phenomenon and thus we will have Football Bet positioned to dominate the igaming space in the winter period. SBC: Many companies have released, or are planning to release, footballthemed slots in the build-up to the tournament. What did you consider to set Football Bet apart from its competitors? IK: First and foremost, it must be noted that we were the first to introduce a product like this to the market. Although the concept is quite simple and refined, we have created a unique product that speaks to both casino and sports betting enthusiasts alike. The upcoming release is the perfect complementary game for sportsbooks, serving as an alternative form of entertainment in between live sporting events. To put a game on the map, we analyse sports audiences to understand their needs even better. Collaborations with influencers, streamers and content creators is one of the main channels here, allowing us to present the
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product directly to its consumers and build awareness about the game. SBC: The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet, to what extent has your company focused on the tournament as part of your 2022 roadmap? IK: Our timeline and strategies have revolved massively around the World Cup as we see enormous potential in the betting landscape for igaming providers. Football Bet is a solution
that delivers an authentic betting experience 24/7, fitting in neatly around the schedule of live sporting events. Thus, we provide sportsbooks and online casinos with the opportunity to offer non-stop content and increase retention rates, even when the sporting calendar is sparse. In addition, during the World Cup and the marketing campaigns associated with it, footballthemed games receive maximum exposure for that window of time. •
WORLD CUP SPECIAL
QUICKSPIN: HOW GAMING STUDIOS CAN CAPITALISE ON AN IMMENSE SPORTING SPECTACLE WITH THE QATAR WORLD CUP 2022 fast approaching,
Quickspin takes a look at whether major sports events can be used to cross-sell slot titles
BY DANNY LEE
head of the World Cup, Sweden-based studio Quickspin developed its own football-themed title, seeing the return of its highlymarketable orange mascots in Spinions Game Day. In contrast to Evoplay’s approach, Quickspin’s upcoming football slot is set for an upcoming October release and follows a standard slot design with 5x3 reels and 10-paylines. Herbert Paradis, a Producer at Quickspin, outlined the company's strategy behind developing Spinions Game Day, telling all on the state of football games in the industry and the firm’s decision to use a returning series for this release. SBC: The World Cup presents an opportunity for companies to attract fans to their platforms and games. How did your studio design this game to pull in new players that may be completely new to slots? HP: Herbert Paradis: The goal was to make a fun game with simple, easy to understand mechanics. Which is why the Spinions franchise was such a good fit. The characters appeal to a broader audience than some of the more, hardcore themes we’ve seen on the market lately. The game mechanics in previous
games were also something that was a factor purely because they're fun and simple to understand for new players. We boosted the potential slightly and tweaked the mechanics to fit the football theme. SBC: Many developers have produced football-themed slots in the build-up to the tournament, how do you believe Spinions Game Day will stand out amongst its competitors? HP: The world of slots is awash with frankly dull football games. They tend to look very much alike with similar artwork and boring mechanics with a goal pick feature. So we wanted to do a different football slot that appealed to both normal slot players and sportsbook bettors who want to try something easy to play and, most
importantly, entertaining. The mechanics of passing wilds ties together well with the football theme and, when you throw in the Spinions as well, coupled with a good balance between theme, art and mechanics, there is no doubt that this game will stand out in a crowd. SBC: Considering that the World Cup is to start in November, was there any particular strategy behind an October release for this title? HP: We wanted to give the operators time to promote Spinions Game Day and give their players time to familiarise themselves with it ahead of the tournament. It also enables any operators that might have missed the initial launch to put it in the schedule before the start of the tournament. •
‘INCREASINGLY COMFORTABLE’ GROUP AIMING TO BUILD ON COLOMBIAN AND MEXICAN MOVES THE EMERGING MARKET nature of many jurisdictions across Latin America has been discussed, and discussed and discussed, the world over for many a year as countless predictions and suggestions have been evidenced on a global scale
BY CRAIG DAVIES
owever, key developments have cemented LatAm’s position of being at the forefront of the industry agenda, with Brazil, Argentina and Peru among those causing fresh optimism at the recent SBC Summit Barcelona. Ahead of SBC Summit Latinoamérica, which will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, between November 1-3, SBC Leaders has been reflecting on moves made thus far, how crucial recent developments have been and plans moving forward alongside Rush Street Interactive. The Chicago-based group, which also has offices in New Jersey and Bogotá, as well as Tartu, Estonia, was the first US gaming company to launch a regulated online sportsbook in Latin America when it debuted the RushBet brand in Colombia back in June 2018. To begin the conversation, Mattias Stetz, RSI’s Chief Operating Officer,
