If there’s somebody who knows the pulse of the Latin American gaming market, it’s Alfredo Lazcano.
As a founding partner of Lazcano Sámano, S.C., an expert law firm that serves as legal counsel and advisor to a wide variety of local and international gaming clients in all jurisdictions of Mexico (and Latin America), including major licensees and operators; professional gaming associations; and important suppliers of services, systems, and equipment, Lazcano knows the in-and-outs of the Latin American gaming market better than most people.
At the recent Legal Gaming in Europe Conference, CalvinAyre.com correspondent Becky Liggero talked to Lazcano about numerous topics regarding the current state – and future potential – of the gaming market in Latin America.
Odd setting notwithstanding, Lazcano’s discussion about the Latin American gaming market in a Europe-focused conference didn’t happen by accident. The man was requested by conference organizers to make a presentation about the Latin American gambling market, despite the conference being held in London.
While the center of the online gambling continues to be Europe and the Asian gaming market is expected to explode in the coming years, the Latin American gaming market tends to be overshadowed. But according to Lazcano, the market is rich in Latin America and is continuously evolving, particularly in five different countries where there is, according to Lazcano, plenty of promise.
Lazcano first mentions Mexico, which is slowly growing and building momentum as an attractive gaming market despite being new relative to its neighbors. If there was a market that Mexico – and all other Latin American markets – can look up to, Lazcano says it’s Panama, which he explains has an “exciting and mature gaming market that serves as an example for all Latin American jurisdictions”.
While there are thriving markets like Panama, the region also has countries like Peru that currently have no regulations but are looking at a “possible law in the future”.
Meanwhile, Columbia, according to Lazcano, is also a very interesting market that has had gaming regulations for the past decade and has thrived in large part because of the population the country has.
Last but not least was Chile, which Lazcano explains possesses the most state-of-the-art gaming legislation in the region, similar to most first-world legislations. Despite still deeming online gaming as illegal in the country, Lazcano is confident that Chile will adopt online gaming “at some point”.
“Logic says that the Asian market will be the most mature in terms of commercialization,” Lazcano says. “It’s a similar case with the Latin American market, except that the culture is different. It’s important to start making some plans because it’s going to be a totally different business.”
And if an international operator is looking to tap into the Latin American, which country should they make their home base?
“Mexico,” Lazcano says with a hearty laugh.
All bias aside, Lazcano explains that Mexico is a good place for an operator to set up shop because the territory facilitates and interchanges a lot commercially. For now, the country is very familiar with the English language; it’s has an understanding of the Anglo culture; it’s got good income standards; but most importantly, the government is very interested in promoting international activities.
“It’s an open market.”