CEO Alex Leese shares his thoughts on ‘tropicalisation’ and what the most essential consideration for operators looking for a piece of the action is with Gaming Intelligence
With Buenos Aires Province now online, how do you see the future of Argentina’s iGaming market?
Argentina’s total gambling market was estimated at $415m late last year, with all but 7% of it generated by retail revenues. Of course, we have yet to see the final impact of COVID-19 on that figure, after land-based casinos were shuttered for safety reasons. Needless to say, it is likely to be significant. Yet, so too will be the increasing percentage of those wagering online, out of necessity as much as anything, as retail loses market share. Unsurprisingly, the news hasn’t been lost on the government, who recently increased online taxes from 2 to 5 per cent.
Fortunately, the Province of Buenos Aires has provided us with a blueprint for the future; seven operators were handed the opportunity to set up online, and it remains to be seen whether Buenos Aires City will follow the authorisation model, as opposed to concessions, and whether that model will prevail in the rest of the country. While we wait to hear, sportsbook brands have much to ponder.
For those out of town, and particularly European operators looking for a piece of the action, local contacts will be essential in the absence of a formalised procurement process. Knowing people that know the regulators, politicians, sporting associations and football clubs will be worth its weight in gold. The ones that secure the best sponsorships and get their brand right from a local perspective will be the winners.
The product also needs to be spot on too. I’ve heard a lot of patronising talk about ‘tropicalising’ content recently – and I couldn’t disagree more. Clearly, products need to be ordered correctly and additional bingo and video bingo needs to be included alongside local payment options, but Argentinian customers are no less sophisticated than their counterparts elsewhere in Latin America or Europe. There may well be merit in providing more advanced options like esports, in fact, which have a sole online focus and can act as a recruiting sergeant for the next generation of customers.