SBC News Kambi’s Juan Barrachina: Tech expertise is crucial to LatAm success

Kambi’s Juan Barrachina: Tech expertise is crucial to LatAm success

Speaking ahead of a panel at next week’s SBC Summit Latinoamérica, Kambi Sales Director Juan Barrachina shares his view of the opening LatAm sports betting and igaming market and the need for operators to launch a deep, high-performing offer there.

SBC: Could you begin by telling us about Kambi’s work in and plans for Latin American markets?

JB:  The momentum behind sports betting in Latin America is unmistakable, and where regulation is not yet in place we see positive steps being taken throughout the region. 

Kambi’s track record in the Colombian regulated market underlines our calibre, where we power market leaders BetPlay and RushBet. We are also active in Argentina through partnerships with operators including Casino Magic, Casino Club and BetWarrior. These partnerships have seen the Kambi sportsbook go live in provinces including Buenos Aires and Neuquén, while our partner Olimpo.bet is also live in Peru with ambitious plans to expand across Latin America. 

As the market throughout Latin America continues to evolve, we look forward to engaging with current and prospective partners in the region who wish to become leaders in their respective markets.

SBC: There had been high hopes that regulated sports betting would be live in Brazil in time for the World Cup. What impact do you think the delay caused by the presidential election might have on the prospects for a successful launch of the market? 

JB: Kambi is always closely monitoring opportunities and developments in new and existing regulated markets. The popularity of football in the country is unquestionably vast, and with Brazil being favourites to lift the trophy you can be sure the entire nation will be watching.

That being said, regardless of when regulation comes, the key to success for any operator and the wider market will be launching with a deep, high-performance offering and doing so at speed while in full compliance with all local regulations.  

SBC: A lot of the industry’s focus in the region has been on Brazil, but there are several other nations moving towards regulating online betting. Which countries do you think have the best chance of creating a thriving industry? 

JB:  A great deal of focus has been placed on Brazil, which has the potential to become one of the largest markets in the world once the regulatory framework is established. Countries such as Colombia and Argentina have clearly underlined Latin America’s potential.

For operators and suppliers in the sports betting industry, the more significant question is how capably and swiftly they can pivot their technology to meet the nuances and intricacies of any set of provincial or national requirements. No operator wants to be in a position of delaying market entry or being forced to withdraw from a market due to compliance requirements their tech stack is incapable of reconciling. 

Ensuring these individual compliance requirements are effectively managed on an ongoing basis is of equal significance. With each of the more than 40 jurisdictions in which Kambi is live, having their own offering templates, Kambi was in a position where hundreds of vital compliance decisions were required daily. To address these challenges, Kambi culminated the extensive development work on its unique Offering Compliance Automation technology in 2021 – delivering a significant evolution to our filtering engine.

The tool automatically filters the offering as per local regulations, not only ensuring all compliance requirements are met (and without the need for time-consuming manual decision-making on individual events and athletes), but also guaranteeing our partners can launch into new jurisdictions at speed and with confidence in a full and competitive offering.

SBC: Colombia is a prime example of how to launch and run a regulated online gambling industry in the region; what can other nations learn from its success?

JB: Colombia has certainly highlighted the potential that an effectively enacted framework for regulated sports betting can unlock, and Kambi has a strong footprint in the country through partnerships with market leaders BetPlay and RushBet. 

For any regulated jurisdiction, collaboration and ongoing communication between all stakeholders is key – be that between the operators, providers or the regulators themselves. Sharing expertise and best practice across areas such as sporting integrity is a crucial factor in ensuring that end users are provided with an engaging product they can trust. 

SBC: European perceptions of the Latin American sports betting market tend to be that it is all about football, but it’s far from being the only popular sport in the region. What else should operators be focusing on when they plan entry into the various LatAm markets?

JB: There’s no question that in general terms football is the most popular sport in Latin America, but you’re right to emphasise that any sportsbook with ambition of securing real market share in any regulated jurisdiction needs to present a depth of offering across a wide range of events and sports. Taking Brazil as an example, although football has the largest following, sports like tennis, basketball and UFC will be important to get right as the country moves towards regulation. 

SBC: There’s more to localisation than just offering markets on the right sports; what technical considerations do operators need to focus on when preparing to enter new markets in Latin America?

JB: It is correct that localisation goes beyond offering the right sports – the entire user interface and experience needs to be expertly tailored to the needs of the individual market and the given operator’s target audience. Achieving this effectively requires a great deal more than some colour options and a few different widgets – providers must be able to seamlessly deliver UX enhancements which build on and complement the core sportsbook experience.  

To this end, Kambi recently acquired Shape Games – the industry’s leading provider of fully native front-end technology. Shape’s capabilities are at the very cutting edge of what is possible in sports betting, giving our partners the opportunity to craft a user experience which is truly bespoke.

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