Panel: Lack of online regulation slowing down LatAm market growth

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A lack of online regulation and a dependency on the retail sector is slowing down growth in the Latin American (LatAm) gambling market, according to a roundtable discussion on the region.

Currently, the online gaming market in LatAm remains largely unregulated, although Brazil is in the early stages of regulation and Argentina’s capital city Buenos Aires has set in place a plan to legalize online gambling.

The retail sector in the region has been heavily affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut the majority of land-based venues over the past 12 months.

Speaking as part of a roundtable panel on the LatAm market, BetGames.TV sales director, Eddie Morales, said that a lack of online regulation and a dependency on cash are some of the elements holding back the region’s growth.

Speaking to Gaming America, Morales said: “We’re looking at several elements that conspire to slow down LatAm’s market growth. Starting with the lack of online regulation, which certainly hinders outside interest, as well as an excessive dependency on retail and the use of cash, which covers a largely uncontrolled grey area.

“Arguably, this can also be further compounded by the fact that player value in the region is lower than other more developed economies where many more options to gamble legally exist locally, and with a tax return to the government that contributes to the economy.

“The market’s come a long way but it’s still an emerging and in many ways, unbalanced region. In my opinion, the regulation of Brazil, when fully deployed across all verticals and channels, will mean the start of a real era of maturity and the ability to define the continent as one that is healthy and flourishing."

BtoBet founder Alessandro Fried agreed that the use of cash and lack of credit card usage factors for why the region has been slow to migrate to online.

Fried said: “Regulatory aspects aside, it is a well-known fact that the region is characterised by a low penetration of credit cards.

“This is the primary reason why retail has been such a predominant factor in the region. Only now is the market registering strong shifts towards digital, while adapting to a significant change in consumer behaviourism throughout the past months brought about by the pandemic.

“Nonetheless the market is playing catch-up, and more and more payment solutions are becoming available for operators vastly reducing the digital transactional gap between operators and their players.”

You can read the full article in the March/April edition of Gambling Insider magazine, soon to be published.

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