Bragg Gaming Group has bolstered its presence in a number of key markets after taking its content live with Sportium in Spain, with Mexico and Colombia set to follow.

Titles from Bragg’s exclusive casino content portfolio, as well as aggregated games from third-party providers, have been introduced to Sportium’s platform and are now available to the leading operator’s customers.

A renowned operator in Spain since 2007, CIRSA-owned Sportium has expanded its offering to regions in LatAm over the last seven years, quickly gaining market share with its premium sports betting and casino products.

The partnership with Sportium sees Bragg significantly cement its foothold in the Spanish market and is a testament to the supplier’s broad and localized content offering.

The upcoming launch with the operator in LatAm forms part of the company’s strategy to roll out with more partners in the region, as more countries prepare to regulate online casino.

Matej Nemec, commercial director at Bragg Gaming Group, said: “The collaboration with Sportium is an important one for us as we continue our global expansion, with Spain a key market today, and LatAm a crucial part of our future growth trajectory.

“Sportium is a trusted operator with decades of experience and a strong brand and we are thrilled to add our popular titles to its online casino in Spain and regulated markets in LatAm.”

Latam gambling expert Thomas Carvalhaes believes Brazil should follow the lead of Colombia in regulating online gambling if it is to create a sustainable, regulated market.

Carvalhaes is the managing director of Brazilian online betting operator Vai De Bob, and has previously worked with several global brands, including Hero Gaming and LeoVegas, to help them establish and develop their presence in Brazil and other Latam markets.

Speaking on a Latam-focused panel at iGaming NEXT Valletta 23 today (21 June), Carvalhaes suggested that regulations recently proposed by the Brazilian government will serve to undermine the creation of a fair and sustainable market in the country.

Brazil’s latest regulatory proposal

In April, the government introduced a proposal for sports betting regulation which included a licensing fee of R$30m, a tax on GGR set at 16%, and a further tax on customers’ winnings set at 30%.

“For me as an operator, that’s completely unfair,” Carvalhaes said during today’s panel session.

“Nothing justifies a R$30m fee for sports betting only. If anyone feels positively about that as an operator, I really want to talk to them and find out their ROI plan, because it doesn’t make sense to me. 

“How can you invest R$30m, unless you’re a multi-million, massive giant? For the small operators, what’s going to happen is they’re probably going to run a massive black market, just like happened in Mexico. 

“You have the largest guys there running the show, and then you have a lot of guys just running under the radar. That’s probably what’s going to happen [in Brazil] because we’re talking R$30m, plus taxing the player 30% on winnings.”

Change is coming

While the proposals have been viewed unfavourably by many in the sector, they at least offer some level of certainty into the future of the market.

Sports betting was legalised in Brazil in 2018, but the government is yet to introduce a nationwide licensing regime and regulatory framework for the sector.

Instead, at present some states have used their own interpretations of existing lottery regulations to begin issuing licences to betting operators.

The political split between state and federal lawmakers, alongside continuing political turmoil and a great deal of “going back and forth, back and forth” on betting regulation, have turned the situation around gambling into “a bit of a soap opera,” Carvalhaes added.

That brings dangers for the betting sector, as Carvalhaes suggested, because “some states are regulating betting on the state level, but we don’t know if that’s going to stand up the moment that national regulation comes.”

For that reason, he added, “we need regulation on the national level for sports betting.”

What’s the alternative?

In order to bring about a strong betting sector nationally, Carvalhaes suggested the Brazilian government should aim to emulate its neighbours in Colombia, where well defined regulations have helped to develop a competitive and thriving online gambling sector since the market launched in 2017.

“For me as an operator, Colombia is the best example of what must be done in the other countries in Latin America. 

“Firstly, you have your target audience – the population with a very high propensity to gamble. You also have more than 80% internet penetration in the country, and Colombia is a technology hub for Latin America.

“And then, when it comes to the market, per se, we have regulation that’s clear. There’s no way you can get tangled up when it comes to regulation in Colombia, because it’s clear: you offer your product there, you pay 16% taxes to the government and to [local regulator] Coljuegos, and you can operate.

“Most of the operators that I know there are very happy with the results. As a regulated market, I think Colombia is the best example,” Carvalhaes concluded.

The development of a nationwide regulatory framework remains an ongoing discussion in Brazil. The latest predictions suggest regulations may be introduced by 2024.

Rush Street Interactive is continuing its aggressive expansion into Latin America with two new offices in Colombia, the company announced Monday.

