Countries nearer the US border tend to prefer US-style bets, while those further south have more in common with Europe in terms of culture and so often favour European-style bets on racing.
That was a key message from Angel Calderón (pictured), Digital Sales Manager at SIS, as he spoke about his company’s pursuit of new customers in Latin America (LatAm) – where he stressed horse racing is a “lot more popular than people think”.
He explained why understanding the intricacies of the market is key to success in the region, while education still has a part to play – about both the right formats to deliver the most competitive racing and the benefits of a fixed odds model in places where pool betting has been culturally favoured.
SBC: LatAm has a surprisingly strong racing heritage. Does that make things easier for SIS when appealing to new customers in the region? Or is education still required when delivering racing content to new markets?
AC: Horse racing is very popular in South America, a lot more popular than people think. Through our 24/7 Live Betting Channels product we provide coverage to customers globally for 13,000 LatAm races a year. It’s a similar story for greyhound racing too. LatAm countries have their own racetracks and receive greyhound racing streams from the US and Mexico, so the heritage is there.
However, help with new rules still remains key when targeting new customers in the region. Those LatAm countries that have access to US and Mexican greyhound racing will be used to having the opportunity to bet on eight-dog races, whereas in the UK and Ireland there are only six runners, which we believe is the right format to deliver the most competitive racing action.
We therefore need to educate customers in the relevant LatAm countries on the benefits of having six runners rather than eight. Simply put, fewer entries provide a greater betting experience when they’re within touching distance of each other, while providing better margins for operators.
When it comes to the US and parts of Mexico, there’s an existing culture of favouring pool betting, while in Europe fixed odds have proven to be very popular with bettors. We’re looking to inform operators that this model can provide greater transparency, with bettors knowing how much they will win from the start which can be a preferred option and can offer an improved experience.
SBC: And how do you assess the existing LatAm landscape from a regulatory perspective? How much growth are you seeing in the marketplace at present?
AC: It’s a pivotal time for us in the LatAm market as more countries are introducing regulatory frameworks for the first time. Countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Panama have had regulated betting for a long time with a more mature landscape, but other markets are improving and taking shape such as Brazil, Peru and Argentina.
A country the size of Brazil obviously holds huge potential, with studies suggesting that once it becomes a regulated market, it could eventually rise to being the third biggest market in the global betting industry.
We have identified these emerging new opportunities as important areas of focus for SIS in the coming months, while also continuing to build upon our successes in the regions where we already have strong operator relationships.
With LatAm holding a strong racing heritage as well as a passion for other products such as esports and numbers betting, we have an array of services we feel can be a huge success within the region.
SBC: When approaching LatAm, how important is it to tailor your approach to specific markets/countries rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach?
AC: It’s vital to tailor your approach in LatAm as every country is completely different. Viewing the region as multiple markets represents an opportunity when you consider how trends differ across the continent. From a geographical perspective, we can clearly see how markets operate differently as you make your way further down the map.
For instance, those countries nearer the US border tend to prefer US-style bets and are more focused on the US racing tracks, while further south in the likes of Chile and Argentina, these countries have more in common with Europe in terms of culture and so often favour European-style bets.
In horse racing, the most popular European-style bets tend to focus on each way, tricast or picks, whereas in the US there are a much larger variety of markets on offer, such as quinellas or exactas.
The key is understanding these differences across the LatAm region and to know how to customise our offers to appeal to these respective styles. At SIS, we have the experience required to understand the intricacies of the LatAm market, alongside the respect gained from our standing in Europe.
SBC: Taking a step away from racing, esports has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity. What role will your Competitive Gaming product play in appealing to new audiences in LatAm?
AC: Last year saw esports betting enjoy significant traction with new customers experiencing the vertical for the first time and it’s been no different in LatAm.
Interest in esports has been high for the last few years, and that popularity has only continued to grow. Alongside our racing products, SIS Competitive Gaming presents operators with the opportunity to expand their offering even further.
We now offer 24 hours of SIS Competitive Gaming content per day via streams from Las Vegas and the UK, with around 16,500 live events a year, meaning operators in the region will be able to integrate the product with ease to complement their current offering.
Competitive Gaming’s output features sports-themed events and offers markets and bet types that are familiar to current sports bettors. Alongside this familiarity, the short-form betting opportunities that the product provides will also appeal to LatAm audiences, with NBA2K20 games featuring five-minute quarters for bettors to watch and bet on – which is in contrast to some esports matches in the region that can typically last for up to a few hours.
SBC: And finally, SIS has acquired full ownership of the 49’s numbers betting product. Will this be a key product when targeting new markets in LatAm moving forwards?
AC: We’re very excited about delivering our 49’s numbers product to LatAm customers and believe it will resonate with a wide audience, especially when you consider the influence of lotteries across the region. The format of numbers betting will be easy to understand for those familiar with draw games, which provides the opportunity for operators to scale up their offering. In areas such as Venezuela, Peru and Columbia, we are hopeful 49’s will have a key role to play.
Much like SIS Competitive Gaming, our Numbers products complement our core racing offering throughout the day to provide a perfect fit and are simple for operators to integrate.
From our research, we have discovered that customers in the LatAm region are looking for new types of products when it comes to betting. We see 49’s as a new brand of Numbers product for the region, one with plenty of new markets, as we seek to win over these new audiences.