Fernando Garita, Business Development Director

"Aside from our current operations, Mexico and Brazil are the two largest markets in Betcris' sights today"

Reading time 4:26 min

Fernando Garita, Business Development Director for LatAm-oriented sports betting operator Betcris, held an exclusive interview with Yogonet during the latest edition of GAT Expo Cartagena, Colombia, where he was one of the speakers in the academic segment.

The executive highlighted the expectations generated by markets such as Mexico and Brazil in Latin America and pondered the need to accommodate the political scenario for Argentina to join this group of great interest for operators when analyzing the future of the sector towards 2023.

Betcris had a year of tremendous growth at the regional level. What is the company's plan for 2023, and which are the most interesting markets for the sports betting segment?

There are definitely a couple of markets that we have our eye on; one of them is the Mexican market, which is growing a lot online, and where we have more and more clients, and we see more potential.

And the other market, which is not a secret at all and is growing with incredible numbers, is the Brazilian market.

We are looking to consolidate our presence in both markets without neglecting what we already have in the process.

Just a few days ago, we renewed the agreement to be MLB's official sponsor in Latin America, which gives us incredible support and a great boost, mainly in the Caribbean area and its many baseball fans.

In terms of Betcris' offer, what makes it stand out from other similar betting sites operating in Latin America today, which perhaps do not have the success that you have been able to achieve in recent years?

The main difference we have is the service and prompt payment. An extremely VIP service characterizes our company to all our clients, be they small, medium, or large. As a working policy, we treat all our users as first-line customers.

In addition, we have expanded our services and have dedicated ourselves to ensuring that each market has even more than it needs. In other words, we have good coverage for prize payments, transactions, and top-ups, something that very few other companies can achieve.

In my opinion, these could be our two main strengths at the moment: very good customer service and prompt payment.

As for Brazil, a market you mentioned before and that clearly today, a large part of the market is watching with particular interest, waiting for the final regulation of fixed odds or sports betting. Although you must already have a clear positioning as a company, do you expect to approach it more aggressively once it is regulated?

Well, we are waiting for that to formally happen soon. It's been almost four and a half years of announcements that it's coming, it's coming, and then it doesn't. 

We must be patient, and although we are still operating, we know that the scenario will definitely change when the rules are clearer and more concrete for this market because we will really see how the market adjusts to the investment potentials and to the large companies that are going to enter the market.

The Brazilian market could be compared almost with 80% or 90% of the entire European market in terms of consumption and the number of people, so the market will be a very interesting bet for all operators in that sense.

Brazilian market, as soon as the rules are clear and we can have a formal tax already approved, will allow understanding which will be the main players, how this market will be shaped, and if the small companies will survive or if it will be a market only for giants. Definitely, I believe that there will always be a space for those who know how to work it and look for that market niche.

Not all of us can have massive or small clients, and not all of us can handle VIP clients or those with high purchasing power. Each company will have to find its own strategy to address this challenge, which I believe is coming soon.

If I name three markets, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina, we find very different characteristics in the online segment. We see a Colombian market that is quite mature at the regulatory level, a Peruvian market that, although it has some maturity, still does not have a specific regulation, and Argentina, which is slowly and regionally expanding. How does the company assess these jurisdictions? Which one is the most attractive for you, and how do you approach each of them?

Well, I think all three are attractive, each in its own way. In Argentina, we started a process with the Buenos Aires Lottery, where we decided not to move forward until the end of the process due to the political issues in the country. As a foreign company, we have to think very carefully about investment issues since our capital is abroad, and entering the Argentinean market is today a complicated decision.

In relation to the Colombian and Peruvian markets, I believe that when the latter is regulated, there could be a very interesting mirror in the behavior of both markets. We could even see a slight advantage, I believe, in Peru, but offset by the disadvantage of the high number of companies currently operating there.

In the case of Colombia, we have 18 or 20 companies competing for the market, but in reality, five large companies are fighting for the biggest slice of the pie.

Therefore, I would say that Peru can present a very similar case, almost like a mirror image, of the Colombian market.

As for Argentina, I believe that if the rules are finally adjusted at the political level and they change a little to offer a more equitable benefit, we know that in terms of the number of people and percentages of play, the average is very high. At that moment, Argentina will definitely be a strong contender in the region, with Mexico and Brazil.

And since we are speaking within the framework of an event this year, what is your assessment of what GAT Expo Cartagena offers as a tradeshow of the industry?

Yesterday I was talking to the organizer, and I must confess that I was really surprised by the change we can see this year. I think the space they chose for the realization of this edition was very successful, and there really is a very professional fair here in Cartagena.

All this makes us think that the two days are going to be used very well, there are a lot of visitors and operators, and I think that next year they will even have to look for a larger space because many will leave with a great impression of GAT. I hope that will be the case.

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