Rush Street is putting offices in Medellin as well as Bogota, the nation’s capital and most-populated city. The brick-and-mortar offices will help the company’s RushBet digital gaming brand in Colombia as well as Mexico, the company said in a release.

“We are investing in the region’s future and recognize the importance of earning the trust and respect of the communities where we operate,” said Richard Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer at RSI, in a statement. “It’s important to have the brightest and strongest local teams to execute RSI’s ambitious growth strategy.”

Rush Street estimates a total addressable audience of more than 180m between Colombia as well as Mexico, where it also offers RushBet. RSI was the first major American online gaming company to launch in Colombia and is one of the nation’s leading operators by market share.

There are further plans to expand in both countries as well as other jurisdictions in Latin and South America, Rush Street officials said in a statement announcing the office openings.

In Bogota, the 8,000-square-foot Rush Street office features a digital multimedia wall, poker room-styled conference areas and a full basketball court, among other features. The Medellin office will help develop RSI’s technology and is part of Colombia’s growing “Valle de Software,” per company release.

The office openings follow Rush Street securing partnerships with many of the region’s leading businesses and media companies. RSI also recently expanded its exclusive partnership with LaLiga, Spain’s top soccer league, from Colombia to all of South America.

The Latin America push comes as Rush Street struggles with market share in the US. One of the first operators to start taking bets outside Nevada following the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal wagering ban, RSI has fallen significantly behind market leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars.

In the US, Rush Street is live in 13 states, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania, the four largest markets by handle. Chicago-headquartered Rush Street trails the aforementioned market leaders in all these markets except Illinois, where it was the first legal operator to take bets.

Rush Street operates the BetRivers brand in most of these states. It also operates the PlaySugarHouse brand in the US.

The company’s market share struggles have led to a significant drop in the company’s stock, tracing much of the rest of the industry (and markets overall) over the past 12 months. RSI remains a rumored acquisition target for another company, but officials have given little indication that such a deal is imminent.

For now, Latin America appears to be the greatest potential area for growth, either for the company internally or as an acquisition target.

“These new state-of-the art offices further exemplify our innovation and continued investment in Latin America and the future growth we expect in the region,” Schwartz said in a statement. “It was important for us to invest in creating world-class facilities to continue to attract and retain top industry talent, who play a vital role in RSI’s ongoing growth in Latin America.”

Betsson has officially opened its operational centre in Bogotá, Colombia, to reflect Latam as a key contributor of revenue for the operator.

Betsson’s Latam hub has been in the making for quite some time and is designed to drive regional growth through a high level of localisation and cultural expertise provided by the Latin American team, in close cooperation with the operator’s Malta headquarters.

“Latin America is a special region for us, so I’m especially excited about opening this operations centre in Bogota,” said Betsson Group CEO Jesper Svensson, according to a report in Games Magazine Brazil.

“I am confident that, thanks to the talent present in the company, we will continue our progressive growth in the region and contribute to the development of an industry based on responsible entertainment,” he added.

Betsson has been present in Latam since 2008 and is currently active in Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

In fact, Betsson has recorded significant revenue growth in Latam throughout the past quarters.

In Q2 2022, Latam accounted for 25% of Betsson’s overall revenue after generating €45.7m, while in Q3, Latam revenue increased by 59% annually to €38.8m, even though revenue declined sequentially in the region due to a lower sportsbook margin.

Mexico is the most recent market that Betsson has entered.

In August, the Betsson brand went live in Mexico with casino, live casino and sports betting through its partnership with local land-based operator Big Bola Casinos.

Betsson also increased its ownership stake in Colombian operator Colbet from 70% to 88% in Q3.

Moreover, Betsson is the official sponsor of the professional football league in Peru and the CONMEBOL Copa América Feminina e Meno.

Evert Montero Cardenas, president of Fecoljuegos, the Colombian Federation of Entrepreneurs of Games of Luck and Chance, commented at the inauguration of Betsson’s operational centre that the association was satisfied with Betsson’s contribution in Colombia.

He added that the opening of Betsson’s Latam hub showed the country’s support for the gaming industry, which is driving innovation and technological progress, as well as generating new jobs.

Betsson’s Latam-led expansion has now reached Mexico after the company launched its online gaming offering in the country’s locally regulated market.

Using global flagship brand Betsson, the Stockholm-listed operator will provide Mexican players with online casino, live casino, and localised sports betting.

The launch was facilitated via Betsson’s commercial partnership with local land-based giant Big Bola Casinos.

The sports betting product – launched on Betsson’s proprietary sportsbook platform – will adopt a North American approach by focusing on money line, parlay and teaser wagers, among others.