spoke proudly of the moves made thus far in the region; touching upon group strategy regarding a pair of market entries. “RushBet entered Colombia in June 2018, just before the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and from nothing quickly grew into a clear top three player in the market today,” he said. “We entered Mexico on June 30 and, much like in our entry in Colombia, we have used the first couple of months to test the user flows. “We are at a stage where we are increasingly comfortable to increase our marketing investment heading into the peak sports season.” Whether this aforementioned marketing expenditure is reflective of the race to capture share further north remains to be seen, but with a World Cup firmly on the horizon, capitalising on the region’s firm interest in the beautiful game is a necessary short and long-term strategy. Regional interest from those across the Americas comes the way of Mexico, where RSI will look to capitalise on its aforementioned recent entry, in addition to Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada, Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica. However, utilising the popularity of football has firmly been a part of the company’s game plan, with RSI recently extending a Colombia-focused
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WE ARE CONSTANTLY EVALUATING NEW MARKET OPPORTUNITIES IN LATIN AMERICA exclusive La Liga partnership across the wider South America space. This sees RushBet, in a threeseason deal, gain intellectual property rights for the league's top two divisions, LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank, which includes the usage of team names, shields, players' pictures and competition logos. In addition, an array of experiences via ‘money can’t buy’ encounters, giveaways and access to brand ambassadors all form key components of the enhanced deal. “The exclusive partnership with La Liga gives us a unique tool in our marketing portfolio,” continued Stetz when assessing the importance of the agreement in gaining an additional foothold in the area as well as how this will be utilised to drive the RushBet brand further still. “For example, on a weekly basis we are having pick ‘em style contests for
WE ARE MOST EXCITED BY MARKETS WITH LARGE POPULATIONS THAT DISPLAY FAVOURABLE CHARACTERISTICS
La Liga which - by the way - is the most popular foreign soccer league in Colombia. “We also have local events in Colombia with former players of La Liga, and numerous assets including tickets to games in Spain. La Liga is one of the most renowned soccer leagues in all of South America, and gives us a great platform for further expansion in the region.” In July of this year the operator built upon a partnership that was inked alongside Grupo Multimedios earlier in the year by enhancing its LatAm
footprint via the launch of igaming and online sports betting through the RushBet brand in Mexico. Under a 25-year alliance, RSI will operate an online casino, including more than 350 slots and table games, and sports betting countrywide in close partnership with the company, a subsidiary of which holds a licence to operate online gaming in Mexico. The company’s wider interests span multiple industries such as media, sports, entertainment, wines, food, retail and real estate, and dates back almost 90 years.
When examining why the Mexican and Colombian markets were specifically identified as prime candidates to begin a wider charge across LatAm, Stetz cited population and long-term land-based gaming interests as key components. “With 50 million people in Colombia and another 130 million in Mexico, they are two of the largest population markets in Latin America,” he continued. “Additionally, we feel comfortable with the regulations in both jurisdictions from a product (both allowing casino and sports betting) and tax perspective. That gives us a stable foundation for our business in each respective country. “In Mexico we also have a partnership with Grupo Multimedios, a media group based in Monterrey. Both markets also have a strong interest in sports and sports betting along with a well established land-based casino market.” Richard Schwartz, RSI’s Chief Executive Officer, recently spoke of the exciting opportunities presented across the Americas when disclosing the group’s second quarter performance, with current moves in Mexico highlighted as a particular cause for optimism. In addition to declaring a year-overyear improvement in revenue alongside increases in net loss and adjusted advertising and promotions expenses, Schwartz also gave an update on the operator’s progress in Ontario, Canada
WITH 50 MILLION PEOPLE IN COLOMBIA AND ANOTHER 130 MILLION IN MEXICO THEY ARE TWO OF THE LARGEST POPULATION MARKETS IN LATIN AMERICA and Mexico. It was noted that since their respective launches, Ontario’s handle and revenue have “steadily” grown, while the group remains optimistic and “excited” about upcoming marketing campaigns in Mexico. The company also stressed that its total addressable market is $72bn across the US ($62bn), Latin America ($3.5bn) and Canada ($6bn), with fresh expansion certainly being sought as opportunities present themselves. Regarding the moves being taken at a legislative level across the continent, Stetz addressed those market conditions that would hold a particular appeal to RSI while remaining coy on where the company’s path will take it next in its LatAm journey. “While we can’t speak about specific markets, we are constantly evaluating new market opportunities in Latin America,” he ended. “We are most excited by markets with large populations that display favourable characteristics, such as support for both the online sportsbook and casino verticals.” •
21-23 MARCH 2023 INTERCONTINENTAL MALTA
iGAMING DEVELOPMENT, INNOVATION & STRATEGY
A form of entertainment
Moreover, he highlighted that casinos that currently hold land-based licences will be able to obtain an online permit He noted: “The law establishes that the executive branch, through the General Directorate of Casinos, can launch online casino operations (poker, roulette, slots and more), either directly through the traditional system or through current operations that work through the so-called mixed-system.
