What are your key concerns / anticipated challenges when considering entry into a new territory and how do you overcome them? And overall, which emerging territories are you targeting?
Given our status as supplier, we invariably enter new territories at the behest of our customers; it is tacitly understood that they have completed a suitability audit. That said, upon being given the green light to produce goalscorer markets, or TV listings, for a region not previously catered for, we need to consider what sources we are going to use to extract the relevant information. Invariably, these will be local media and news sites and will require some translation. One thing we have noticed more and more is the use of paywalls, even at a regional level. While totally understandable, they are somewhat frustrating for us!
What do you hope the addition of coverage in Ecuador to Goalscorer Pricing & Settlement (GPS) next season, as discussed in Issue 1, will do for the product?
Adding Ecuador has really helped showcase our ability to compile goalscorers for pretty much any territory. It has also proved a catalyst for others to take this league, as well as other similar competitions, in our ever-expanding LatAm portfolio. We have leveraged our extensive coverage in this growing region to appeal to other operators in the territory. We are already seeing success with this approach, with several requests for further information in the last few weeks.
What about other new emerging territories for GPS and how has the product fared in the emerging territories of, for example, Colombia, Argentina and Peru?
Feedback, when given, has been very positive with notably strong praise for the product performance in Argentina and Chile. Peru and Ecuador are also performing well, but the market type is perhaps taking longer to bed in these regions. Brazil has been a superstar from day one, and our coverage here continues to expand. This past season we covered three regional tournaments (Carioca, Paulista, Mineiro) in full, an industry first, we’re sure.
Are you seeing increased demand for Televised & Streamed Sports (TSS) from LatAm in 2023 as you predicted in iNTERGAMINGi Issue 1?
As forecast we have seen interest from both new and current customers in our Televised & Streamed Sports (TSS) product in the region. There has been healthy demand as brands fight for market share. Our service offers a localised differential to help in these emerging regions.
Recently we have upped our coverage by 45 channels and now deliver our listings for both Mexico and Brazil to multiple clients.
Sportsbooks and sports scores apps are using our listings to highlight both their localised streaming content and worldwide sporting events, that their customers can watch through their platforms and on traditional television.
What about increased overall demand in the industry for sports betting and igaming in LatAm and other emerging territories?
As mentioned, demand for our goalscorer product (GPS) in LatAm is at an all-time high. This season, for the first time, we are offering prices for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamerica from the group stage to final. That’s 192 games just from the group, plus the knockout stages on top. We’ve previously only picked up Copa Sudamerica coverage later in the tournament.
One of our most progressive clients has recently started operating in Nigeria, their first foray into Africa. Given the profile of soccer there, we expect GPS to be front and centre of their soccer offering.
As a proportion of our coverage, competitions from Latam and Africa are at an all-time high, which we believe is in line with wider industry trends
What is the latest on Virtually Sports and how is it having an impact on emerging territories in 2023?
Despite only small amounts of marketing over the last year, ICE 2023 was really the moment that Virtually Sports became ‘known’ within the betting and gaming industry. Our virtual cricket game in particular was extremely well received with specific interest around the in-play and cashout functionality that is included within the game. There has also been interest in our VR, and long format in-play games – see http://www.virtuallysports.com for more info on these.
Developing games with low bandwidth requirements for regions where that is an issue, is high on our objectives for the next year. Our in-play soccer game, with simple web-based visualisations, is the first of these products to hit the African market this year.
How is Bet Stimulation adaptable to new market entry in emerging territories and what are your plans for new market entries with this product?
Bet Stimulation, such as our TSS product, is a perfect way of assisting market launches. Not only is it relatively inexpensive but it also adds familiarity for customers.
As mentioned we have pushed into new territories recently and will continue to do as long as the demand is there.
Are the current economic concerns around the world having an impact on operators and suppliers’ plans to enter emerging territories and what will the industry do to overcome these concerns?
There’s no doubt the current global economic malaise is affecting where operators choose to set up shop. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the US, where PointsBet this week put its US business up for sale. They aren’t the only ones to feel the pressure of competition and high tax rates, in what is rapidly turning into a small and exclusive group of cash burning superpowers.
This has contributed to push operators into exploring other newly regulated or grey markets as they seek to diversify their business exposure.
Has the mobile-first approach in Asian and South American emerging territories seen operators and suppliers take a different strategy to expansion in other regions e.g. Europe?
European gambling is too widespread to categorise, as mobile is already king in markets like the UK, but less so in, for example, Italy. There’s no doubt that as smartphone ownership increases and reliable internet connections become ubiquitous, mobile will become the dominant force, even in current retail-heavy regions throughout Europe.
To cater for emerging markets, where bandwidth is a concern, lighter, simpler apps and sites are required. Opera Mini is one such browser, popular in Africa, that can allow penetration into less developed infrastructure. Building websites that can run on browsers such as this may seem like anathema to developers in Western Europe, but they are important considerations if you want to be competitive in certain emerging territories.
What impact do you expect a soon-to-be regulated Brazilian market will have on the industry and other emerging territories in potentially motivating other emerging markets to regulate?
Brazil, with its 215M+ people and their passion for football, has been sending operators into a frenzy for a while. The Brazilian leagues have been increasingly important for us and our operators; our coverage here continues to expand. We’ve already seen in LatAm that other countries are following on the heels of Brazil. It makes sense, given the pastime is already popular in many of these countries, to tax it. Colombia and Peru have regulated and Uruguay have made plans to join the fray.