The Gambling Industry in LATAM
While Europe holds the largest online gambling market in the world, the iGaming industry has taken a special interest in the LATAM market over the past years. The increase in finding top candidates for jobs in LATAM-focused companies has just increased and we are partnering with both gaming operators and software providers. But, what is LATAM? Who is part of LATAM?
More and more users have joined online gaming operators and become active users of sports betting and playing casino games. With this accelerated growth, the iGaming industry has started to consider LATAM as an excellent opportunity for expanding its services. LATAM is the abbreviation for Latin America, a continent with many developing countries where the online gambling market has gained importance over the past couple of years. It’s a fast-growing market, traditionally sportsbook-dominated, and with a widespread increase in online activity spurred by the Covid-pandemic.
Countries in LATAM
LATAM is located in the south of the American continent, though it includes Mexico and some Central American countries. Although the country list is pretty extensive, not all these countries participate in the iGaming market. The big geographic differences between all the countries in the continent make it necessary for iGaming operators to understand their users, cultures, and gambling habits. Firstly, let’s see which are the main countries that belong to Latin America:
• Argentina (Codere and Bet365 have big ambitions)
North and Central America
• Costa Rica
• El Salvador
• Mexico (keep an eye on Ganabet which is growing!)
The LATAM gambling market
Considering that online casinos have only started to gain popularity over the past few years, the users have a very different gambling culture from European users. Only with a deep understanding of the LATAM market, operators can create specific strategies and products to target the audience. Technology and innovation go hand in hand, it will develop new and exciting product portfolios but it’s always important that operators can differentiate countries and cultures.
One important aspect to take into account in the betting market in LATAM is that more than half of all gaming activities go through mobile devices. In fact, in 2021 mobile gaming had a massive growth of close to 20%. This means that operators looking to expand to this continent have to develop mobile apps for their online casinos and sports bets.
Unlike other countries where users have a developed gambling culture, in LATAM, social media channels haven’t had a big impact yet on the gambling business. According to market experts, gaming market growth is driven by referrals, word-of-mouth, and search engine results.
Popular payment methods in LATAM
In the UK and other countries in Europe, credit cards are the favorite payment method for online gamblers. However, this is not the case in LATAM, which makes this one of the key differences between markets, and payment methods have always been a tricky challenge to solve. In 2020, MasterCard shared a report that stated that only 55% of adults in LATAM have a bank account and only a small 19% have a credit card.
Latin-American users usually prefer to use bank transfers that are processed instantly, but this means that operators need an effective payment processor to ensure all payments are done accordingly within the right time frame. That’s why local payment agents have been so influential in the market.
As we mentioned before, gambling culture and specifically iGaming is still developing in the country, and this is the reality not only for users but for financial institutions as well. As a result, there is a strong mistrust of the industry, and some banks even refuse to process any transaction for casinos or sportsbooks.
Many users prefer DineroMail, a transfer solution available for gamblers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. DineroMail combines the features and functions of a payment processing system and an e-wallet or electronic wallet.
Another great alternative is the Lobanet network which operates all across LATAM and promotes cooperation among banks to ensure transactions are processed more effectively.
In Mexico, one of the 2 largest gambling markets in LATAM, there are other valuable options as well: Teleingreso a Spanish solution that allows deposits in the country; and, Todito Cash a local electronic payment system.
Mexico and Argentina: LATAM iGaming leaders
While Colombia, Peru, and Brazil have many active users, the main interest for iGaming operators is in Mexico and Argentina, both have the largest markets.
Let’s see some key characteristics of each country and its gambling market:
• Mexico Online Gambling Regulations
Some argue that the Mexican law has many grey areas regarding online betting. However, legal experts ensure the Gaming Regulations of the Federal Law on Games and Raffles allow online gambling. The Dirección General de Juegos y Sorteos is the regulatory organism in the country that guides the gambling market, including remote gambling centers or online casinos and sportsbooks.
A curious fact about the Mexican gambling legislation is that people within the territory can gamble online, but only with offshore-based sites. Local gambling platforms don’t have the license to operate for citizens in the country.
When it comes to sports bets, Mexican gamblers enjoy a variety of sports, especially many that include animals, such as horse or dog racing. One of the most common attractions for Mexicans is attending the hippodromes while enjoying a Michelada Clamato a drink made with Corona beer and tomato juice.
• Argentina Online Gambling Regulations
As the gambling market started to grow rapidly, Argentina had to get to work on creating laws to regulate online gambling. However, these regulations are not applied on a federal level, but provincial, meaning each province is in charge of granting licenses and overseeing compliance with the laws.
The country’s capital, Buenos Aires, was the first city in Argentina that legalized online betting, which caught the attention of many iGaming operators, and the iGaming and betting industry generates around $2.4 billion annually for the national treasury.
It is well known how much Argentinians love sports in general, whether it be watching them, participating in them, or even betting on them. There are 4 main categories the Argentinians enjoy betting on:
• Boxing and UFC
Football is king in Latin America and betting on soccer markets dominates the gambling turnover by offering domestic leagues, 1X2 markets, popular events, and a special focus on LATAM players in European leagues.
As Latin American markets continue to mature, there is considerable room for development, both in terms of product innovation but also the fine-tuning of regulation. Regulation, technical development, and recruitment of top candidates will be key drivers in shaping the Latam iGaming landscape, but we are seeing a very significant market growth that will accelerate over the coming years headed by countries like Argentina and Mexico. International operators will join forces with local product owners to improve technology and innovative product ideas and there is no doubt the pandemic has helped to educate local punters about gambling online and new player bonuses.
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