ONLINE GAMBLING IS “ALMOST A CRUCIAL COMMERCIAL NEED” FOR PHYSICAL OPERATORS IN THE COUNTRY TO MODERNISE THE ENTERTAINMENT OFFERING
’LA CELESTE’ AS URUGUAY SET TO EMBRACE ONLINE GAMBLING AS URUGUAY MULLS OVER NEW REGULATIONS
which would legalise online gambling, Juan Ignacio Juanena discusses why online betting adds a new dimension to entertainment
BY JAMES ROSS
ugust witnessed Uruguay’s online gambling bill take a leap towards becoming law after it was approved by the country’s senate. The bill will now be sent to the region’s House of Representatives for further consideration. If the bill is passed, it would allow the General Directorate of Casinos of the Ministry of Economy and Finance to regulate online gambling in Uruguay. In order to monitor all online gambling providers in the country, a region-wide
register would be utilised. Delving into Uruguay’s potential new regulations, Juan Ignacio Juanena, Interactive Business Manager at Enjoy Uruguay, revealed that the potential of the Uruguayan market, at its highest level, is estimated at around $52m in gross gaming revenue.
THE POTENTIAL OF THE URUGUAYAN MARKET, AT ITS HIGHEST LEVEL, IS ESTIMATED AT AROUND $52M IN GROSS GAMING REVENUE
“Thus, the General Directorate of Casinos can authorise land-based casino games licensees (or even the ones who have a permit to operate in the future) to operate online. “The project that is still pending the approval of the Chamber of Deputies is a new commercial way for land-based operators that already have physical operations in Uruguay and doesn’t allow other companies to obtain a licence to only operate online. “The land-based operation is an essential requirement to obtain an online gaming licence and is even conditional to its existence.” Since the last quarter of 2021, Uruguay has moved forward with the regulation of the market due to a project drafted by the Ministry of Economy. If approved by the Senate, the National Directorate of Casinos would be in charge of redirecting 5% of its gross profits to financing problem gambling programmes. Looking at what the Uruguayan casino operator expects to witness in the country’s online vertical, Juanena stressed that online gambling is “almost a crucial commercial need” for physical operators in the country to modernise the entertainment offering and to be able to adapt it to new technologies and new generations. “Online gambling has existed for over a decade in countries in Europe and the United States,” Juanena added.
