AS Latin America continues to develop as a land of opportunity for Europe-based gaming companies, CasinoBeats talked to Miguel Ángel Lázaro, the new managing director of R Franco Digital.
CB: You’ve recently been appointed MD of R Franco Digital. What is the focus for the coming months?
MAL: “It is a real honour to lead the R Franco Digital team, especially as it is a company that I’ve been working at for almost two decades now.
“Of course, the R Franco Group has great heritage in the land-based sector but in recent years we’ve invested heavily in our digital division and we now have an extremely competitive product offering on that side.
“One area we are looking at closely at the moment is Latin America, where we are already
active in Colombia with Corredor Empresarial and enjoying strong growth in the
region’s first fully regulated igaming market.”
What is the regulatory outlook for online gaming in Latin America?
“Latin America as a region is making encouraging progress, but this is on a country-by-
country basis so of course some jurisdictions are well ahead of others.
“As mentioned, Colombia is the focus at the moment. The market will soon have reached
double figures in terms of licensed operators and is growing at an impressive rate. The
Colombian regulator, Coljuegos, has struck a strong balance with its framework and we see
other jurisdictions watching closely.
“The Peruvian regulator has expressed its intent to pursue a workable framework and is heading in the right direction”
“I would expect to see other markets follow with similar frameworks in the coming months
and years. Peru is one market that has talked about igaming regulation for many years. The Peruvian regulator has expressed its intent to pursue a workable framework and, while
process has been slow, it is certainly heading in the right direction.
“Then there is Brazil, which could be a real game-changer for igaming not just in LatAm but
globally. The size of the potential market is significant, and I’d be surprised if any major
operator or supplier isn’t watching very closely, even if we may still be a couple of years
away from a solution.”
What are the unique challenges of operating in Latin America?
“The most important thing to remember is that Latin America isn’t one homogeneous region. Just as operators tailor their products to Spain or Italy, so they will need to do so to
regulated markets in Latin America.
“For instance, while Peru could well adopt similar legislation to Colombia, the state of the
market is still very different, in everything from player preferences to the relationship
between online and land-based gaming. The key will be flexibility and a willingness to take a local approach.”
“Omni-channel has been a buzzword in Europe for some years, but I would argue it will be even more important in LatAm”
How will omni-channel solutions relate to Latin American gaming?
“Omni-channel has been a buzzword in Europe for some years now, but I would argue that it will be even more important a factor in LatAm.
“With online gaming still nascent in the region, many customers’ only gaming experience at
this point would have been at a physical point of sale or casino. As a result, using the land-
based proposition as a touchpoint for reaching these players is going to be key.
“Similarly, I would not expect to see the same progression from desktop to mobile
gaming that we’ve seen in Europe.
“Growth in Latin America’s online sector is going to be powered by mobile from the outset, and those operators who cannot offer a compelling mobile experience will quickly be left behind.”