GMB - What are Betgenius’ expectations for Online Gaming Summit Brazil, an unprecedented event for our markets? Are there any products that you believe are suited to the market?
Matt Stephenson - We are excited to be participating in the inaugural Online Gaming Summit Brazil this week. We’ve been long-term advocates of regulated sports betting in territories across the globe and that’s no different when it comes to Brazil.
There is still some way to go, but the key to success in sports betting markets around the world is that they are underpinned by robust, well-thought through legislation. The recent decision made by both houses of the Brazilian legislature regarding the legalisation of land-based and online sports wagering is hugely significant.
With the Ministry of Finance being tasked with drafting the regulatory framework,, the Brazilian government has taken a huge step to help eliminate illegal betting and its criminal elements whilst establishing strong player protections, enhance responsible gambling measures and do everything within its powers to prevent threats of match-fixing.
From a product perspective, we believe that in-play betting will hold the key to long-term growth as it has done in other markets. As a global expert in live betting, Betgenius powers the in-play operations of over 150 sportsbooks in regulated markets across the world, giving customers the most engaging betting experiences available. We’ve seen first-hand the success and enormous growth of in-play betting in mature markets and expect high quality live offerings to be a key driver of a future regulated Brazilian sports betting space.
In recent days, the Brazilian Congress has moved legalized sports betting, what is your opinion of this progress? What do you expect?
Betgenius only works with operators in regulated markets and is hugely encouraged by recent political developments in Brazil that indicate that the country will soon embrace robust sports betting regulation.
As part of Genius Sports Group, we support measures to create a sustainable sports data and betting ecosystem that provides money for sports, protects consumers,and drives growth for betting operators. As a global expert in regulation, we have been kindly invited to share our insights on industry best practices with regulators worldwide (including the UK Gambling Commission, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement and Coljuegos to name a few) . Our goal is to help them implement regulatory frameworks that provide sports with a fair return on their assets whilst protecting the integrity of their games as well as ensuring our betting products are powered by the safest, fastest and most accurate data available.
We humbly make ourselves available to the regulatory authorities in Brazil to share any expertise that might be useful to them. Our goal is to help support a sustainable and healthy sports-betting environment that protects consumers, prevents corruption and is conducive to long-term success of the industry. We are also supportive of tax revenues garnered from this regulation going to support increased security and safety of the Brazilian people.
How do you think regulated sports betting in Brazil should look? Do you expect it to be multi-licensed?
This is up to the Brazilian Government to decide and we can only humbly share our thoughts. Experience in other jurisdictions indicates that often a multi-licence approach provides a platform for sustainable growth by encouraging fair competition.
Importantly, a multi-licence approach is far more likely to help eradicate the illegal market and defeat corrupt practices. Consumers can only benefit from a free market where competition amongst sports book operators is actively encouraged . A competitive marketplace is a catalyst for operators and suppliers to challenge each other for market share by having to provide innovative, higher quality products that will attract new customers and maximise revenues.
Simply put, allowing a single operator, or just a few operators, to hold or share a monopoly over a betting market is dangerous territory. Rather than move to licensed competitors, players will turn to illegal operators if better prices, faster settlement and a wider range of markets are offered.
Allowing wagering in such markets has wider consequences and can be detrimental to a sport as a whole, with these operators often intertwined with unauthorized data, betting-related corruption and match-fixing.
Should the Ministry of Finance follow some model of countries with successful regulation? Which one could be a good example to follow?
No country is perfect. Each jurisdiction is unique and regulation needs to be shaped with that in mind, but certain common measures around transparency, cooperation, licensure and low taxation are clear drivers in other places. Both the United Kingdom and Australia have excellent regulatory models that the Ministry may want to examine.
However those operating within black markets have no incentive to report suspicious activity, leading to an environment that gives a window of opportunity to criminal organisations to illegally profit from sporting outcomes. Visibility of betting activity and co-operation between regulators, operators and sports themselves is key to forming a structure capable of combatting betting-related corruption.
Regulated betting markets across the world differ in their approach to taxation. Evidence suggests that a tax levied on Gross Gaming Revenue, as opposed to turnover, is conducive to long-term success throughout the industry. Once again, high taxes lead to bookmakers offering a sub-optimum product, incentivising customers to look for a better product offshore.
Brazil may also be interested in the framework in neighbouring Latin American nations such as Colombia, for instance, issue requirements with licences to ensure jobs are created, which ultimately benefits the country as a whole.
In addition, a regulated Brazilian market has an excellent opportunity to create an environment that properly protects its players. Mature markets are beginning to enforce
clear and strict responsible gambling measures such as self-exclusion and deposit and loss tools along with advertising controls. This is an area that Brazil can champion from the outset of any sports betting regulation.
Online gaming products seem to be the fastest growing modality in the world today, what is the main reason for this?
In a fast evolving digital era, sports fans crave instant, accessible content. The explosion of social media epitomises this and we’ve seen such trends drive sports betting too. Online wagering, in particular mobile and in-play products are two of the biggest growth areas in the industry.
Technology has transformed the way customers engage with betting products and we’ve seen this in mature markets across the world, such as the UK where live mobile betting is a pre-requisite for any ambitious operator.
It’s ultimately about providing players with a top-class unique experience that keeps the coming back, and the right solutions are key to doing that.
In relation to the size, what kind of market do you imagine the Brazilian will be? Which products do you think will be most successful?
With the world’s fifth largest population and ninth largest economy, there is no doubt that the Brazilian sports betting market has the potential to be Latin America’s largest.
A global supergiant in the world of football - basketball and mixed-martial arts are also huge amongst sports fans in Brazil. And for Brazilian operators, shrewdly choosing the trading solutions that cover events appropriate for their audience will be important.
I’ve already alluded to the potential size of mobile and in-play betting and according to Senator Flexa Ribeiro, who was the rapporteur of the bill passed last month, the potential worth of Brazil’s digital sports betting market is estimated at over $1billion.
Interactive betting products are a global phenomenon that have transformed the way fans interact with sport. They provide an exciting opportunity for future sportsbook operators in Brazil.
How do you think the new government led by Jair Bolsonaro will address the rest of the gaming market in the country?
It is very hard to guess how the new government will behave. The fact that they have embraced a liberal economic speech may be an advantage, however it is still unclear how the conservative forces, especially religious congressman may affect that decision.
Source: Exclusive GMB