A form of entertainment
“Even in Latin America, some countries have regulated the activity many years ago. “Online gambling is one more marketing tool that complements the entertainment offering of land-based operators. There are international studies that have analysed the impact of the online gambling regulation in physical casinos and the results have been very positive for all parties involved. “In Atlantic City, in New Jersey, the activity was regulated in 2013, and land-based casinos received an online licence to either operate independently or with a partner. The results of these operations reflected the importance that online gambling would have in other countries. “Around 80% of the casino online players were new, not land-based players or customers that no longer attended casinos physically. The other 20% were players that were active customers of land-based casinos. “The percentage of customers who are going to share the online and land-based spaces is relatively low, but even within this segment, the statistics show that the value of the omnichannel customer, the one who likes both verticals, ends up increasing.” Predicting when the regulation
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ONLINE GAMBLING IS ONE MORE MARKETING TOOL THAT COMPLEMENTS THE ENTERTAINMENT OFFERING OF LAND-BASED OPERATORS itself would be implemented, Juanena believes that it may take “a few months” but hoped the bill would be in place during the first quarter of 2023. Tackling the question of if there should be a greater focus on responsible gambling, both within Uruguay and the Latin American market as a whole, Enjoy's Interactive Business Manager expressed his opinion that the country has treated the regulation project “responsibly” via the participation of all political and private sectors, as well as the different organisations involved in the industry. He commented: “This project takes into account many things included in other countries’ regulations, their experiences and it also adapts to the local reality in Uruguay, which is a smaller, reduced market, where the jobs and the investment of current operators must be protected. “Limiting online gambling licences
to local operators is a good way to protect Uruguayans, both employees and customers, who will be able to access local support, physical offices, and will have the support of the different operators, which always guarantee greater transparency for the client.” Furthermore, Juanena emphasised that regulation will be a “key point” in the project, stressing that “many issues” in the market depend on it. However, he did state that the models being taken as a reference to online gambling in Uruguay to produce a competitive framework with a “guarantee for all” in taking care of both employees and players. “Free competition between landbased operators, the use of certified independent platforms, the selection of providers that have local permission, the payment methods and responsible gambling policies are key aspects of the regulation and it’s been clear in the discussion of the project,” Juanena added.
LIMITING ONLINE GAMBLING LICENCES TO LOCAL OPERATORS IS A GOOD WAY TO PROTECT URUGUAYANS
IT WOULD BE REALLY IMPORTANT FOR THE COUNTRY TO SET IN THE REGULATION THAT EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY IS ALLOWED TO PLAY, REGARDLESS OF THEIR NATIONALITY “It would be really important for the country to set in the regulation that everyone in the country is allowed to play, regardless of their nationality, considering that today we have a strong tendency of welcoming foreigners in our country, who add to the millions of tourists who enter Uruguay every year. “This audience can generate significant revenue for both operators and the government through taxes. Currently, there are tools that easily verify the location of a person in order to enable access to the game only within the country.” As part of the proposed regulations, casino games will remain under the orbit of the General Directorate of Casino, while other verticals would be under the control of the National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas. Looking into the benefits of such a structure, Juanena explained that the proposed framework respects the current operation and distribution of games of chance in Uruguay. He commented: “Without a doubt, we would have liked this project to allow operators authorised by the General Directorate of Casinos to also operate sports betting, as is the case in the rest of the Latin American countries where the operation of this vertical is open to operators, favouring free competition between the operators and forcing each operator to have a better product, on par with the main sports betting operators at a global level and with competitive odds, but unfortunately this project doesn’t consider that possibility. “It is now important to move forward with this project, and making progress on this is already a big step for the land-based operators. Without a doubt, in the future, Uruguay will have to analyse whether or not to have a single sports betting operator.” Revealing what enticed the
government to regulate the Uruguay online gambling space, Juanena stated that in countries that have been developing online gambling, revenue from the aforementioned sector including sports betting - can, in some cases, reach 50% of the volume of games of chance. Enjoy’s Interactive Business Manager
URUGUAY WILL HAVE TO ANALYSE WHETHER OR NOT TO HAVE A SINGLE SPORTS BETTING OPERATOR
concluded: “In Latin America, Colombia, Argentina and Peru have approved online gambling, and in the rest of the countries it is under discussion. I believe that it is an obligation as a country to regulate an activity that is a reality in the world and that allows physical operators to modernise and offer their clients and non-clients a new entertainment proposal according to the new reality. “Sustained growth above 12% per year for more than 10 years reflects the potential of the industry and the interest of customers around the world in this activity.” •
One to look out for
HIGH 5 GAMES: DIAMONDS, GREEN MACHINES AND RAPID REWARDS ON THE PATH TO GROWTH IF YOU ARE A REGULAR VISITOR to America’s
real-money online casinos, there is one slots brand that you will have noticed more and more often over recent months - High 5 Games
BY MARTYN ELLIOTT
ith hundreds of games released every month, it is difficult for developers to stand out from the crowd and impress both the operators populating their slots rooms and the players logged in to them. Yet High 5 has managed to do it, establishing a status in the top six of the Eilers-Fantini Online Game Performance Report, without having to invest in the type of expensive promotional hullabaloo employed by many rival studios. SBC Leaders has taken a closer look
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at how High 5 has managed to take the low-profile route into the top tier of games developers and become what one of its operator partners described as “one of the suppliers to look out for”.
