Andre Gelfi – Suaposta strengthened by Betsson’s Brazilian intent

Andre Gelfi, CEO of Brazilian racebook Suaposta, has backed Betsson AB’s early mover advancements, despite facing significant unknowns related to Brazil’s future sports betting make-up.

Closing 2019, a refinanced Betsson sanctioned the purchase of a 75% stake in Suaposta, Gelfi’s online racebook licensed by Brazil’s Ministry Agriculture and Livestock in partnership with Porto Alegre’s heritage  ‘Rio Grande do Sul Jockey Club

Speaking to SBCNoticias, Gelfi backed Betsson’s first Brazilian investment stating that the Stockholm enterprise has secured an optimal position should Brazil’s government ‘maintain its schedule and legalise sports betting in 2020’.

Leading one of the markets established online wagering properties, Gelfi and business partner Fernando Corrêa were reluctant to sell Suaposta to a foreign incumbent, whilst Brazil’s regulatory frameworks remained underdeveloped.

However, the Brazilian racing executives listened to Betsson’s proposition, in which the European incumbent proved its track record in launching and scaling new betting products within developing markets.

“We were looking for a partner that could complement us, providing capacity and know-how, and that at the same time shared our company philosophy and bet on the growth of the long-term group in Brazil. It was essential that we were aligned in strategy and vision,” Gelfi detailed to SBCNoticias.

Betsson’s investment in Suaposta will see Gelfi and Corrêa become key executives in the Stockholm enterprise’s LatAm drive. Despite facing numerous unknowns with regards to how Brazilian wagering regulations will playout, Gelfi underlined Suaposta’s established market credentials.

“Whilst Betsson has a financial back and has the knowledge of online gaming, technology and product, Suaposta has a license, local track record, local payment methods and access to digital media. It is a winning combination,” Gelfi added.

Providing insider perspectives on Brazil’s regulatory developments, Gelfi stated that he was monitoring SECAP developments closely.

This February, Brazil’s Treasury department intervened in SECAP legislative agenda, demanding that the government agency reassess its licensing models to provide better regulatory oversight of licensed incumbents activities.

Treasury demands saw SECAP relaunch its consultation on licensing frameworks, which may see Brazil adopt a ‘fixed concessions model’ limiting the number of available licenses for foreign and domestic players.

Gelfi said: “Conceptually, I do not dislike the change towards the concession regime, as it seems more legally safe, but we still do not know the terms of the draft concession contract, which I consider the cornerstone of the regulation.

“It is true that changes in SECAP management and modifications to planned regulation will delay the implementation of subsequent granting permits. However, we are convinced that continuity will be given to the process, and in the meantime, we take the opportunity to refine our proposal.”

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