6 November, 2023

Big Question: What is the most promising LatAm market?

Andy Phillips, CCO at Sporting Risk, Camilo Millon, Sales Director at Kambi and Hugo Llanos, Americas Regional Director at Altenar, discuss the potential of the LatAm market

The Big Question: What is the most promising LatAm market?

Andy Phillips, CCO, Sporting Risk 

Unlocking the potential of Brazil's sports betting market

Brazil’s sports betting market has generated plenty of attention and hype. To better understand the nuances of Brazil's sports betting landscape, we must explore its economic potential, regulatory developments, the local approach and the pivotal role of a product-first strategy. 

Large economy provides foundation

With a population of 215 million and an average age of 32, Brazil boasts the world’s eighth-largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. Above fellow LatAm giant, Mexico, in ninth and home of the world’s most mature gambling market, the UK, in 10th. SimilarWeb has reported that Brazil leads the world by volume of sportsbook website visits, with 22% of global hits. 

Navigating regulatory procedures

Navigating Brazil's regulatory landscape has been a challenge. After years of debate, Bill 3,626/23 was finally signed on September 2022. Then followed a wave of amendments and now further delays in the Senate. The process has left operators questioning the ultimate attractiveness of the market. 

Localised licensing

As federal regulation stalls, states like Rio de Janeiro and Paraná have taken the initiative by offering licences at local level. This move provides an opportunity for operators to enter the market with the benefits of regulation at a small scale. They are, however, subject to different licence fees, tax rates and requirements around geo-location and software compliance.

Competitive landscape

As early as March of this year, 39 teams out of the 40 that make up Serie A and B of the Brasileirão have some form of sponsorship agreement with betting firms, indicating that the market has already reached a degree of saturation. That level of competition and the high costs of obtaining a licence raise concerns about whether it’s all worth the investment. 

US as a cautionary tale

With all of these pressures on operators, are we set for a repeat of the US market where many have bowed out to leave the powerful duopoly of FanDuel and DraftKings? Two key challenges will be omitted, providing hope that Brazil won't go the same way: 

Firstly, federal regulation in Brazil should eliminate the state-by-state requirements faced by operators in the US. The technology, compliance and licensing overheads will be greatly reduced.

Secondly, we can predict that sports data costs will be far more affordable than in America. In Brazil, football is king, comprising 90% of revenues. Comparatively, the nature of the sport has never lent itself to driving expensive data rights. The game is slow, goals are infrequent, so latency is tolerable.   

Local operators who do not need cooperation from data providers for strong product in other sports to satisfy foreign markets will escape a lot of the leverage that these entities typically wield in negotiations. Meanwhile, in Brazil, sports rights holders will have less influence at the federal level than US sports have had at the state level in mandating official data as part of regulation. 

Product-first approach is pivotal

Another common mistake, now openly recognised by some US operators, can also be avoided. At the point PASPA was overturned, industry-wide, the US sports offering was weak and generic.

With products so underdeveloped across the board it was easy for operators to spend huge budgets marketing to players, who until then, had nothing but daily fantasy sports and offshore. 

Via the gradually lightening grey market, consumers in Brazil already have exposure to mature sports betting products and appreciate what is genuinely good. Most operators already possess the foundations of a strong soccer product so they will need to invest in localisation, differentiation and achieving best-in-class status. 

Adapting to the Brazilian market

It’s now clear that younger demographics have a closer affinity to footballers than teams. This is partly driven by interaction through social media. Talents like Neymar with 216 million followers can completely dwarf the leading club side, FC Flamengo with 19 million. As such, sportsbook innovation needs to start with an understanding of the player-action component as the basic building block. Team-based power ratings simply do not have the resolution to keep up with what is to come. 

At the same time everything across the football product must be combinable. Unlike in Europe, the audience hasn’t developed, in over a decade or more, with the understanding that certain markets are correlated and cannot be combined. There is to be no patience for a product that can’t offer this. 

