BtoBet: Colombian operators should ‘move towards an evermore digital betting experience’

Developing markets platform provider BtoBet has recommended that Colombian operators should begin to ‘move towards an evermore digital betting experience’ in a bid to diversify their offerings.

As revealed in its ‘Colombia Shifting from Retail to Online’ report, only 9.4% of total gaming revenues for the first half of 2019 were generated by the online gaming sector, despite the market being open to new licensees since 2017.

So far only a small proportion of the country’s 50 million-strong population has opted to open online gambling accounts following the liberalization of the market.

As internet penetration levels are registered at 69%, an increase of 2.9% from January 2019, the BtoBet report indicates that there is a gradual shift towards remote forms of gambling, with the online sector registering levels of growth that currently outpace its other verticals.

The report explained: “The time is ripe for local operators in Colombia to start diversifying ever more their business strategies to include the online channels. This not only applies in those cases where the operations are focused on solely the brick and mortar betting shop, but also to those operators who have already adopted an omnichannel approach.

“In particular, the latter should further seek to transform their non-registered players into registered ones, thus providing their customers with a betting ecosystem where all channels are interconnected for a better user experience.

“Such a decision should also be taken based on what is characterizing the industry at a global level. A recent report by Online Gambling Quarterly stated that, on average, 62% of operators’ revenue comes from mobile channels. For suppliers, the percentage is almost the same at 60%. And these numbers are only going to be growing over time.”

The shift towards digital can be highlighted by the increase in tax revenues for Colombia’s gambling regulator, Coljuegos, for the year ending 31 October 2019. These figures found that online gambling licensees registered a 106.3% increase to COP65.97bn ($19.6m).

Moreover, BtoBet’s report highlighted that social media can be key in tapping into new demographics. With 69% of Colombia’s total population active on some form of social media, 98% of which access their accounts via mobile, there is huge potential for a feature that enables players to search for (or directly place) bets from their chosen social media apps.

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