Sportsbooks have been name of the game across the Americas in recent years – the US, for example, has seen a gold rush, approving sports betting state by state since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018. Meanwhile, Canada has made Ontario its official gambling province and has worked to ensure a thriving market within the region. In Europe, betting on sporting events is a long-held tradition – one that pre-dates the eras of empire and aristocratic revelry watching horseracing.
But what about the much-anticipated LatAm market of Brazil?
Down in South America, gambling has been slowly building itself into a behemoth. The famously football-mad country now has legal sports betting and sportsbook operators are ready to fight for market share – however, there is one point that is holding the market back: regulation.
The sports betting market in Brazil, though legal since 2018, has remained unregulated for the past five years – and those lack of rules have ensured some sportsbook operators have held off wholly challenging in the market. Yet, as the market begins its path to regulation – with recent news suggesting the country will require any sports betting companies operating in Brazil to have a headquarters there – moves for sportsbook operators jostling their way into the market have begun.
For Kambi, a company that is currently undergoing the process of becoming regulated in Brazil, the market holds a lot of potential. Ignacio Iglesias, Kambi’s Director of Partner Success LatAm/EMEA, commented on the future of Brazil’s regulations and how it would affect sportsbooks such as Kambi’s in the country. He told Gambling Insider: “We’re always assessing opportunities to enter newly regulated markets either through new partnerships or extending existing ones, and with a flexible technology stack which can quickly pivot to meet any local requirements across both regulation and consumer preferences we believe we are well placed to capitalise as regulation in Brazil approaches.”
With a population of more than 200 million people, Brazil has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting markets
Confident words, but ones that show how transformative regulation will be for the Brazilian market for sportsbook operators. Iglesias then discussed the partnerships that it already has in Brazil and Kambi’s current position in other LatAm countries:
“We have already announced a long-term partnership with Rei do Pitaco (RDP), which offers Kambi a platform upon which to expand into Brazil as regulation allows. RDP has generated millions of downloads for its DFS app, growing to have strong brand recognition throughout Brazil, and it has an impressive customer database of passionate football fans that will continue to grow once sports betting is regulated.
"We are already established as a sportsbook supplier throughout Latin America, including Peru, multiple provinces in Argentina and Colombia, so we are enthused at the prospect of bringing our technology to Brazil.”
When talking about the next five years for sports betting in Brazil, Iglesias gave more on what that looked like from his perspective. “With a population of more than 200 million people, Brazil has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting markets. Regulation in Brazil has been on the cards for many years now and it is pleasing to see that a country with such sports betting potential finally seems to be making headway in this regard. Brazil is a country known across the world for its passionate sports fans. The country’s heritage in soccer needs little introduction, but success in Brazil will require a depth of offering across all sports, in particular the likes of tennis and formula one.”
Finally, the Director of Partner Success spoke about sportsbook technology and how it should evolve in modern markets. He added: “Sportsbook technology will need to keep evolving to maintain pace with the demands of modern players, not only in Brazil but across the globe. Player preferences are increasingly shifting towards products-only algorithms.”
Meanwhile, Altenar’s software and services, which are live in Brazil, have been gathering pace in the country. Commenting exclusively to Gambling Insider, Hugo Llanos, Regional Director for Americas at Altenar, spoke of the sustained expansion that is currently being seen in Brazil’s sports betting market: “There is a continuous growth in terms of interest towards sportsbooks and new companies going into the online sportsbook industry. This is for sure incentivised by the opportunity to be regulated in Brazil, plus the natural growth the industry had been having in the region.”
I hope we do get the see the regulation finally in place in Brazil, and having a very mature market, growing exponentially month after month, with people amazed at how much turnover Brazil could generate
For Altenar, the Brazilian market has been a ground of intense competition due to its size and adoration for football in particular. “It is always fierce,” added Llanos. “New competitors, strong brands getting in with big marketing budgets, there’s a huge interest in Brazil per the size of the population and the potential the entire country has due to its love and passion for footbal, and sports, in general.”
One of the other big topics in Brazil right now, which Llanos commented on prior, is the discussion of stricter regulations, which has drawbacks and benefits to any operators already involved in a jurisdiction. Llanos commented on Brazil’s plan to further regulate its sports betting market, explaining:
“Regulation is always a good thing; we are not afraid of it and I believe no operator should be afraid of it either. It will create a need for better, improved reporting but that will actually come in favour of us and the industry so it will be for the better. Being in a regulated market provides the industry with a reputation and 'safety,' which is better than any branding campaign a company could do.”
In terms of the future, Llanos further pushed his support for regulation in the market: “I hope we do get the see the regulation finally in place in Brazil, and having a very mature market, growing exponentially month after month, with people amazed at how much turnoverBrazil could generate.”
The end of the beginning
Evidently, the Brazilian market is one that sportsbook operators can’t wait to get involved in, as the market value there is a gold mine for any that can grab a significant market share. However, right now, any efforts made by operators are being met with caution from within because of the unregulated status of the market. That said, Brazil is edging ever closer to regulating the market, with plans currently making a path through the country’s congress – though, this has been hampered by the unstable political situation that has gripped Brazil in recent years.
Suppliers and operators are readying for the day that Brazil finally passes its regulation bill, though. As seen by the comments made by Altenar and Kambi, both of which are focusing on the entire LatAm region for the next phase of the continent’s economic growth; through the legalisation and regulation of gambling, and sports betting in general. Where Brazil stands now is the end of the beginning, it started allowing sports betting in 2018 and soon Brazil’s lawmakers will clear the regulation bill give the market fully regulated sports betting. When it does, the rush from operators and suppliers to take a firm foothold in the country feels like it will be akin to the streets of Rio during Carnival – a bright and blinding blend.