he first panel discussion, "Operation Day 1: difficulties, solutions and successful experiences in Latin America" was along the lines of the opening speech delivered by GET In Online Buenos Aires organizer, Alan Burak, who pointed out that: "Everything that’s happening with online gambling shows us we are in the midst of a change of paradigm. GET In’s mission is to become a source of knowledge for attendees to learn from other markets’ experiences."
Moderated by Yogonet Director Pablo Zuppi, the panel discussion between the executives with a great deal of experience in land-based and online sports betting, focused on sharing with the public key data that will be relevant for this newly-emerged market in Argentina. Juan Barrachina, Sales Director at Kambi; and Gonzalo Pérez, General Manager at Apuesta Total Perú, provided an overall picture on online sports wagering in the countries they operate and shared their views on the regulation of this vertical in Buenos Aires City and Buenos Aires Province, respectively.
"I prefer Buenos Aires City’s legislation because Buenos Aires Province limits the number of licenses to seven. Therefore, seven operators are going to be happy and the other seven will not," Barrachina said. “I believe the online gambling market should be open and free. Operators should be ready to invest in physical distribution or media advertising, and it is of utmost importance to have a local team to enter into the Argentine market effectively."
He also warned about taxation: "A 25% tax rate has been set forth when ideally, there should be a rate between 10 % and 15 %". Argentina is being put on the same level as Nordic countries and this could be detrimental to the local market because growth won’t happen fast."
Based on his experience at Apuesta Total and as a member of the Peruvian Association of Online Sports Betting (APADELA in Spanish), Pérez made some recommendations for those operators willings to enter in these new markets. "Operators should choose a segment and then, outline a strategy to reach it."
He also highlighted the importance of a diversified offering: "Apuesta Total also offers virtual games, which are fundamental because they guarantee profitability. When there are no tournaments, we can continue operating smoothly, and they allow as to improve our player retention rate.”
The executives also spoke about Colombia, the first Latin American country to regulate online gambling through the territory. When the discussion was opened to questions from the public, one attendee asked why the major global operators were not interested in this market (companies such as Sportium, Luckia ad Codere have a presence there, but through their local subsidiaries) and if it is true that illegal operators outperform Wplay and BetPlay.
Kambi’s Sales Director answered that he had no idea why international operators have not entered this market. "It is an open market and they can apply for a license at any time, the only restrictions are of an economic nature."
"Of course, illegal operators still exist in Colombia, but as time goes by, the number is dropping. Why? Because firms such as Wplay and BetPlay appear on the media every day, also down the street, and players trust them. Why would they place their bets someplace else?”