SBC News Abelson Odds: capitalising on unparalleled Brazilian football fanaticism

Abelson Odds: capitalising on unparalleled Brazilian football fanaticism

Despite enjoying much success alongside a range of clients across Europe, Abelson Odds is looking to spread its wings to a Brazilian region that is renowned the world over for an intense fanaticism for the beautiful game.

That was the viewpoint stressed by COO Jeevan Jeyaratnam at the recent SBC Summit Rio to SBC News during a conversation that was set against the backdrop of the best that the picturesque Rio De Janeiro has to offer. 

With a white sandy beach to one side and lush mountainous landscapes to the other, it was football that dominated proceedings as a nearby monitor conveniently displayed Flamengo under 20s battling it out against their counterparts from Aucas in the Copa Libertadores.

Building on past accomplishments

“We’ve realised that further pushes need to be, or would ideally be, made outside of the European continent”, Jeyaratnam began, noting that an apparent lack of appeal of football, or soccer, further north caused the company to cast glances to the Latin American region.

“This was the logical move for us after assessing the US, and then realising that soccer is still a long way behind everyone’s priority list,” he explained.

“In Brazil we were seeing traction with our European partners who are already active here, Betano and Betfair to name two. We realised that when regulation was announced there were a lot of indigenous Brazilian operators that were already active here that weren’t partnered with European sportsbooks, or use different platforms that we maybe weren’t so aware of.” 

With this in mind, Jeyaratnam echoes a familiar theme that was evidenced throughout the week, with this being the importance of meeting people face to face potentially proving critical in making headway into the region, especially as a western company that primarily speaks English.

“A cold approach without seeing people face to face just won’t work for us,” he said. “That’s why we decided to go to Rio. 

“The Brazilian market is huge, the population is huge and, and the fanaticism for football is unparalleled. This is perfect for what we’re trying to do.”

 Catering to the client

How do you make headway within a country that already boasts a well established online gambling ecosystem pre-legalisation? For Abelson, the answer is a simple one. It simply lies within an ability to create bespoke opportunities for any desired region or client.

However, this history could pose its own set of challenges, with Brazil contrasted to that of Ontario “where there was already a market”, rather than the US that represented “a completely new playing ground”.

As a result, the company has extended its coverage to meet regional demands, with a goalscorer request for Rio’s Carioca regional football tournament spawning similar demands for São Paulo’s Paulista and Minas Gerais’ Mineiro.

“That alone gives us an edge over quite a lot of the competition that won’t be going to that level,” Jeyaratnam declared. 

“We then added Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, on request for clients that we had active there.

“The unique nature of some of these countries in contrast to European countries where, if you go to Latvia, for example, the Premier League in the UK is still the league to bet on. The local league is not really a huge driver of revenue.  

“But according to some of the figures we’re hearing from Peru, the Peruvian local league is by far the biggest in terms of turnover for the operators based there.”

Subsequently, offering players in depth options within their own regional or national league has become a significant sales push for the company, and one that steered the conversation on to the next inevitable point of discussion.

Appealing to the player

In detailing the company’s strategy to one of the industry’s favourite talking points, localisation, Jeyaratnam first cast the net beyond the LatAm region in highlighting Abelson’s flexibility when it comes to such matters.

This issue, it was noted, forms a “key factor for our whole business”, with goalscorers, for example, having previously been supplied to select Flutter Entertainment brands across a pair of Eastern European nations.

Localisation strategies, it was noted, can be undertaken “wherever the client may be, and that they feel they want to make an impact, all based on requests”.

He continued: “The same thing is applied in South America, for example, If you’d have said to me two years ago, you’ll be doing goalscorers in Ecuadorian league, I would have found that unlikely, but now it’s become quite an important league.

“Colombia, is another big league that we didn’t think would be handling. But goalscorers are one thing, but being able to then offer deep statistical data within those leagues is another point of localisation where I think that we have an advantage over competitors.”

However, offering truly localised products is just one string added to the bow. This must be accompanied with a consistent range of upgrades across the company as a whole, with Jeyaratnam moving on to elaborate on future extension of both products and coverage areas.

A key priority, it was highlighted, will unite the separate goalscorer and player stats products, which will be brought under the groups’ GPS (Goalscorer Pricing & Settlement) and ensure one integration for all markets. 

Brazil: dreamland or potential minefield?

With a number of contrasting viewpoints being heard across the showfloor and on stage regarding the possibilities and potential challenges facing the nation, Jeyaratnam was quizzed on if the excitement is shared, or a slightly cautious approach could be necessary.

However, to illustrate exactly where he stands on the matter, the Abelson COO decided to glance back a few years, when talk of a gold rush was rampant across the industry.

“It’s a funny one because everyone shared the excitement about PASPA’s repeal in the US,” he commented. 

“And if you are one of three operators, then perhaps you could understand the excitement, but for the other operators and platforms that have been there, and not just been burnt but incinerated and then turned around and come out, then the warning signs could be there.” 

Despite voicing a belief that South America appears to have “less friction and regulatory loopholes attached to it”, an additional warning was fired the way of Brazilian regulators.

This concerns the issue of tax, and the potential that players may have this imposed on any winnings. 

“That’s a potentially dangerous path for the Brazilian market, because it will just attract black market operators where there’s no tax. There has to be some protection of the regulated market,” Jeyaratnam stated.

Looking ahead, a belief is shared that other South American countries will follow in the wake of Brazilian legislative efforts, with Peru the prime focus for Abelson as work progresses on securing a vendor licence for the country.

Rounding off the exchange, a reflection on Abelson’s aims to make significant headway into the region was offered.

“For a European based supplier, it’s not without its challenges, but we feel that the risks are worth it,” he closed. 

“Risks such as payments. In a regulated market, it becomes less risky, but you never know. You’re dealing with operators that could go bump in the night.”

Check Also

SBC News Liliana Almeida, Clever Advertising: the industry has awoken to African sleeping giant

Liliana Almeida, Clever Advertising: the industry has awoken to African sleeping giant

Capitalising on untapped potential is a common theme throughout each passing year as many across …

SBC News Clever Advertising talks future trends, regional expertise, regulation & compliance

Clever Advertising talks future trends, regional expertise, regulation & compliance

Brazil. A country that has captured the attention of the industry for quite some time, …

ESA Gaming: The dawn of non-traditional content

SBC Webinars: Third-party providers as drivers of innovation

Technological innovation can sometimes end up in stalemate when it comes to sports betting products …