GES Latin America Day One Wrap

GES Latin America delegates networking in Panama City

GES Latin America delegates networking in Panama CityThe second annual GES LatAm is back in Panama City, a senior level conference for those who are involved in the Latin American gaming market and for those who want to get involved ASAP.

Conference organizers Terrapin choose the Marriott Panama City as a venue for this conference, conveniently located walking distance to the bay, bars and restaurants, with nice rooms and facilities for delegates.

The crowd itself is thinner than last year’s GES LatAm, but delegates are still enjoying the best conference breakfast ever, making new and important connections and enjoying the lively (and hot!) Panama City.

Some seem to think that next year’s GES LatAm will be “the year” and that 2012 is just a bit premature to have an event focused on this region as the boom for online gambling is only just about to “kick off”.

Regardless of the timing, there were some interesting take aways from today and there is no doubt that this market will be exploding very soon. It must be said however that those who have discovered the secrets within this market are already reaping the rewards…so if you’ve got your eye on this market, get started today!

Take Away 1: Panama City is a great place to base your online gambling businesses
Keynote speaker Cesar Santiago of Cirsa Panama explained to delegates why Panama is a great place to base your gaming business for the following reasons: Panama has a centralized democracy, currency is equivalent to the US dollar, the weather is tropical year round, everyone speaks English, its regulated for online gaming, it’s a cultural hub with great fashion and good food…and the girls are smokin’ hot. Just kidding, he didn’t say that.

Take Away 2: Latin America is a lot like fragmented Europe when it comes to how regulation will likely pan out
Andrew McIver of SportingBet admitted in his afternoon panel that “regulation is what keeps him up at night” and Latin America is a region that is not properly regulated as of yet, but he believes it will become regulated in the near future so its an area to most certainly start focusing on. However, its looking like each Latin America country will regulate differently so beware of fragmented Europe syndrome when making your plans.

Take Away 3: Trust with Latin American players is key
In an interview with Victor Arias this morning we were told that trust is absolutely key with Latin Americans, when it comes to the online gambling sites on which they are playing and the payment methods which they are using. Gaining the player’s trust is absolutely essential if you want to be successful in this market as an operator.

Take Away 4: The 3 secrets of the online lottery business according to Marcus Geiss of Tipp24 SE
1)Customer lifetime- customers never quit playing! Customers often play the same number for life and will happily commit to a lifetime subscription to ensure that their number is played each and every time.
2)Lotteries cannot use gambling platforms for lottery- they must use an online gambling lottery platform.
3)Lotteries players view online options as “insurance” to be sure that they do not miss an opportunity to play their number, for example if they are on vacation and are unable to make it to their local shop to buy a ticket.

Take Away 5: Live Dealer is big in Latin America
Land based casinos have grown enormously in Latin America and according to Jorge Diment, the best location to gamble is “from home”, but its best to have the choice, “similar to a football match- you either go to the match and watch it live or stay at home and watch it on TV- its one of the other and its your choice”.

Take Away 6: Live dealer is key in Latin America
According to Alejandro Valverde Molina of Global Gaming Labs, Spanish speaking live dealers are essential for the Latin American Market. Not to mention, live dealer is a great way to ensure trust with your players, something that is clearly important to the Latin American player. Another benefit of live dealer is that bars and restaurants can use the technology in their facilities to attract patrons who enjoy gambling.

Take Away 7: Chile wants to regulate online gambling now- watch this space!

After interviewing Carlos Silva Alliende, regulator of Chile, we learned that his job is to present to the government why regulation of online gambling would be a good thing for the country. A good start is to build a relationship with other jurisdictions such as Italy and Span so Chile can learn from their mistakes and successes. Carlos predicts that online gambling regulation could happen in his country as early as 2013 and he confirmed that Latin American regulators are in touch and aiming to form an alliance so operators focusing on Latin America won’t have to go through the same challenges as those who operate in a fragmented Europe.

After a full day of sessions and take aways, GES LatAm delegates were transported from the Marriott to the Crown Casino to enjoy complimentary cocktails, appetizers, live synthesizer (!!!) music, and slot machines thanks to sponsors Codere. Tomorrow delegates will gather bright and early at the Marriott for one more day of sessions and networking, albeit with a nice hangover and potentially a new Columbian wife.

Hope you learned something and we’ll see you tomorrow for a day two wrap and some pictures from the event!