R. Franco Digital’s CCO Mario Benito discusses the changing face of online gaming in Latin America, the pressing need to engage with new forms of marketing and the need for on-the-ground knowledge

What’s your overview of the LatAm market as a whole right now – how has it changed as we move away from the COVID pandemic?

The market in LatAm is currently booming and shows no sign of slowing down. The pandemic has given many people the opportunity to learn about online gambling – not least the many operators in the region who have moved into the digital world for the first time. At this stage of the COVID pandemic, we have reached the point where governments in many countries are looking at new ways to bring in tax revenues and that can only be beneficial to those who wish to see an increase in the number of regulated markets. We are already seeing a widespread increase in online activity and revenues across LatAm and along with the rest of the industry, await development in Brazil in particular with great interest.

Looking forward, how do you see local land based and retail sectors moving forward following the effects of the COVID pandemic? Is digital marketing the way forward?

It is clear that for these sectors to succeed in the future, digital marketing has to be a primary action and a central pillar of their strategy. The way that people all over the world consume media has changed forever and millions will now never encounter traditional TV advertising again, for example. Following the old traditional ways of marketing is a recipe for obsolescence when relatively new channels such as Twitch and YouTube enjoy such widespread popularity. For casino suppliers, while a great deal of care should be taken over the selection of appropriate partners, this is no time for hesitancy. Streamers and influencers on new media channels attract huge audiences and cannot be ignored in favour of campaigns in traditional media.

We have seen the LatAm-based online operations grow at a very fast pace in the past year or so, how do you see this evolving in the future and what opportunities does this bring to the market as a whole?

The growth of a market is always a positive sign and much more so when it occurs in the manner of LatAm. As in any growth market, multiple opportunities will arise that the entire sector will have to know how to take advantage of. One of the most important factors here is having the knowledge on the ground of what operators and players want. This will inevitably vary from country to country in a region as large and diverse as LatAm, but one constant remains: players want high-quality products that offer an immersive, enjoyable experience. We are part of the entertainment business and are competing for online attention with the likes of the major streaming services and must continue to give players compelling reasons to play.