n the first day of SIGMA Americas Virtual Summit, the panel "Focus Peru: Can digital evolution transform iGaming by boosting economic growth and adoption?" was moderated by David Plumi, MD of Spain at Betsson Group, and featured the participation of the CEO of DoradoBet, Lorenzo Johnson; Gonzalo Perez, CEO and Partner of Apuesta Total; and gaming consultant Antonio Jantonio Salord.
COVID-19 has affected the industry significantly for both suppliers and operators, given the shutdown of land-based casinos, yet also the players themselves seeking alternatives. Perez depicted a barren COVID-19 hit Peru following the closure of more than 400 stores nationwide. Nonetheless, he saw a silver lining once Bundesliga opened and the rest of the European leagues restarted in May. Perez saw an opportunity to place 100% of the company's efforts into their online product, a new approach for a company that had always been retail focused. "85% of our sales came from retail and only 15% came from online. So this gave us pause and we said, ‘well, let's dedicate ourselves to online’ and the results have been quite good,” he said.
In terms of projections, Perez stated: “We are closing at almost 90 percent of what was our record month prior to the quarantine, which, added to all the online growth, is putting us in a better position than before COVID.”
Lorenzo Johnson stated that while his business experienced blows as stores closed down along with the lack of sporting events, they decided to move forward and focus more on iGaming. “We had table tennis, the Nicaraguan League and e-sports as alternatives,” he mentioned.
As to what can be expected in a post-COVID-19 world for the iGaming sector in Peru, Antonio Jantonio Salord commented on a push for esports on the supplier side in the future for niche areas such as table tennis or leagues in Asia or Nicaragua, given there was a need to cover these lack of events and sales. "Suppliers see an opportunity and operators start looking for vertical products, such as virtual games, which for example in Peru, in retail, do have a fundamental role," he said.
Overall, these products are set to grow from the operator's side, especially for those without a sportsbook.
Peru has become a very attractive market from an investor point of view, given the untapped markets COVID-19 has brought to light. This is a relevant opportunity to grow online gaming and esports sectors, as Salord explained: “Many land-based casino operators see the need or the opportunity to look for a digital product to be able to operate and cover that lack of business in Peru.”
Johnson dived further into this topic stating: "There will be a transition from land-based games to online games, due to the theme, the same way of playing, and I think that those who will benefit in the end are the players who will have several opportunities to select where to place their bets."
SiGMA Group Americas Digital Summit is running from the 22 to 24 September, bringing industry professionals from the Latin American gaming and tech sector to a series of in-depth debate panels, with content offered in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. The 7th edition of SiGMA Europe will move its November event to February 16th to 18th 2021.