The story so far High 5’s status among the leading developers in the North American igaming market will come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the company’s progress in 2022. Its list of launches includes FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Rush Street and Loto-Québec across jurisdictions such as New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Ontario, and Quebec. From the outside, it could appear as though the company has managed to race into a position as one of the market leaders over the course of just 18 months. However, the key to understanding the success is to realise that it has not actually raced to its current status. In fact, its rise to the top is based on a longevity that has enabled it to develop a deep understanding of what players want, which it has used to produce games that really perform for operators. Founded by Anthony Singer in 1995, High 5 built its reputation for innovation by developing video slots for IGT’s cabinets and producing such smash hit titles as Da Vinci Diamonds and Golden Goddess. A subsequent move into the online social casino space saw its games reach huge new audiences more than 28 million players at the last
count - and provided the High 5 team with a treasure chest of information about features that work and how to earn customer loyalty. The accrued player insights and game design experience left the company ideally placed to move into real-money gaming when New Jersey’s igaming market went live and then to expand into international territories. High 5’s games are now enjoyed by players in every regulated online casino market around the world, thanks to its partnerships with some of the global industry’s biggest brands. In 2020, with real-money igaming looking set to take off in the US, the High 5 team focused on the engaging products, unique features and promotions, and service levels that would be required to succeed in their home nation. By 2022, those efforts saw the company able to announce new market entries and new partnerships every month.
example, 20 boosted spins. It’s easy to understand why the combination of added in-game excitement and delayed gratification keeps players coming back to High 5’s titles. For operators, Rapid Rewards is proving to be one of the top-performing player retention tools in their armoury. It is also one of the most cost effective, as the model means it is a way for their registered players to enjoy a more entertaining experience without it costing the operators anything. One operator told us: “It's amazing
exposure on the High 5 brand.” Such is the effectiveness of the programme that when you log in to any FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars or WynnBET real money online casino, you are likely to find High 5’s latest games and Rapid Rewards front and centre in the slots lobby. Not that the High 5 team is resting on its laurels, as a host of new engagement features are in development for 2023, including progressive jackpots and gamification elements. The games and rewards programme
Anthony Singer, Founder
It’s about more than just games Obviously, any games developer with ambition needs engaging titles that keep players entertained - and High 5 has hundreds of them. They range from long-running franchises, such as the hugely-popular Green Machine games, to imaginative one-offs including Retro Riches and Cannon Cove. The feature-rich titles were developed using the studio’s philosophy of ‘listen, learn and improve’, which sees the team utilise operator feedback and player data to inform the next generation of games. However, it is not only individual titles that benefit from this approach, it is also the imaginative Rapid Rewards promotional programme that has proved such a hit with operators. Rapid Rewards features a networkwide monthly prize pool that is delivered in-game in the form of random cash prize drops of up to $1,000, feature boosts that create additional chances to win, and super boosts that multiply prizes. Together they work to change the format of a game as it is being played and create an added level of anticipation, surprise, action, and excitement for the player. Unusually, the programme also allows players to defer their promos and use them at a later date, allowing them to begin tomorrow’s play in the knowledge that they have, for
IT'S AMAZING HOW HIGH 5 WAS ABLE TO PUSH RAPID REWARDS OUT SO QUICKLY AND CONTINUE TO MODIFY AND PERFECT IT AS THEY GO how High 5 was able to push Rapid Rewards out so quickly and continue to modify and perfect it as they go. It's easy to launch, minimal effort from our side and automatically increases
are backed by something else that operators really value - a commitment to great levels of service. From established relationships with regulators and making integration as painless as possible to a willingness to develop individual plans for each operator partner dependent on the demographics of their player base, the focus is on service rather than gimmicks. As one satisfied operator puts it: “This partnership doesn't feel like work, it's fun and rewarding to work together.” •
Cash continues to be king
HOW PAYSAFE IS FINDING NEW WAYS TO FACILITATE LATIN AMERICA’S CASH DOMINANCE SBC LEADERS DISCUSSES PAYSAFE’S NEW VENTURES into
Latin American countries such as Argentina, how the payment firm is looking to bring new and innovative cash-based payment methods to the market and why the region is still dependent on cash
