wo large global companies within the online gaming segment, Greentube, and MGA, announced in April the incorporation of their content into Wplay's platform. The three firms have recently outlined their business proposals at FADJA, where Wplay ratified the numbers that position the company as a market leader. "Wplay's market share is near 45%," CEO Julio César Tamayo told Yogonet.
What was FADJA's importance in the closing of new business deals?
FADJA has become a key tool for strengthening the company's position with the sector's authorities and trade associations as an innovation leader in Colombia. It has been great to see the enthusiasm of regulatory bodies such as Coljuegos, which promote the industry's growth and call for investing in Colombia. FADJA had a crucial role in our forging of new alliances with suppliers that will certainly assure us a future of expansion in this economic sector of the country.
Wplay started 2019 with the announcement of an offering expansion to include bets on entertainment and political events. Which are going to be the suppliers for this segment? When will you be ready to make any announcements in this regard?
The online gaming market in Colombia is just emerging. We have already ventured into wagering on non-sporting events, such as the Oscars and upcoming members of the royalty and presidents. These categories have given us the chance to innovate and analyze preferences with regard to new products in the market. Having a wide range of gaming offering and markets, both in sports and casino, represents a basic strategy to position Wplay as a market leader.
You have also announced a project to add poker through shared liquidity agreements with other firms. Is there any news in that regard? Which operators and suppliers are you evaluating for this project?
As regards poker, the company is aiming to expand its game offering. At present, we are part of a group of operators evaluating different possibilities. There are those interested in sharing operations in accordance with the country's regulatory framework, in an attempt to position this product in the regulated market and achieve economies of scale. This segment is currently available in unauthorized websites and mobile apps, that is why there is a need to attract new player profiles, as we plan to do with an innovative and updated game offering, taking advantage of shared liquidity agreements with licensed operators in Colombia.
Is the Colombian regulator in favor of authorizing other online gambling modalities?
Coljuegos and trade associations such as Fecoljuegos are already in talks to promote the industry's growth and expansion. Large global firms, gaming suppliers that are not included in the offer of 2016 Agreement 4, have already shown successful experiences with live casino and esports wagering in other parts of the world. We hope Colombia will allow these new modalities so we have an opportunity to fight against illegality and produce more funds for the country's health sector.
In which ways can Coljuegos still make improvements to Colombia's online gaming market?
As it occurs with every market as new as this, there are always things to adjust. Controlling the illegal market is maybe a desire that both Coljuegos and licensed operators have in common. Coljuegos could make improvements in two market segments: live casinos and esports wagering. The regulatory entities have already shown their commitment towards the Colombian health sector as a fundamental right, in fact, the award of 17 online gaming licenses to date could generate over 45,000 million pesos (USD 15 M) in health funding in 2019. We have regulations continue promoting legal online gaming in the country as well as the generation of funds allocated to social welfare.
Wplay has close to a 45% share in the online gaming market and over 740,000 users out of the total 2 million registered among the 17 existing licensed operators. What are your forecasts for 2019?
For 2019, we estimate to see about USD 100 million in monthly bets. This market segment has already seen 20 million monthly sports betting transactions being processed among all operators. Our company's market share is near 45%. We expect to close 2019 with over 1.100.000 registered users and more than 24.000 million pesos (USD 8 M) in health funding allocated by Coljuegos.