While the scope of the product expands exponentially, UX must adapt. Providing the customer with data is key but operators need to avoid confusing the audience with a self-service buffet. Curated statistics can provide the context for different features. They must work like a TV commentator to deliver the most relevant narratives and promote the product when it is at its most engaging. 


While Brazil’s sports betting market may appear complex and challenging, it holds immense potential for those willing to work through the intricacies and lead with a product-first strategy. Featuring a buoyant economy, progressing regulatory landscape and a football-mad population, Brazil offers a special opportunity for operators. Drawing lessons from past experiences, both positive and negative, will unlock the vast potential that Brazil’s sports betting market promises.


Camilo Millon, Sales Director, Kambi

Considering Kambi's focus on regulated markets, the largest currently would be Mexico, where Kambi provides sports betting solutions for our long-standing partner Rush Street Interactive and it RushBet brand.

Mexico boasts a substantial population of nearly 130 million people and a robust, comparatively stable economy in contrast to its regional counterparts.

Colombia is also one of the largest markets in the region with a strong regulatory framework, where Kambi powers the current market leader, BetPlay, as well as Rush Street Interactive.

A regulated Colombian market was an important stepping stone in Latin America, as other countries such as Peru, Argentina and Brazil have used their regulation as a reference to inform their own legalised sports betting operations.

Brazil comes into the spotlight as the standout candidate when considering its potential as a regulated market. They have a massive population that exceeds 200 million people and boasts a deeply ingrained gaming culture. 

Its gaming industry is projected to surge to remarkable heights, with anticipated revenues reaching a staggering $490.6bn by 2023. In fact, this elevates Brazil to the upper echelons, ranking it among the top five largest gambling markets globally. So Brazil is high on the list, but so too is Mexico.


Hugo Llanos, Americas Regional Director, Altenar 

Brazil is seen by operators worldwide as LatAm’s leading market and as the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee continues to consider the sports betting regulation bill, the country remains the brightest growth opportunity on the map.

Time will tell how long it takes for regulation to pass through, with Senate forecasting completion by the end of the year, but operators are already keeping a watchful eye on developments, making preparations for swift entry with an unlimited amount of licences available. 

Legalisation of sports betting is set to raise up to BRL$12bn ($239.7m) per year in tax, with a boost of $1bn to the gambling industry expected by 2026.

The latest bill calls for the BRL$30m licence fee to remain, along with an 18% tax on revenue, which some operators may find prohibitive, but this is not an opportunity to be missed. 

Brazil’s massive population of more than 216.4 million displays a huge passion for sport, with a love of football running through their veins. There are also vast audiences for basketball, volleyball, NFL and MMA, which all represent significant growth opportunities for local and non-domicile operators looking to establish a presence in the market. 

For the above reasons, it is undeniable that Brazil holds the most promise for businesses looking to make a name for themselves in LatAm. One of our first partners was a large Brazilian operator and we plan to continue our commitment to this region by establishing our first office there when regulation passes through.

If we are to remove Brazil from the equation, Mexico is a close second and I believe much of its potential is still to be discovered. It has a sizable market with a gross gambling yield of $500m and 10% year-on-year growth, while raising more than $300m in annual tax revenues.

It has a growing economy, with a population who are hugely passionate about sports, in particular American sports. It is estimated around 40% of people in Mexico have bet on sport in some form in the past year and a quarter of bettors wagered on sport for the first time in the last year, showing huge growth. 

As with many of the booming LatAm markets, Mexico’s middle class is growing which represents a demographic of people who have more money to spend on their hobbies and interests. An internet penetration rate of 79% and reduced tax regime for sports betting operators to 15% makes this fertile ground for those looking to go live in the country.

When it comes to exactly how we can make a difference – Altenar already provides services to operators in countries across the region, including Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico.

Each country must be treated as unique, with varying tastes and betting trends and if operators can demonstrate an ability to localise and diversify their offering for different LatAm markets and customer bases, there are bountiful opportunities to be had.