BY CALLUM WILLIAMS
iving in an age of digital payment evolution can often blind people to the importance of cash, particularly when it pertains to different markets and their dependance on it. Despite open banking becoming a revolutionary tool for embedded finance, and mobile app payment methods being the preeminent payment option for the new
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generation, cash has maintained its position as a fundamental option for people that has been tried and tested throughout decades. Nowhere is this more true than in Latin America. According to Paysafe’s CEO of eCash for Latin America, Gustavo Ruiz Mayo, “cash continues to be king” in the South American region. SBC: Firstly Gustavo, Paysafe has recently launched its services in
Argentina. What intrigued the group about the Argentinian market and what potential do you see in it? GRM: If you look at the multiple market scene, Argentina is one of the more important markets. It’s interesting to see that Argentina has evolving technology, you have a lot of the larger e-commerce companies coming out of there. So it's a big opportunity to serve and extend our services to those companies as well as the local players in the market, I feel we have a very strong value to alleviate some of the needs for consumers down there as well as all the transactional capabilities.” SBC: Do you have any insight into what are the most popular digital payment methods and is cash still highly prevalent in LatAm? GRM: Cash continues to be king in most
markets. You see all these networks across multiple markets where they have enabled cash with real-time confirmation. You’ve got all these retail places taking cash and now they have enabled that confirmation and we’re connected to those networks, owning that relationship. This gives companies an advantage, if an international merchant wants to go into the region with one single connection we are enabling access to all those payment points, we can collect in local currency and convert that payment into the currency of origin - it’s something that gives us a competitive advantage over other players.
CASH CONTINUES TO BE KING IN MOST MARKETS Depending on the maturity of the market, and how the financial industry is pushing the service, you’ll see the customer adoption which starts with peer-to-peer transactions, business-toperson. The real value for the merchants is the access to the network, but also access to a different complementary segment of the population and the ability to process to multiple channels through real-time confirmation. Instead of the merchant going to the market establishing their identity, and then having all the backend processes to reconcile treasury processes, that’s what we aggregated, and that’s what makes our value of position so strong across the whole of Latin America. SBC: How have the acquisitions of SafetyPay and PagoEfectivo helped to improve Paysafe’s presence in the South American region? GRM: I think it was a big strategic move for the company, because between both companies we’re definitely market leaders in the payment method scene in Peru, and the combination of SafetyPay and Pago now both integrated under Paysafe gives the company the largest network in terms of reach, not only from cash collection points but reach throughout the banking system to enable bank transfer capabilities. We cover about 85-90% of the most important banks in each of the markets. For example in Brazil, we
have coverage with Banco de Brazil, Cash Enomica, etc., same with Mexico and Chile, similar with open banking in the UK. We enable those services with direct connections to banks, we are really building that connectivity or ACH capabilities across the multiple markets which makes it a very strong offer. If you add to that, not only bank branches that we cover, this gives a much stronger foothold for the services we provide: Paysafecard, NETELLER, Skrill, Paysafecash, this gives access to a significant portion of the population. What we’re pursuing is the bank
WHEN YOU LOOK AT LATAM FROM ABROAD, YOU MAY LOOK AT IT AS A REGION, BUT THERE IS NO COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH
customers that want to pay with other alternative products and/or bank customers who want to pay with cash.” SBC: What are some of the eyecatching differences Paysafe found when first entering into the LatAm region when it comes to payment technology and development as opposed to Europe and the US? GRM: When you look at LatAm from abroad, you may look at it as a region, but there is no cookie-cutter approach. Every market is different, every tax reg is different, so when you move into LatAm you have to move market to market, identify the difference, see what the customer behaviours are and then implement adequate technology to serve those end consumers. In Brazil, it is extremely developed and concentrated and so you have four big players in the market. But there is still an opportunity from a tech perspective as a tech company to provide access to merchants and
Cash continues to be king
consumers to enable those payment processing capabilities, and this is the opportunity we are bringing to merchants. The maturity of the markets to more developed countries is still underdevelopment which is quite fragmented. This gives us the opportunity to interconnect. For example, in Europe you have SEPA instant where you can do instant transfers. In the UK you have open banking.
