23 June, 2023

The future of LatAm gaming payments: Embracing digital

Gambling Insider takes a look at gaming payments companies operating in the LatAm market.

It is an unsung part of the gambling industry that largely goes unnoticed by the individual player holding an iPhone; yet it is the thing that has to happen at the end of the person’s decision to bet – and the most important part of any transaction – payment. In the gambling industry, payments are a process that few end customers think about until it stops being slick and becomes difficult, thus leading to the loss of players willing to use a platform – due to the faff of having difficulties at the final stage.

In the LatAm market, payments are now the focus of gaining market share. Legalised sports betting has come to the continent and it has been met with widespread enthusiasm from players across the board. 

The ease of making transactions is seen as a huge plus in the fast-growing region, as each operator wants to offer players the smoothest and sleekest experience possible. Below, we at Gambling Insider explore LatAm gaming markets and what the biggest challenges are for payments businesses in the region.


Speaking with Gambling Insider on the subject of payments, Okto’s CCO of LatAm, Lawrence Levy, sat down to give his insight on the state of the market. In talking about the speed of growth in the LatAm region, a trend that a significant portion of the industry has its eyes on, Levy highlighted several salient points in his comments, such as the increased use and penetration of smartphones – and the internet. “The surge in digital payments adoption can be attributed to various factors, including increased internet and smartphone penetration, a rise in e-commerce activity and the expanding middle class. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in the number of individuals utilising digital payment methods such as mobile wallets, online transfers and alternative payment solutions. It’s worth noting that while the market’s expansion is remarkable, it still retains its unique nuances.”

Levy’s comments about the expanding middle class showcases the impact of broad economic factors on the payments market, as well as the industry as a whole.

Player preferences

Furthermore, Levy also brought the cultural differences in player preferences in the LatAm market into focus: “One notable difference is the high reliance on cash-based transactions in certain parts of Latin America. Cash is still widely used and preferred by a significant portion of the population, especially in more rural areas.”

“One-by-one the dominos are falling and payments solutions are reaping the rewards of regulated markets”

Levy continued by then discussing how the market is moving further towards digital payments – but caveated his comments about the broader continent: “We are seeing a shift towards digital payment methods, particularly among the younger and urban populations. Of course, this depends on the region. The convenience, security, and access to a wider range of goods and services offered by digital payments are becoming increasingly attractive. It’s essential for businesses to understand these nuances and provide a diverse range of payment options to cater to different customer preferences in the region.”

Customer experience & competition

Concentrating on the customer experience, Levy spoke about how ease of deposits plays a huge role in what is the ultimate goal for a payments solution: customer retention. Levy told Gambling Insider: “Customers expect seamless and efficient payment processes, particularly when it comes to depositing funds into their accounts. In an era where instant gratification is the norm, delays or complexities in depositing funds can lead to frustration and potential customer churn. Offering fast and hassle-free deposit options not only enhances customer satisfaction but also instils a sense of trust and reliability in the brand.”

Meanwhile, Levy spoke about the increasing intensity in the LatAm payments market, saying: “The payments market in Latin America is experiencing a significant rise in competition. As the region undergoes rapid digitalisation and the adoption of digital payment solutions continues to expand, both local and international players are entering the market to take advantage of this opportunity. This influx of competition is fuelling innovation, resulting in the introduction of new payment technologies, improved user experiences and more competitive pricing structures.”


Finally, Levy also highlighted regulatory moves and collaborations as areas that are pushing the payments market further: “Regulatory changes and collaborations between financial institutions and fintech companies are further heightening the level of competition.”

Additionally, he noted which LatAm countries were becoming more of a focus: “Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Mexico have become particularly attractive and competitive landscapes. The combination of a large population, increasing digital adoption and evolving consumer preferences, create fertile ground for companies looking to establish themselves in the Latin American market.”

LatAm’s digital future

Levy’s comments come as an affirmation to what insiders know about the market. It is expanding quickly and has been for a long time now. LatAm has been heralded as the next big market – this is no secret – it is for that reason that payments operators and suppliers are eager to get their digital wallets and wider systems a clean slice of market share across the continent.

“The region undergoes rapid digitalisation and the adoption of digital payment solutions continues to expand”

It seems as though there is a new story about a payments company entering or expanding in the LatAm market every week. Recently, Thunderkick signed a deal with Rushbet to freshly enter the continent’s market. Meanwhile, AstroPay is an ever-present force in South America, having been signing deals with operators for years. Even Paysafe, which usually centres its business in North America, has been making moves into the LatAm market, too – entering the Argentinian space in August 2022.

However, one of the most important and significant factors in the rise of the need for secure payments solutions in LatAm is the sports betting market becoming fully regulated. As countries look to cash in on the practice – by taking a cut of taxes from operator, suppliers and affiliate income there – on a wider basis, it feels like a new chapter in what is now required to operate successfully across South America. As countries such as Argentina have come to embrace sports betting as another form of entertainment for the masses, payments solutions are more and more in demand for those that want the ease of betting on their phone – a trend that’s being driven by the young people in urban areas, as Levy highlighted in his comments.

As the South American continent has caught up to its North American cousins in having digital payments solutions widely available, the homogenisation of how people want to receive their money – namely by it being deposited into their accounts immediately – after winning has led to where the market stands now.

The impact of sports betting

This is a case of dominoes, once the early adopters of gambling regulations began to flourish, the rest wanted in on it too. Many are now beginning to look keenly at Brazil, in the expectation that gambling reform is just around the corner. In fact, the only reason why Brazil hasn’t yet adopted fully regulated gambling reforms is down to the fact that the political instability in the country meant the new bill, which had been agreed and were ready for Presidential sign-off, became lost in the Bolsonaro election storm. However, one-by-one the pieces are falling and payments solutions are reaping the rewards of regulated markets that are themselves benefitting from the advent of online and mobile sports betting.

Of course, there is more happening with mobile betting than just sports– iGaming and online casino are playing a role, too, though those verticals are perhaps not driving the growth as much as sports betting, due in part to the popularity of football in LatAm countries. As more payments companies turn their attention to the LatAm region, and the money to be made there, the next few years could prove to be something of a fight for those involved – as players demand the easiest and slickest transactions going forward.