Ayvar Gabidullin is Business Development Manager at Slotegrator. He has over 5 years of experience managing B2B and B2C sales departments in the online gambling industry. He started his career working in customer support for online casinos and grew to become the head of a department offering tailored services to VIP players. He joined Slotegrator with a strong focus on the company’s products and deep knowledge of what players need.
Slotegrator, a global iGaming software developer and aggregator, has released a new overview of the iGaming market in Latin America. Ayvar Gabidullin, Business Development Manager at the company, explains in this column the various emerging markets in the region, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, and Peru, analyzing all the aspects of the online gambling industry in each country.
Latin America is one of the most promising areas for launching an iGaming business. Slotegrator has kept a close eye on the region’s development for over 10 years and noted an increasing number of online casinos and sportsbooks every year. Why is the pace of development so fast, and which countries should operators pay close attention to? Slotegrator dives into the details.
The emerging markets of Latin America have great potential. Mobile gambling is especially popular here — for the majority of local residents, mobile internet is the only access they have. Players from Latin American countries love slots, bingo, and poker, and also willingly place bets on sports. But the online gambling policy and, accordingly, the income of online casino operators differ by country.
Brazil is the biggest gambling market in Latin America. Brazilians are famously passionate about football, and that passion definitely translates into a love of betting. Another key feature of the market is its sheer size; the population is well over 200 million. Moreover, more than half of Brazilians have mobile access.
In accordance with new regulations, which were approved on May 10, 2022, operators must pay a license fee of $4.4 million. The number of licenses is not limited, and the validity period is 5 years. These rules are expected to come into force in August and will apply to both new and existing operators.
Betting is the most popular niche here, but Brazilians’ love of betting isn’t limited to football. Betting on horse racing is also widespread, followed by mixed martial arts and basketball.
There is a slight difficulty with payment systems since the law prohibits the use of credit and debit cards for transactions within the gambling industry. Brazilian online casino operators can forget about this problem thanks to Moneygrator, which allows you to add many payment methods to gambling sites in one click, including electronic money, vouchers, mobile money, cryptocurrencies, etc.
Mexico has the second-biggest economy in Latin America. The country has a population of 120 million, and the gambling market brings in about $300 million in revenue per year.
Many forms of gambling are popular here — in particular, blackjack and baccarat. But the maximum excitement is caused by sports betting — with football, obviously, being first and foremost in many Mexicans’ hearts.
Mexico has a mix of regulatory statutes; almost everything is at least de facto regulated, but there are many nuances. For example, poker is only allowed in a land-based casino, and fantasy sports are allowed, but there is no specific legislation. Technically, many forms of gambling are prohibited, but varying legal interpretations contribute to the development of the gambling industry.
Online casino and sportsbook operators do not need to obtain an additional license; only authorization and partnership with a land-based casino license holder are required.
Argentina's economy is the third largest in the continent, and about 50 million people permanently live in the country.
Argentina’s regulatory system is still far from ideal, but the positive trend in the development of the market is continuing. Regulation here is carried out at the level of individual provinces — each has the right to make its own decisions regarding casinos and online gambling. Licensed operators can only accept residents of the province in which they have received a permit.
Currently, more than 15 provinces have already legalized online gambling, including the metropolitan province of Buenos Aires, where more than a third of the population lives. In 2021, the regulatory body of this province allowed partnership agreements between local and foreign companies.
Argentines love to play the lottery. There is National Quiniela, Quiniela Cordoba, Provincial Quiniela, and so on — the lotteries vary by province, as they must be authorized by local governments. In addition, Argentinians are passionate about bingo and horse racing, and sports betting is popular for games like football, basketball, and tennis.
With over 50 million people, Colombia is the fourth largest economy and one of the largest gambling markets on the continent. More than half of the country’s residents have access to mobile internet, and about 60% are interested in gambling.
All types of gambling are legal here. Colombia is something of a trendsetter in the region; in 2016, the country became the first in Latin America to regulate online gambling. The gambling tax is 15% of GGR. Operators are also required to pay a flat tax in the amount of 811 minimum wages, or about $175,000.
The market is rapidly developing, and gross income from gambling is growing every year. Accordingly, even with a wealth of options at their fingertips, Colombian players are always looking for something new — the trend towards the search for gaming content continues. This forces online casino operators to constantly expand their selection of games. Many of them use APIgrator, which allows you to integrate over 7,000 games from over 100 licensed industry developers into an online casino platform in one click. Among them are slots, games with live dealers, poker, virtual sports, card, and casual games.
Unlike other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama has long understood the prospects of legalizing the entertainment industry. The gambling business was legalized in 1941, after 37 years of prohibition. Six years later, the State Council for the Control of Games was organized, which is part of the Ministry of Finance. It is this body that acts as the national regulator of gambling activities in the country.
Licenses cost $50,000, but the value of the Panama license is ambiguous. At first glance, this may seem interesting: online platforms that target only foreigners are not taxed. However, the lack of oversight from the authorities reflects poorly on the license’s reputation.
The Costa Rican market is a hub for foreign operators. Authorities do not issue licenses and prohibit any transactions within the gambling industry with their citizens. However, foreign companies may offer their services to citizens of other jurisdictions with a "data processing" license. This has helped attract foreign investment and made Costa Rica home to a huge number of offshore casinos.
It is not always easy for a player in Costa Rica to access a land-based casino. Meanwhile, the choice of games at a standard Costa Rican casino can limit players to a few table games and slot machines. In contrast, at online casinos, players get hundreds of game options – slot machines, scratch cards, bingo, keno, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, live casino games, and more.
This is an English-speaking jurisdiction, making it a popular destination for US, Canadian, and UK investors looking to set up an iGaming company in Belize.
Belize is a popular destination for launching offshore companies. Gambling is regulated by the Gambling Control Commission. The annual license fee is only $10,000 — compared to other international jurisdictions, opening a casino in Belize is much cheaper. However, among other things, the operator needs a deposit of half a million dollars, which the Commission will hold in trust as a guarantee against fraud and other violations. This should be taken into account at the stage of preliminary business planning.
Peru can be classified as a gray market. Here, online gambling is not regulated, so there is no national authority that controls online casinos. However, all operators are internationally licensed, mainly by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) or Curaçao authorities.
Residents of Peru are much more likely to bet on sports than play in online casinos. The Council of Ministers in Peru recently approved amendments to a bill to regulate online sports betting. Previously, it was prepared at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism. According to experts, these changes will allow for stricter control of the industry, which will increase revenues to the state budget. Potentially, this amount could reach PEN 160 million ($4.3 million).
According to Slotegrator's team of experts, the markets of Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela are less popular among online casino operators.
Latin American markets, which are growing and developing every year, provide iGaming operators with very appealing investment opportunities. However, online gambling policy varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Therefore, before launching a business in this segment, you need to study potentially interesting regions and consult with industry experts.