THERE IS STILL A LOT OF CASH GOING AROUND, IT DOES NOT SEEM TO BE DISAPPEARING What you find in LatAm, the development of the infrastructure is more in the latter stages, you don’t have the interconnectivity and that impacts the ability for the customer to buy. That’s why implementing this network we’ve been able to attract this new segment and complement the services from a tech standpoint.” SBC: How does Paysafe’s eCash solution help customers achieve a seamless and frictionless payment journey? GRM: It's a very simple product. You go to the merchant checkout page, once they click on it you receive a bar code, go to the channel, present the bar code you pay and immediately receive credit and we confirm this to the merchant, collect the funds and send it over to the merchant. It’s a very efficient way to process payments. There is still a lot of cash going around, it does not seem to be disappearing. It’s a good opportunity to get a bigger segment of the population. Brazil has a population 220m-230m, bank penetration is close to 50% and only 40% of those customers have a credit card, and only 10% have an international credit card. So imagine that you want to buy from an int merchant, by enabling this cash solution, the customer can pay with basic cash and the merchant gets credit immediately, no fraud or chargeback an advantage over credit cards. This gives an advantage to the customer as they can purchase services or products that are not
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available in the market but can through this means.” SBC: Are there services Paysafe is hoping to launch in countries such as Argentina and Bolivia in the future? GRM: We’re improving some of the payment options from our Paysafecash functionality, which is the primary focus; going replicating the same model we have launched in other markets, replicating what has proven successful and providing access to this customer service. I think it's an exciting opportunity and lowers the costs of operation for
THE LATAM STRATEGY IS TO CONTINUE TO INCREASE OUR SHARE OF PARTICIPATION IN EXISTING MARKETS
merchants, improves the payment process capabilities, and then strengthens our position across the region as a leader in alternative payment methods. SBC: Are there plans for Paysafe to expand into other LatAm countries in the future? GRM: The LatAm strategy is to continue to increase our share of participation in existing markets. Argentina is the next foothold, and once we have consolidated that, we tend to be conservative in terms of our approach to make sure we provide value to our partners and the network. We take a very step-by-step approach so we can continue that leadership and enable much better options for our constituents, but we will definitely continue growing not only in the markets we have but potentially other markets in the future.” •
Stepping up to the plate
ZERO MISTAKES AND MINIMUM FRICTION AT THE HEART OF OKTO’S CONTINUED LATAM GROWTH FOUNDER & CEO FILIPPOS ANTONOPOULOS provided
insight on what is fuelling the rapid expansion of OKTO as the firm continues to venture into new regions BY JOE STREETER
he Latin American market is one of the fastest growing on the globe when it comes to gaming, therefore payment firms in the region are proving pivotal as the user experience takes centre stage. With a focus on eradicating friction, OKTO has stepped up to the plate in the region, and the firm’s Founder & CEO Filippos Antonopoulos shared with SBC Leaders why the market holds such an allure for the group and how it is standing out to players and operators. SBC: OKTO’s payment platform and technology is driving payment innovation for big brands in Europe. Now you are entering Brazil and Latin America. Can you tell us why this market is attractive for OKTO? FA: Across LatAm, as in the rest of the world, we've seen the evolution from cash-centric societies to more and more dynamic digital payments markets. This trend accelerated during the pandemic, coupled with the state’s ongoing efforts to drive financial inclusion. Brazil’s economy and population, paired with the rapid evolution of the payments industry, championed by the
introduction of pix, make it one of the most attractive marketplaces. Similar trends with similar digital successes are being witnessed across all major Latin American economies, including but not
limited to Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile. However, success in the intensely competitive Brazilian payments market will still require cutting-edge innovation and deep localisation.
