Online Gambling approaching Latin America

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Even though land based gambling has been an established industry in various Latin American countries, we have seen slowly but surely, an interesting growth in the online gambling industry as companies from Europe and the United States have expanded their operations to different countries like Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina.Latin American Market for Virtual ItemsMore than ever, the gambling industry is looking south of the Unites States with different eyes as Latin America is presenting growing opportunities for investor, operators, equipment, and technology suppliers and many more within this industry this industry.  The potential market is there already, as a recent report (Latin American Gaming & Gambling Report 2011) stated that the 33 countries in Latin America have a total population of 596 million which have dedicated a large portion of their income to gambling.  Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela are considered to be the most prolific gambling countries in the region for slots machines, casinos, horseracing, lotteries, bingo and Internet gaming.

It’s time for operators to take a further look into the recent statistics in order to reconsider this market and begin plans to expand operations to Central and South America, especially taking into consideration that the infrastructure is ready to host the dynamics of online gambling.

The existing telecommunication infrastructure and Internet and mobile penetration levels in Latin America, provide interesting opportunities for mobile, Internet and Interactive TV gambling applications.  Internet penetration in Latin America by 2011 was at 36.7%, reaching over 212.4 million people.  Colombia is the fastest-growing Internet market in Latin America, growing 31% in the past year to reach 11.8 million unique visitors in September 2010, according to comScore.

Mobile phone penetration in Latin America by 2011 is well above the world average at 94%.  This is due to the inadequacy of telephone infrastructure do to geographical reasons as well as a predominately tropical weather in most part of the continent.  This large market provides great opportunities for mobile game operators who rely on this technology for the propagation of their product.

In terms of legislature, most Latin American countries don’t have laws prohibiting online gaming.  Therefore, right now is an ideal moment for companies to approach this market and be part of the birth of this business in Latin America.  It is important though, to take into consideration that there maybe cultural differences in each country and these differences will require additional efforts and research when approaching each new market.

Each year more conferences and networking opportunities, such as Gaming Executive Summit LatAm and SAGSE Gaming And Amusement,  are put together to invite the Online gaming industry to our continent and show them the current state of the business, as well as invite investors to learn more about the potential expansion of the Latino market.

The Latin American market is taking its first steps to becoming an important player in the online gaming industry as more companies approach this market, aware of the large potential and growing business opportunities.