GMB - For a Brazilian user who comes to Betano for the first time, tell us the main 3 strengths of the site?
Petra Zackrisson - If I should sum it to 3, it would be innovation, local payment methods and support, plus special features that will raise the standards of the gaming experience, while keeping it a game! But in fact it is much more than this. The Betano Brazil website is bringing completely innovative features to the Brazilian market, such as Missions, weekly challenges for Betano members, and the Bet Mentor, an exclusive tool for multiple bets that aims to be the players' biggest ally. With a strong sportsbook product, we have more than 300 different modalities, ranging from the traditional sports, like football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, to some news such as eSports, transmitted in live streaming, MMA and even politics and entertainment. Moreover, features such as cash out and match combo, which allow placing several markets of a given game in a single bet, will surely raise the gaming experience to a new level.
We are also proud of our extremely fast and intuitive mobile application (currently available for Android). We won the EGR Mobile Operator of the Year 2019. Seamless customer experience is always a key objective for us. All this needs to be done in a responsible and sustainable way, this is why we invest a lot in responsible gaming and encourage our customers to set their own limits.
Brazil is a very special market with different features from European countries or USA. What does Betano plan as a differential for the local bettor?
We are an international and responsible company with a localized approach. We are customer focus and with this in mind we develop our product and service offering for the local customer. We aim to bring a revolutionary sports betting experience through our state-of-the-art technology and a user friendly experience across all devices. Excellent and local customer service has always been a core differentiator and we aim to keep it that way across all our markets.
Before choosing Brazil as the first country outside Europe to enter, you've surely made an exhaustive analysis of the country. What conclusions did you draw from this market? What are your expectations?
Absolutely, we have been doing thorough market research in many countries with the use of local experts in order to understand the specifics and how we would approach the market.
The key reasons behind our entry in Brazil is the future potential with a big population and a highly sportsbook and soccer driven population. Brazil is still in the early days in the migration from offline to online in our industry while the mobile penetration and social interaction online is already high. We believe this will continue to drive online gaming and with a local regulation the general population will also build a higher trust online.
Recent discussions about a local license has also opened up for sponsorships which has always played an important part of our strategy.
With +100 operators already targeting this market since many years the competition is fierce but we believe we have a good product and excellent services. Our expectations are still cautious and we will go in with an agile approach, learning and adapting as we expand with the support of local experts.
After the regulation and with a certain time of maturity, is it crazy to imagine Brazil among the three most important places in the world for the sports betting market?
Well, it is hard to tell. Overall it depends a lot on the maturity of online commerce and the overall economy, so there are clear macro factors impacting our industry. Personally I think number three sounds very ambitious despite its large population, but maybe top 10 could be attainable mid-term.
You have already seen that many websites that work in Brazil have invested in sponsorship of clubs, TV, championships, ambassadors, etc. What can we expect from Betano in that regard?
Betano has a strong sportsbook DNA and a huge footprint in sponsorships across all markets of operation, varying from major soccer teams to Olympic Champions. We are proudly partnering with several soccer teams in Europe, such as S.C.Braga and Maritimo in Portugal, Craiova and FSCB in Romania and Olympiacos FC & PAOK FC in Greece. In addition corporate social responsibility has always been a key part of our marketing. Evaluating this possibility, locating the partners that share the same values is the logical next step.
As an interested company, you surely follow the market regulation process that Brazil is going through. If you could suggest some key guidelines to the government, what would they be?
The guidelines are out there, in the experience and practice of the already locally licenced markets. Brazil could gather valuable insight on what works and what doesn’t, what facilitates operators to comply and how regulation can actually work for everybody’s benefit. This is a two way process and all stakeholders should be included in the discussion, so operators could certainly provide input in advance, so that limitations are set in the best possible way. Keep it simple.
A clear strategy from day one towards the non-compliant and black operators would set the right tone and eliminate grey zones right from the start. This is today a major concern in many European markets where the local regulator failed to block the black market; creating an unfair playing field. It is worth noting that in certain European markets the illegal part is assessed to be above 40%. Therefore it would be preferable to not overregulate the market in the first step, set an acceptable tax rate and fee to apply for a license in order to stimulate the responsible operators to apply.
The licencing process is also a challenge and has to be planned carefully. Technical requirements should be clearly set from the start and adequate human resources should be involved in order to handle the license application but also the ongoing work after first licenses are given. Many regulators are too short staffed to serve the industry in an efficient manner.
Last but not least, the regulation should allow all products to the largest extent as bans only risk driving customers to the black operators.
eSports were already growing and the pandemic positioned the vertical into the sports betting market to replace live modalities that were canceled. Brazil is a powerhouse in electronic games. Is that an area where Betano will also focus? Could eSports be on par with conventional sports in a short time?
Indeed e-sports as well as simulated reality and virtual sports had a big boost during pandemic. We do not believe it will be on par short-term, however mid to long-term they may very well be. The new generation is driving a change in terms of sports. Their impatience asks for shorter games and a different type of games.
Betano started to invest in esports a few years ago and we continue to improve and develop our offering even if it so far has been limited in our current territories. Esports have grown significantly for Betano in the past months, currently featuring pretty high in terms of turnover for us. Of course with the return of NBA and major Tennis events we expect FIFA & NBA2K to have a lower share of our business, but it is clear that they will continue to attract customers, due to the fast nature of the game and 24/7 availability for the punters.
We are already working on improving our product and customer experience on esports, since there is also a big rise in B2B solutions for games availability, feeds and data.
Did the pandemic change the objectives/goals that you had for Brazil in these early times since its launch? What can you tell us about the company's next steps?
The overall budget was reduced due to COVID-19 impact on sportsbooks. However, we decided to keep the launch plan we had initially as well as the recruitment of a local team.
As said, our plan for Brazil is to take it slow and enhance along the way with more marketing initiatives and sports partnerships. We do have great plans for our presence here. We will continue to develop our products and adapt to local needs, to improve our payment solutions, casino products and overall services. After all, we are a customer focused operator and our members’ optimum experience will always be our absolute priority.
Source: Exclusive Games Magazine Brasil