Latin America is an untapped market when it comes to iGaming, and it’s a market that has a lot of potential. There are an increasing number of sportbooks and online casino operators opening up every year in an area that shares a culture that involves an appreciation for gambling. Mobile gambling is especially popular nowadays, as it is the world over. A majority of Latinx residents use mobile internet access as their primary, or even sole form of accessing the internet. Slots, bingo, and poker are all very popular and of course they’re not about to hide their love of sports by avoiding sports betting. So, the potential for development is definitely there in these countries.
So what countries are we talking about? What countries are more susceptible to the impact of the gambling industry? What ones are ripe for the picking for a new iGaming business to infiltrate? We explore in this guide.
Argentina has the 3rd largest economy in all of Latin America, with a population of around 50 million permanently living there. That is a large market that is likely to reward you with a return on investment.
More than 15 of Argentina’s provinces have legalised online gambling, giving you a boost over a few other Latin American countries. However, the regulation might hold you back. Argentina’s regulation is done province by province rather than on a national scale, which means adhering to 15 different set of rules and residents need a permit to gamble.
Belize is an English-speaking area, making basic business operations a lot easier than in other countries and making it appealing to US, Canadian and European investors. Gambling in Belize is regulated by the Gambling Control Commission, with a license fee of a relatively good $10,000, making it attractive to offshore companies and real world and online casino operators looking to open a physical location.
Brazil’s love of soccer is no secret, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Brazilian sports fans, making it a prime location for any online casino operators looking to open a sports book. With that in mind, it will be no surprise to say that Brazil is the biggest gambling market in Latin America. A population of over 200 million, half of them with mobile access, plus a passion for soccer, makes for a great location to start an iGaming endeavour.
Colombia is right behind Argentina as the 4th biggest economy but it really makes its mark as one of the largest gambling markets in Latin America. All types of gambling is legal in Colombia, making for a population that roughly 60% of which are involved with or interested in gambling. With a population of 50 million, that’s a large market to infiltrated. But get in there fast because the market is developing quickly, and with online, real world and sports betting all legal, there is a lot of opportunity here.
Costa Rica is an interesting option for online casino operators due to its unique approach to licensing. It is a hub for foreign online casino operators due to its approach of foreign companies offering Costa Rica citizens a “data processing” license, making Costa Rica one of the biggest offshore regulators in the world.
However, offline casino gambling isn’t easy for the typical Costa Rican. Land-based casinos are few and far between, and they can be limited to only a few table games and slot machines. Maybe this is an opportunity to expand?
Mexico is right behind Brazil as the second biggest economy in Latin America and with a population of 120 million, the gambling market is thriving, bringing in $300 million in revenue every year.
Sports and table games are both very popular here. Baccarat and blackjack in particular are a big hit in Mexico, as is, famously like Brazil, soccer and boxing. But its regulations are mixed across regions. Just about everything has a nuance to its regulations, like poker being only allowed in physical casinos and fantasy sports allowed but not written into legislation. Every form of gambling is prohibited, but with legal go-arounds in every instance.
Panama has a long history of loving gambling right down to the legislation. Since 1941 the gambling industry has been legalized and the State Council for the Control of Games was created.
What might put off online casino operators is the cost of a license. $50,000 is arguably valuable or not, depending on what you think of the lack of tax for online casino operators targeting foreigners and the fact that the authorities lack of oversight has tarnished the market’s reputation.