Stepping up to the plate
SBC: Digital Payments are growing fast in Brazil, being an attractive market for more and more payment providers. What services are you offering and how can the OKTO offering further accelerate digital payments adoption in Brazil? FA: Wherever we operate we do so in partnership with the local industry in order to deliver payment solutions to meet the specific needs of businesses and consumers in the omnichannel gambling, leisure, and entertainment sectors. This strategy is working extremely well across Europe and now in Brazil. OKTO's payment platform offers choices and convenience that are important markers of connected economy payments that handle anything from cross-border transactions to real-time payments - pix-in & out, boleto, as well as the innovative eVoucher solution OKTO.CASH. Wherever and whatever the solution we offer is, reliable interconnectedness is at the core, achieving the highest rates in payin and out along with the seamless real-time payment experience that consumers crave.
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SBC: With so many players in the market, what would you say are the key differentiators for your Real-time Payments including pix & OKTO.CASH? FA: I’ll double down on what I previously said. Zero mistakes and minimum friction at all business and consumer touchpoints. Brazilian consumers will quickly shift their payments to faster, more exciting methods or even will change the e-commerce platform that they are using. The excellent customer
dropped transactions, on top of already boasting the highest success (conversion) rates in the market today. By successfully innovating across the entire supply chain, we are able to drive down the cost of any operator, without compromising quality of service. And, of course, we make sure that all funds across all payment methods are aggregated and therefore combined into a single liquidity pool that makes deposits and withdrawals fast and easy to manage.
BRANDS MUST SUPPORT CONSUMERS WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS, REDUCING FRICTION AND INCREASING SECURITY TO DRIVE CONVERSIONS AND LOYALTY payment experience, the real-time nature of payment methods along with no failures in the completion of transactions are the perfect blend of our solutions. Brands must support consumers with the right tools, reducing friction and increasing security to drive conversions and loyalty. OKTO spends significantly on actually co-operating its payment solutions, by actively handling responsible gaming, chargebacks,
SBC: Can you tell us about the adoption of OKTO’s solution in Brazil? How has the payment journey been embraced in the region? How vital is the OKTO offering to ensure that consumer desires are met as the payment journey becomes increasingly digitised? FA: The many advances that are occurring on what seems a daily basis are delivering previously unthinkable flexibility and speed across all our
solutions. We see at OKTO the opportunities and recognise the challenges, and we certainly know the most important work we do is to strive to meet our customers' and their customers' needs on a daily basis and protect their security while ensuring seamless payment experiences. The very high success rate in deposits and payouts speaks for itself about how our payment journey is embraced by the Brazilian players. What is essential for us is to remain focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. We are not in the business of merely competing with other payment and technology companies for new capabilities. Instead, we share a goal to ensure that the fundamentals of payments remain reliable, transparent and secure, so consumers and merchants feel safe and confident in line with the rules and technology. Our mission is to deliver a payment platform focused on security, reliability, innovation and the seamless integration of a variety of global and local payment forms and factors. In this way, we support all payment transactions in their ability to remain
frictionless for consumers and in realtime, meeting the different demands of various end-users’ generations. SBC: Lastly, could you share some insights into the deals OKTO did with operators and casinos such as Kaizen, Codere, Gausselman and the Hippodrome. Do you anticipate the same with operators in Brazil and South America, following the lead of the big European players?
WE ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF MERELY COMPETING WITH OTHER PAYMENT AND TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES FOR NEW CAPABILITIES FA: It’s a fantastic sign of confidence from brands that are not only established as leading European and global operators, but are also widelyrecognised as industry trendsetters. UK brands of Gauselmann Group were the first adopters of our cashless solution, being the first in Europe that launched instant cashless payments directly on gaming machines to meet their customers'
demands. Hippodrome was the first in the casino side introducing OKTO to its visitors via a fully-embedded solution in the Hippodrome app, being always in the front line of digitalisation. On the online and omnichannel side, Codere undertook an extensive due diligence process when choosing OKTO and our omnichannel partnership is a testament to the effectiveness of the award-winning technology and compliance that lies behind our solution. Kaizen was the first to have ‘phygital’ payment experiences with OKTO.CASH via our partnership, and our cooperation is based on our common belief that a digitised, seamless, and secure payment experience forms an integral part of players' overall experience. The speed of change and the adoption of the digital methods of OKTO we are witnessing in Europe and the UK has never been greater or more exciting. It is taking place in every region and in every industry, we are involved in - and Latin America is certainly not an exception •
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