Brazilian Roundtable with Betbazar

betbazar, brazilia, latam. igaming

News of Brazil regulating gambling has dominated industry headlines over the past six months – and with a sports-mad population, the sense of opportunity for operators is tremendous. But what do companies need to consider before entering the Brazilian market? Should sports betting take centre stage or is there also opportunity for iGaming to flourish? - Q&A with COO Betbazar Max Sevostianov

1. Brazil has been a major talking point for many across the industry; for you, what are the keys to success in this market?

In my opinion, it’s no real surprise that Brazil has become such a big talking point in the industry. You have to remember that this is a country with a population of over 215 million – making it far and away the biggest LATAM market – and with regulation now underway, it’s easy to see why more and more operators have become interested in entering the country. In terms of what will make them successful over there, I think as with any developing market, the most important thing is to properly understand the audience there and prepare your product in line with local preferences and other cultural nuances. One way to improve this understanding is to form partnerships with companies that already have some local expertise, as this can provide valuable insights and facilitate a smoother market entry. Of course, regulatory compliance should also be taken into account when looking to establish a foothold.

2.  Many have predicted that Brazil is going to become an extremely crowded market. What strategies should companies use to stand out from the competition? Are there perhaps any lessons that can be taken from other markets to shape their Brazil expansion plans?

As I see it, it mainly comes down to innovation and differentiation – both of which are important in our industry irrespective of the market you’re targeting. You have to really understand the preferences of the market and what the audience likes, as this will in turn enable you to improve the quality of your product, the services you provide and how you communicate effectively with customers, clients and partners. In Brazil specifically, we know that sports betting – particularly on football – is currently way more popular than casino, so you should lean into product development and engagement strategies that take this key consideration into account. This way you can develop things like loyalty programmes and bonus schemes that really resonate with customers, rather than offering the same services that have previously proved successful for you in other markets. We can, of course, add to this unique designs and a personalised customer experience, both of which can help you to stand out.

3. Brazil is often seen as being synonymous with sports, but with iGaming also being included in Bill 3,626/2023, how can online casino companies effectively tap into the country’s sports-mad population?  or should they try distance themselves from sports entirely?

From my perspective, it should be a goal for any company in any market to try to connect these two verticals and ensure a smooth transition from sportsbook to casino and vice versa. One of the ways we’ve seen operators go about this is by developing sports-related games or games that are tailored to tie-in with specific sporting events, as this can help leverage customers’ existing passion for sports and direct it to other areas of your business. Again, knowing your customers and what cross-sell opportunities are likely to appeal to them – along with the ideal time to target them once they’ve logged in – is a big part of successfully integrating your sportsbook and casino offerings and I believe if you’re only focusing on one, you’re probably not approaching the market efficiently. You could, for example, have loyalty programmes that award a free sports bet after a certain amount of casino play.

4. What do you envisage as being the biggest challenges within the Brazilian market and how do companies effectively navigate these hurdles?

From a technology perspective there are a couple of major things that stand out. The first is the issue of online security and data protection, which is something of a hot topic in Brazil. In 2022, the country suffered from a series of cyber-attacks and since then security has ranked as a key consideration for the vast majority of customers. It will therefore be very important that operators offer – and are able to demonstrate – a high standard for data protection and online payment processing and I imagine this will be something that figures heavily in the decision to grant any online gaming licenses. Secondly almost half of the country’s population is based in metropolitan areas – with the “big three” being Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro – where internet penetration is very high and most people are using their smartphones to access sites on public transport. Operators must therefore be prepared to offer a mobile-first product to cater for this demographic, which accounts for almost 150 million users.

5. Is Brazil the next 'global powerhouse' for betting or will it still be a while before the 'sleeping giant' fully awakens?

To my mind Brazil is already a powerhouse in betting in many respects. It’s an existing market that’s projected to be worth around $1.97 billion in 2024, but its real potential lies in the fact that it’s about to become a regulated market. This obviously holds a lot of appeal for operators as the requirements in terms of providing security and safety for players are far clearer, which in turn enables them to provide a higher standard of content. Given the country’s population and the popularity of sports in the region, there’s a huge amount of potential users that – although not currently active – may be interested in playing at regulated sites in the future, so I believe over the coming months and years we’re going to see incremental growth in Brazil in terms of revenue and the number of well-known operators offering their services there. Of course, this will increase the level of competition and make it harder for new operators to break through, but this is usually the main hallmark of a thriving market.