GMB: What technological advancement trends do you think we will see this year in your sector?
Thomas Carvalhaes - I believe that especially in Brazil we are a little behind the technological advances that already exist in other markets, starting with regulation. Some big markets with structured legislation feature eSports betting, fantasy sports betting, through cryptocurrencies, NTF games. Only those involved in this segment realize the size of this market abroad, much more technologically advanced and quite strong.
How far do you envision the player's customs and requirements to satisfy in 2022?
We operators, game providers, affiliates and influencers must be very careful and selective when trying to meet the requirements. Not all are 'educated'. It's up to our industry to bring an education to the player. Regionalization and tropicalization are very important, as well as taking into account the relevance of the cultural context of each market, but everything has a limit. It is almost impossible to meet the requirements of the entire market, especially in Brazil, with more than 210 million people. We have to be commercially clever and flexible at the same time to meet the customs and requirements of each player. For me, it's more about balance than giving in and taking everything into account.
How do you think the pandemic will affect business results in 2022?
I see it with concern from a public health perspective, but for us, operators in the online environment, I see it as we saw in 2020, when we had historic highs in the sports betting and gaming sector. The trend remains the same, especially since we will have the World Cup and, as we have already seen, the Libertadores de América, in addition to other sporting events. The performance of the sports betting sector will be good, both in Brazil and in other countries, which may not happen with physical facilities.
Which markets and/or countries do you see as the greatest chances for progress and opportunities for growth?
Are many. I start with Brazil, because the country is my focus. And I also see the United States, which is growing exponentially, where each state is responsible for regulating and monitoring the activities of bookmakers. The country has the political and logistical structure to make everything work very well and that has been good for them. I also see Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Argentina as potential markets. I see great chances of progress in these countries and Peru should be the next to have consistent regulation, which should be very close to the regulation in Brazil.
Do you think restrictions on gaming advertising will be deepened globally?
It is an issue on which I have a very personal opinion. The regulatory body and the State must put aside the paternalistic role of telling citizens what they should and should not do. I believe that the State should not get involved in matters of customs, religion and hobbies. That's not the role of the State. Restricting the advertising of gaming activities, as we see in Spain and other European countries, does not change the attitude of those who want to play. It's all a matter of personal choice. As much as the State tries to restrict advertising, in Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal, the numbers and growth of bookmakers is there to prove that the citizen's choice is sovereign.
What do you envision for the Brazilian market in terms of gambling legislation and regulation?
I believe that the topic is already well advanced and the Working Group created by the Mayor, Arthur Lira, is on the right path to regulate everything, including the jogo do bicho. This is the best way and I think it is important to remove sports betting from the project, as it is a completely different business dynamic from gambling. Sports betting cannot be considered a game of chance, just like poker and even blackjack. In terms of legalization, I believe this will happen this year, but we have to keep an eye on the movements of parliamentarians and other authorities in Brasília.
In your view of the global market, do you consider that 2022 intends to be a year with a greater number of mergers or acquisitions of companies than the previous year?
Certainly, because Brazil is becoming an increasingly targeted and competitive market. The foreign giants are keeping an eye on this. There are many start ups operating in the country for some time and it is quite likely that some of them will be acquired or merged by companies that have been in the market for more time. So I believe in a lot of mergers this year in the area of sports betting companies.
Could you name three events within your industry that will be pivotal in 2022? Why did you choose them?
I have three events that I consider very important for the gaming industry. One of them is ICE, which would be in February and has just been moved to April. Another is the SBC, which takes place in Europe, in addition to the EGR. And we cannot forget about BiS, which in its first edition was fantastic, and which is scheduled for the middle of the year. All of them are critical for both expansion and networking.
Source: Exclusive GMB