Are social casinos in South America the new “promised land” for European companies? (part 1)

latin american strategy social casinos

The South American gambling sphere attracts much attention among the developers of social casinos from Europe and the US

In the highly competitive global market for social casinos the greatest companies in the sector start looking for non-English speaking regions as the most attractive markets to target. Latin America has been stressed in the passed two years as one of these regions, with a rapidly evolving market offering place for social casino games and a having a changing attitude on the subject of real-money casino games.

As gambling news report, researches of the World Bank show that Latin America disposes with a relatively high levels of credit card ownership when compared to other developing countries, but also that the residents are rather “shy“ about using the accounts for direct payments.

Understanding the Latin American culture: one key for success on the gambling market on the continent

The developers of social casinos in South America is commonly said to be faced with a very deep-rooted culture that requires much adaptation to the local context if they want to achieve any kind of success. So one of the main points for making a successful launch of a gambling product on the South American market, especially in the domain of social and mobile casinos is to understand the culture in the right way.

As Vicenç Martí, CEO of the Latin-focused social casino game company Akamon claims “the advantages you find compared to other markets is that South America is way less crowded if you’re localizing well”. 

• The Latin American market opens great possibilities for social casinos development

• Deeper insights into the local culture provide a more solid base for success

• Mobile payments don’t work in South America: finding innovative way for monetization is a good start for launching a successful social casino game

However in attempt to “localize“ is not just limited by the language and the customs but demands a profound research which can guarantee that the art of the game we are selling, the text and the way we are promoting it are suited to the market. Practically whole complexes of factors, as online gambling sites in Brazil report, must be considered. “When Thanksgiving comes“continues Martí, “you’d be surprised how many U.S. companies run ads in South America” .

Alfonso Villar, CEO of Spanish casino gaming studio PlaySpace, points out a variety of cultural styles through the South American continent when gambling is concerned, ranging from the highly U.S.-influenced style in Mexico to the highly European influence in Argentina and Chile. On the other side, beside the many differences and the cultural variations there are many regionally popular games such as Truco, which can be found in all countries. This popular card game is much like to attract players on the mobile casino platforms than any variant of poker. As Villar claims due to this insight his company has a double strategy “to let niche local games have a steady growth, but at the same time localize global casino games.

In search for new payment methods

While it is certain that culturalization matters, other aspects cannot be left aside. What is the point of selling a product if one cannot monetize it? Most South American users don’t have credit cards and according to the World Bank reports, 70% of adults in the region are without a bank account, choosing instead to deal in cash. In this respect each game developer or publisher needs a monetization strategy in South America that will not rely heavily on mobile payments.

The strategy for monetizing that is applied by Akamon is focused on the big markets: Mexico, Brazil and the Andean nations such as Colombia and Peru. According to Marti “when one wants users to start paying, one needs to rely heavy on carrier billing”. This means the company needs to build a relationship with mobile carriers and payment providers in each country, which is a slow process but which might give results on a longer stage, repot online gambling sites in the EU.

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