Jesper Søgaard, CEO and Co-Founder of Better Collective, spoke exclusively to Gambling Insider on the affiliate's progress in Brazil and the steps necessary to enter a new market.
What is most exciting about the opportunities presented by the Brazilian market?
We see Brazil as a very interesting growth market. With a regulatory system to be implemented in the country, a market of more than 200 million people will be brought into the world of regulated sports betting - this of course provides business opportunities to expand our activities.
How can affiliates help drive the growth of the market?
Whenever a new market starts to regulate, educating sports bettors on the new legal approach becomes crucial, and this is where affiliates are key in providing value. Affiliates can help ensure the promotion of regulated bookmakers and good actors. Affiliates can help empower the Brazil online betting audience through value-creating content, which will ensure bettors get the most entertainment for their money.
You have previously said it could take up to two years for the sports betting market to go live in Brazil. I’m sure you have your eye on markets across the world, especially the big ones, but at what stage during legal developments do you start to actively pursue operations?
We take our cue from the regulators and legislators. Where the regulator indicates they are not against the responsible promotion of betting and gaming activity while they are in the process of developing a concrete regulatory framework, we assess how to engage with users in a way which best suits the developing market. We have high internal customer protection and social responsibility standards that we apply in all markets, regardless of the level of regulation.
What kind of approach do you think would be best suited to operations in Brazil? Would it be based in M & A or embedding your own current brands in the market?
Both approaches are doable. We currently have a very strong presence in Brazil with Apuestas deportivas. But with the Brazil market moving from a grey to a regulated market, we also look for M & A opportunities to strengthen our position even further.
Legislation has been introduced that could see up to 32 casinos built in the country. Would you be interested in affiliation in this vertical?
At Better Collective, we are focused on sports betting, but we evaluate the opportunities in this vertical as well.
We know operators can sometimes work in unregulated or grey markets. Is there much of this going on in Brazil?
The effect of supply and demand is fairly undeniable. What you can see globally is that where there is a lack of clear, balanced regulation on gambling, a grey market springs up. The best way for a country to tackle this and ensure market oversight is to develop sound regulation with high social responsibility standards and a commercially viable licensing and taxation plan. We are very happy to see that Brazil is moving down this road as this ultimately will protect the Brazil betting audience and secure steady growth.
How would you compete with these companies once the market regulates, considering they might already have an established foothold in Brazil?
The same question is being raised in the developing US market. Ultimately, it comes down to ensuring a high-quality customer experience and brand recognition. As licensed operators will be able to advertise within a regulated market in a way that unlicensed operators cannot, licensed brands will receive higher exposure. Customers will also be able to rely on a level of consumer protection that cannot be guaranteed with unlicensed operators.