BetWarrior has established itself as one of the most important online betting portals in Argentina. Its May agreement with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) helped to cement this, and Yogonet conducted an exclusive interview with Leandro Rivas, the firm's general manager in the country, to learn more about the scope of this and other commercial strategies of the operator.
Rivas talked about the results of the sponsorship of the national team and how the "great empathy" it generates in the public is transferred to the brand. He also talked about how the agreement with the AFA positioned them as a local reference and what that means for the company.
Furthermore, the businessman referred to the taxes imposed on the sector, and how they can be counterproductive by favoring illegal gambling. "This type of measure discourages potential operators because they give little predictability and significantly reduce margins, making it almost unfeasible," he said.
It is worth mentioning that BetWarrior is owned by DAGMA, Inverclub, and Nortia, parties with well-known operations such as the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo, Casino Buenos Aires, and The Casino at Dania Beach in Florida.
BetWarrior's sponsorship of the Argentine National Team marks the first time that a company is involved in Argentine soccer at this level after the governments of the City and the Province of Buenos Aires authorized the activity last year. What initial feedback or results have you observed since the agreement with the AFA?
The truth is that the agreement was a success in terms of diffusion: the sponsorship was very well accepted in general, the brand had a very good presence in the media and the repercussions were very encouraging for us. The national team is going through a great moment of empathy with the public, and this is somehow transferred to our brand.
¡Atención, Puskas! Acá está el golazo del año: #BetWarrior es el nuevo sponsor oficial de la Selección #Argentina 🇦🇷 La casa de apuestas deportivas N°1 del país se unió con AFA para tirar paredes con #Messi, #DiMaría, #DePaul y acompañar a todo el equipo en el sueño a #Qatar 🏆 pic.twitter.com/xdeZFmUYvF— BetWarrior Argentina (@BetWarrior_Arg) May 25, 2022
BetWarrior debuted as a sponsor of the national team after the "Finalissima" against Italy on June 1, when the national team won 3-0. How did you manage to capitalize on this sporting event? Did you change your operations in any way in relation to previous matches of the national team?
Apart from including special fees and launching promotions related to the match, the sponsorship is an opportunity in terms of brand diffusion and user acquisition, and that's how we tried to capitalize on it. The match with Italy generated enormous expectations: peaks of 35 viewership points in the TV broadcast.
What does it mean to be the first sports betting sponsor for the national team, particularly in the World Cup year?
What impact do you expect to see in the short term on your operations ahead of the World Cup?
Being a sponsor of the national team gives us the opportunity and the responsibility to sustain that support with actions that make our users feel part of it. For us it is not simply putting the AFA logo on our site, it means above all generating promotional actions and content that allow our users to support the national team and feel like they are part of this sponsorship.
We are convinced that if we invite our users to participate in this sponsorship, they will join us, and this will translate into growth and development for the industry in general and for our brand as market leaders.
The agreement signed with the AFA includes other national teams, such as the women's team, futsal, and beach soccer teams. What sporting events planned for these teams do you hope to capitalize on?
It is clear that the World Cup is an event that takes all the limelight during its development, but the agreement with the AFA lasts 4 years and in addition to all the national teams, it also includes the Argentine Cup and the National B team.
Both the local cups and the other national teams have increasingly relevant commitments: the Argentine Cup does not stop growing in relevance, women's soccer is growing a lot and will play the Copa America in 2024 at the same time as the men's national team, the U23 will participate in the Olympic Games in Paris, Futsal had a great performance last year and is undoubtedly starting to generate expectations, etc.
Argentines are passionate about soccer, and whenever a national team plays, regardless of the category, we will be there to support it with good rates and attractive promotional actions for our users. Our intention is that every time the national team plays, our users will find some special benefit associated with that event or match. BetWarrior is the official bookmaker of the national team, and we want our users to be able to perceive that.
BetWarrior has the support of DAGMA, Inverclub and Nortia, renwoned groups with history and experience in the land-based gaming industry in Latin America, with recognized operations worldwide. What resources and tools, such as databases, does it give you to be part of those business groups with those operations? Can you convert it into differential value and competitive advantage?
Undoubtedly, more than 30 years of experience in the gaming industry in the country and the region is a differential value for us. I think it is a benefit for both parties: the local groups provide us with experience, know-how, and trajectory in land-based gaming; and we provide knowledge of the online business, technology, and sports betting.
BetWarrior started its operations in the city of Buenos Aires and in the province of Buenos Aires in December last year. What is your assessment as operators in these markets? What challenges did you face and what lessons have you learned so far?
We have been pioneers in the launching in both markets, which was a very enriching experience for us. But at the same time, it presented us with the challenge of working together with the regulators who were in the process of learning and defining. I think we have done a great job together, and the outcome has been very positive. I believe that both markets have a lot of potential, being one of the main challenges to working with the regulators in banning unregulated operators, which still have a strong presence.
At the end of May, an agreement was announced between BetWarrior and content provider for the iGaming industry Pragmatic Play. What added value does this partnership bring to you? What are your expectations for it?
At BetWarrior we are determined to offer the best possible gaming experience and along those lines, the casino games offered are very important. Today Pragmatic Play offers a very attractive portfolio of games for our users and the numbers prove it. We also work with other leading providers such as Evolution, Leander Games, Microgaming, NetEnt, CT Gaming, and Vivo Gaming. With all of them we expect to continue growing, adding more and more games.
On June 2, Decree 293/2022 was published in the Official Gazette, establishing a 50% increase in the indirect tax rate on online betting from 2%. This means that it will now apply in a range from 2.5% to 15%, according to the condition of the organizer or operator. How could this affect BetWarrior's operations in the country?
At BetWarrior we have made a huge investment to be able to offer a first-class product that meets all the requirements and the highest quality standards in the world and it is well known that the tax burden of gambling is extremely high. Undoubtedly, this type of measure discourages potential operators because they give little predictability and significantly reduces margins, making it almost unfeasible.
What is the company's position regarding the increase of taxes imposed by the State on the industry?
Every tax imposed on legal gambling favors illegal gambling, which is what all of us in this industry want to fight. We have always been and will always be open to dialogue with the different governmental entities to understand the origin of this type of initiative and also to explain our position.
Many times, due to a lack of knowledge of the particularities of the sector, tax structures are proposed that generate the opposite of what is intended. Online gaming is a developing industry and I believe that the role of the state should be to promote and encourage investment to generate jobs and growth. Discouraging investments due to a higher tax burden is not the way to go.