date 19 June 2024 reading time 10 min views 183 views

The Latin and South American market is highly attractive for investments in iGaming projects, including online poker. However, many companies fail in this region because they overlook its peculiarities, making it difficult for them to connect with players and establish rapport with local partners.

In this article, Manuel Jiménez, Head of Sales LatAm at EvenBet Gaming outlines several important points to consider if you want to start a business in Latin and South America.

Manuel Jiménez, Head of Sales LatAm at EvenBet Gaming, speaks abour online poker in Latin America

Attitude Towards Foreign Business in Latin America

While there is interest in foreign investments, companies must demonstrate a deep understanding and respect for the culture, personal relationships, and local regulations and their immediate future. Transparency, adaptation, and commitment to them are essential to earn the trust and respect of operators and thus establish close, solid, lasting, and profitable relationships.

Style of Making Business in Latin America

The business environment in Latin America emphasises the importance of personal relationships and mutual trust, which is paramount. Solid and lasting connections are fundamental for commercial success and closing deals. Often, establishing a long-term partnership is valued more than immediate results.

This is why when suppliers from other regions come to the area with cold and calculated business models, they fail. It’s a spiral I’ve seen repeated from one company to another. Believing that standards developed in other markets work in the American continent is a big mistake. The region has diverse cultures; even within each country, there are profound cultural and economic differences.

Success lies in embracing the warmth and nuances that characterise our region and in understanding, listening to, and collaborating with local leaders and stakeholders.

Establishing relationships in business in Latin America

Networking Peculiarities 

Networking in Latin America is based on a combination of personal and professional relationships. Connecting with potential markets to establish valuable contacts tends to be more informal than in other regions. Building trust is not something that is offered as a business proposal; it is built through natural empathy, genuine personal sharing, and the passage of time.

Personal relationships and family connections play an important role. It is common for friendships to be established before discussing business. This may seem strange to companies that rigidly parameterize commercial activity, leading them to clash with a culture that prefers to focus on social events and private activities within closed circles.

The construction of solid and genuine relationships based on reputation and a good name is a priority before addressing commercial opportunities.

Interacting with Clients

Latin culture values interaction through a personalised and close approach, based on constant, direct, and transparent communication at all times. It is important to show genuine interest in the needs and concerns of the client.

This is a basic rule of consultative selling in which social culture and the business environment blend in a business atmosphere that demands tailored solutions designed to meet individual needs adapted to local business models.

Starting business in Latin America

Gambling Regulation in Latin America

Regulation in Colombia has driven a more transparent and secure market for operators and players alike. It has been the inspiration for other countries in the region that have followed its example, translating into new growth and consolidation opportunities in the online gaming sector in Latin America.

Jurisdictions in the region have taken the example of the Colombian regulatory model and adapted it to their cultures. This consolidation in the region continues to evolve, thanks to a sector that works proactively to adjust market requirements in partnership with the state and the commitment and leadership of local guilds that bring together operators and defend their interests through fantastic inter-guild lobbying, proposing initiatives that expand Colombian operations and the interests of their members.

I hope that in less than two years, the Ibero-American countries with the greatest potential in the region will finally have adapted their progress in the unification of federal regulations and the implementation of regulatory models in centralised countries that will consolidate the market and enhance the development of iGaming.

Role of Poker in the Gaming Industry of Latin America

Poker plays a significant role in the gaming industry in Latin America, especially in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, appreciated for its skill orientation and strategy components. It’s an activity that attracts a wide audience and contributes significantly to the entertainment landscape in the region.

An indication of this is the positioning of the vertical from the development of B2C platforms that control the market from northern Mexico to southern Argentina’s Patagonia. Hundreds of millions of dollars are moving daily, representing a sizable market for iGaming operators to tap into.

Previously, there was practically no relevant operator in the iGaming scene in the region that paved the way for the vertical’s development online. Today, we have BetPlay in Colombia, Apostala in Paraguay, DoradoBet, and Apuesta Total in Peru, and soon the Argentine Poker Circle, among others renowned in the region.

Thanks to the brand presence at events in the American continent, EvenBet has had the opportunity to share its market development vision in different academic spaces, allowing the proposal of poker ecosystems development among online and land-based operators, tournament organisers, private network administrators, guilds, and regulatory entities in the region.

The future of poker in iGaming, from EvenBet’s offering, depends on the continuity of the strategy under local leadership that has managed to generate the necessary empathy to be considered part of the other gaming verticals. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize the limited operators’ capacity to effectively manage the vertical. We have sold the administration of the poker operation as simply creating tables and tournaments, but it’s not just that. The scope of an effective operation goes beyond this simple fact, and without successful onboarding and education, this will not bring revenue to an operator.

Co-organised operations are an important path to generate liquidity and profitability, at least in each country. This requires a surgical operation of local consensus among particular interests, providers, operators, guilds, poker scene actors, and, obligatorily, regulators. Latin America is maturing, and regulations will be established sooner rather than later, leaving no room for illegal networks that cannot justify their operation and, less so, be accepted with the entry of regulations in Ibero-American countries.

In conclusion, maintaining a flexible commercial approach that adapts to market dynamics and supports a well-established strategy, which is already showing promising results, is key in a market that recognizes professionalism, empathy, and effort with loyalty. Embracing these qualities not only guarantees current success but also opens doors to the continuous growth of the poker vertical in iGaming throughout America.

Card games popular in Latin America

Latin America Local Games

Games like Buraco, Truco, and Chinchón are widely popular in Latin America, each with its own variants and traditions rooted in the local culture of each country.

It is worth noting that a Mexican poker card game called Mata Ases is gaining strength in several countries in the southern part of the continent.

Online Poker and Betting in Latin America

Poker and sports betting coexist in Latin America’s online gaming market. This combination offers players a variety of entertainment options that cater to different interests and preferences in the region.

The extensive time spent by a poker player in a game, averaging 2.5 hours, is a fact that attracts operators to include the vertical in their operations. The opportunity to generate cross-selling between verticals from poker operations represents an important fact that can be leveraged through EvenBet’s platform solutions, such as the mini-games and live betting section located in the user interface lobby.

However, there are marked differences among some operators who, in the past, were part of the most important global poker tours. They express that poker players stop playing at casinos and betting on sports to focus on a vertical that is not profitable compared to the productivity achieved by these two modalities of play. This is why they decided to completely abandon online poker and dedicate all their efforts to developing their operations in the most profitable verticals.

For many years, EvenBet Gaming has been assisting in the development of iGaming projects in Latin and South America by offering software for launching standalone poker rooms, integrating poker games into existing projects, and connecting operators to the poker network. To learn more details, please contact our managers.

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    Manuel Jiménez

    Article by Manuel

    Manuel Jiménez

    Head of Sales LatAm