Sports betting

Latam focus: Understanding Latin America’s sports bettors

Pronet Gaming’s sportsbook and trading director Tommy Molloy discusses the opportunities and challenges presented in fast-growing, emerging markets across Latin America, and why finding a local approach to sportsbook products is so important

EGR Intel (EGR): How is Pronet Gaming adapting its sports betting offering for Latin American markets?

Tommy Molloy (TM): As with Europe, football is king in Latin America. Soccer drives upwards of 75% of sportsbook turnover across the region, so clearly it needs to be the focus. Admittedly, it’s a large continent and we do see specific trends when we drill down at a country level, but generally the sport remains the most important across the board.

Operators are not going to enjoy success if they can’t deliver a high-quality football product. A big part of this is finding ways to really customise and localise the nature of the football product. Our unique front-end UI/UX is developed to tailor the offering, allowing operators across Latin America to deliver a bespoke look and feel to their customers, which keeps football at the core.

Our modular front-end allows operators to strategically place key products for Latam markets in primary locations on their website, on both mobile and desktop. Features such as popular leagues, popular events and the functionality to offer pre-canned, ready-made bets ensure Pronet offers its partners the flexibility to differentiate. This is absolutely vital in the increasingly competitive emerging markets of the region.

EGR: In what ways do the preferences of sports bettors in Latin America differ from those in more mature, European markets?

TM: While there is a similarity at the sport level – football dominates and is followed by tennis and basketball – the main differences appear to be seen at market level. If we dig into player preferences across key Latam markets, they actually differ significantly from what we are seeing in most of Europe.

Players are first and foremost demanding 1×2 markets, and we’re not quite seeing the diversity in market selection that we get in Europe, where choices such as totals betting are hugely popular. This is no great surprise given the difference in maturity between the regions, and over time we’ll likely see sports bettors in Latin America begin to explore other betting markets in greater numbers. But for now, 1×2 is where much of the action is.

As for leagues, you simply cannot understate the importance of local competitions. Almost all Latin American countries have successful domestic leagues, and the top divisions of these tend to be the main driver of activity in their respective countries.

Anyone who has attended a football match in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia or elsewhere on the continent can tell you about the passion these teams inspire. There is some demand for La Liga, the Premier League, the Champions League and others – particularly among teams featuring popular players from Latin America – but it is a mistake to offer a Eurocentric selection to a Latin American audience.

Elsewhere, esports is one to keep an eye on. Obviously, it is growing as a driver of betting activity worldwide, and Latin America is absolutely no exception. With upwards of 20,000 esports events offered via the Pronet platform, we are perfectly positioned to offer our partners industry-leading coverage.

EGR: How might Pronet Gaming’s recently launched Popular Bets and Popular Events widgets be used in Latin America?

TM: Both our Popular Bets and Popular Events modules have been extremely well received. Innovation is at the very forefront of everything we do here at Pronet, and with both modules auto-populating the most popular betting opportunities – refreshed on a five-minute cycle – our partners are able to offer the most relevant content automatically to their players.

Our Latam operators are already taking advantage of this proprietary functionality with strategic placement of those modules front and centre on their websites, driving more traffic than ever before as a result.

This innovation comes not long after our bespoke Copa América widgets offering full match, group betting, outrights and specials markets. The widgets were key to us breaking a number of records for turnover and bet counts across both the Copa América and European Championships this summer.

EGR: What is around the corner for sports betting in Latin America? Is there anything that will change the outlook?

TM: As Latin American markets continue to mature, there is considerable room for development, both in terms of product innovation but also the fine tuning of regulation.

Regulation, of course, will be the key driver in how the landscape shapes going forward. Colombia has set a high standard on that front already, creating a framework and conditions for strong market growth. It is fair to say that progress elsewhere has been unsteady, but we are gradually seeing positive steps in some key jurisdictions such as Buenos Aires province in Argentina and, of course, Brazil.

On the product side, I see in-play betting increasing in Latin American markets over time. In-play is already popular in the region, but not to the extent we’ve seen in Europe. We’d expect in-play to account for a growing share of total turnover over the coming years.

Looking at GGR estimations over the next five years, we will see many operators from more mature markets pursuing licences or partnerships with local companies. This process is already well underway. To make a success of it, those operators will need to offer a local product as opposed to pushing a generic, one-size-fits-all model from one continent to another.

At Pronet, we offer unique and bespoke solutions whether we have operators in Africa, where a simplified UI is key due to heavy data costs, or in Latam, where the focus may be on football and 1×2 betting. It is about understanding the needs of customers in a market and having the product flexibility to deliver upon it.

EGR: Why choose Pronet Gaming in emerging markets?

TM: Pronet Gaming has proven time and again that we are the go-to platform built for emerging markets. With technology and innovation at our core, we are agile enough to create solutions that differentiate Latam operators from each other.

As the market matures and competition grows, Latam operators are often tied into legacy technology and products which simply can’t keep up. We are seeing more markets in the region embrace sports betting, and Pronet’s dynamic approach to emerging markets will continue to prove invaluable, particularly as regulation starts to change the landscape.

From offering a fully bespoke front-end UI/UX to offering the correct coverage such as all the top regional sports, leagues and events, down to providing betting opportunities on prop betting and rapid markets specific to region, Pronet ensures an unrivalled solution tailored directly to our individual client’s needs.

Tommy Molloy, Pronet Gaming

Tommy Molloy is sportsbook and trading director at Pronet Gaming. With a wealth of knowledge and management expertise across product, operations and sports trading, Molloy has over 15 years’ experience working for established businesses and start-up ventures in B2B and B2C environments. Before joining Pronet Gaming in July 2019, he held the position of head of sports at Tabcorp and has also held leading roles for Sportradar and Betway, among others.

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