Exclusive interview: Sebastián Vivot, LOTBA

"The launch of online Live Casino in Buenos Aires City is imminent"

Sebastián Vivot, during ICE VOX 2022 in London.
Reading time 2:51 min

"We are very pleased with the launch of online gaming in the City of Buenos Aires", said Sebastián Vivot, Manager of Modernization and Information Technologies of the Buenos Aires City Lottery (LOTBA), during an interview with Yogonet, after participating in the ICE VOX conference program, which took place within the framework of ICE London last week.

When asked about the launch of online gambling operations in the city, Vivot said: "We had some doubts or concerns as to whether the launch would be very aggressive in terms of advertising, which is something that we have seen that in other countries can scare away or bother certain sectors that are against the industry, but luckily we saw that the operators launched their operations in Buenos Aires in a very responsible way".

"Gambling was launched in December -he explained-, but with the beginning of the year as well as the beginning of the most important competitions, we have seen greater participation of the companies in the sporting activities, the numbers have been growing and even though there is still a long way to go, there is an increase of users and bets which show very positive figures for the future. Even though the numbers we are currently managing are from approximately one month ago, we already had 50,000 users actively betting, which shows the interest that we believe this vertical will generate among the people in the City", he added.

"As for advertising, although there is a LOTBA regulation for the Buenos Aires area, the media has a national scope, therefore, it is very difficult to legislate on this matter. This leads us to believe that it is going to be an activity that will be self-regulated by the operators themselves, who understand -as we do- that responsible management of advertising is key, given that advertising is fundamental for the sustainability of this business, but if it is too aggressive it becomes harmful to the business, as it recently happened in Spain".

When asked about the number of companies waiting to operate in the area, Vivot pointed out that "there are eight companies that have permits, of which seven are already operating and one (Betway) will start operating in May. There are also another eight companies that paid the fees to start the process, of which only one is actively working to obtain its permit, the rest have remained at a standstill".

Regarding the management of gaming at an interprovincial or inter-jurisdictional level, Vivot told Yogonet that "this is a subject that is talked about a lot in ALEA (the Argentine State Lottery Association) since the two most important jurisdictions in the country in economic terms are divided by one street and there is a constant flow and passive movement of potential customers from one jurisdiction to the other, which forces us to have a plan on how to address the territorial issue in a smart and efficient manner. We are having some talks and conversations to work on possible inter-jurisdictional agreements, as it happens with some lottery products, for example, and although we have not reached the details of how this problem will be solved, there is an ongoing conversation and the door is always open to generate these kinds of agreements since we understand that it is beneficial for everybody that this issue is resolved. In the City, we took a conservative decision, which is to ask our operators to have geolocation, and to be able to geographically locate through some technological means that the bettor is located within the City of Buenos Aires, which has been highly successful, with a very low error margin".

Lastly, Vivot highlighted the introduction of new betting alternatives in the City, such as Live Casino: "We are working on the technical regulation. We have already finished working on the live casino regulation, which will be published this week presumably, and we are working and analyzing the possibility of esports and game betting since we believe that they could be operated within what has already been approved. As for Live Casino, the regulation is already finished, it was made based on existing rules and using our perspective as well, and I believe that the approval is about to be issued, so its operation in the City is imminent".

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