Betsson’s Mexican operations will be managed and supported by its Colombia-based Latam hub, which was created in 2021 in Bogota.

The hub is designed to drive regional growth through a high level of localisation and cultural expertise provided by the Latam team in combination with the firm’s Malta headquarters.

Betsson launched its product in Mexico earlier in September on a trial basis.

It will now ramp up commercial activities ahead of larger tournaments this year, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December.

Andrea Rossi, commercial director for Latin America at Betsson Group, said: “We are overjoyed to have launched in Mexico, the second biggest gaming market in Latin America.

“We will be using our experience in the online gaming industry and with this we are certain that we will attain our vision of offering engaging products as well as providing the best customer experience in the industry, now also to our Mexican customers,” he added.

Betsson has been active in Latam since 2008 and has since developed a presence in countries including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and now Mexico.

In the most recent reporting quarter (Q2 2022), Betsson reported all-time high revenue of €186.3m, primarily driven by sportsbook performance in Latam.

Indeed, Latam-specific revenue soared by 86.2% to €45.7m in Q2, accounting for a quarter (25%) of the group’s overall revenue total.

Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson Operations, said: “We continue to deliver on our geographically diversified growth strategy and see great potential ahead in the Latin American markets in general and in Mexico in particular, given the size of its economy and population.

“I am particularly excited about the upcoming football World Cup during the seasonally very busy fourth quarter and am confident that Mexican customers will enjoy Betsson’s market-leading product offering,” he added.

US operator Rush Street Interactive will go live with online sports betting and iGaming in Mexico for the first time in partnership with media conglomerate Grupo Multimedios.

The two companies have signed a 25-year agreement and will look to launch online gambling operations in the country in Q2 2022.

Grupo Multimedios was founded in 1933 in Monterrey and plays a significant role in multiple industries, including media, sports, entertainment, food, wine and real estate.

Crucially, one of its many subsidiaries holds a licence to operate online gambling in Mexico, which will help to facilitate the launch of Rush Street’s gaming platform to consumers.

As part of the agreement, Rush Street will also be able to leverage the media giant’s vast array of commercial assets and distribution channels across television, radio, print, billboards and digital.

Grupo Multimedios owns Mediotiempo, a digital sports website with more than seven million unique monthly users, and Milenio, considered the number one digital national news source in Mexico with 27.7 million unique users per month.

Canal 6, a network of 22 television stations and 63 radio stations, is also part of the group.

In recent years, Grupo Multimedios has expanded into several businesses beyond media and holds ownership in multiple sports teams, including Mexican baseball franchise Sultanes de Monterrey and two professional basketball teams.

It is now eyeing a slice of online sports betting revenue in collaboration with Rush Street.

Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz said: “We are excited to partner with Grupo Multimedios, one of the most respected media enterprises in Mexico, which we believe will serve as a great accelerant for building our online gaming operations in the country.

“Mexico represents an attractive market opportunity, with a population of more than 130 million, which, when combined with Colombia’s population of 50 million, will expand RSI’s offering in Latam significantly.

“We were deeply impressed by Grupo Multimedios’ management team and long track record of success, including the growth of its digital businesses in Mexico, which will be extremely valuable as we launch and grow our business in Mexico,” he added.

Rush Street was the first US gaming company to launch a regulated online sportsbook in Latam when it launched in Colombia in 2018.

In the most recent quarter with published data from Colombia’s gaming regulatory body, the site accounted for nearly 20% of online casino and sports betting handle in the country.

Rush Street, which is also live in New York with its BetRivers brand, is estimated to be the fourth largest operator of online casino and sports betting in the US by Eilers & Krejcik as of December 2021, with real-money mobile, online and retail operations in 13 states to date.

“As the first US gaming company to launch a regulated online gaming sportsbook in Latam, we have a deep understanding and appreciation for the communities where we operate and the localisation that is needed to thrive in the market,” said Schwartz.

“We look forward to leveraging the infrastructure, operations team, and relationships developed during our five years of business in Latam as we expand our online gaming platform into a growing Mexico market.

“We are thrilled to build on our existing success in Latam and will continue to expand our presence in the region and globally,” he added.

Rush Street’s share price climbed by more than 6% to $9.40 per share in early trading on Nasdaq.

Online gambling has been legal in Mexico in some capacity since 2004 and is regulated by the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB). Regulated operators face a fixed 30% tax on revenue.

Bet365 launched in Mexico in 2019 via a media partnership with TV Azteca, while Betsson signed an agreement last year to launch an online gambling offering in collaboration with land-based casino operator Big Bola.