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NEXT.io, in collaboration with ENV Media, continues monitoring the emergence of regulated gambling in Latin America. In this instalment, we present the insights of a White Paper covering the entire South and Central American gambling landscape.

Main takeaways: Regulation improving, markets set to gradually mature

The comprehensive analysis reveals the shifts in regulation and technology that drive positive change across the region. The study departs from commonplace definitions and lists available data on market sizes, user pools and spending patterns in gambling markets across Latam.

Top 6 gambling markets in Latam – size, user pool, spending capacity. Source: ENV Media
* Market size & ARPU – more accurate data will require years of consistent regulation and taxation
** Chile – awaiting full online gambling regulation approval, passed in principle

The main takeaways from the White Paper focus on the growing acceptance and advancing regulation of online gambling in most jurisdictions. The top markets in South and Central America have been completely legalised – i.e. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru. Others, like Chile, are on the verge of passing definitive rules for all gaming verticals, with iGaming the big topic on the table.

Quite often, the expansion of legal frameworks follows free market evolution. Technological advances and globalised consumer tastes pull these changes along, almost unavoidably. Mobile gaming, ubiquitous internet, and web3 applications drive regulation just as much as economic conditions and disposable player income.

Ultimately, the White Paper forecasts this growth phase to continue and lead Latam to market maturity, realising its potential as a leading region in the global iGaming industry.

Major markets in focus

Countries like Brazil and Colombia are spearheading regulatory reforms, setting the precedent for a more structured and transparent iGaming environment. The recent changes indeed aim to improve player protection and ensure effective taxation; yet, as a result, these markets have also attracted substantial international investment, further nurturing market expansion.

Brazil in particular is recognised as the single largest regulated market globally, and has a gambling scene which enjoys significant user engagement. On the other hand, it has pragmatically tailored its regulation to allow global competitors, ensuring direct oversight and fiscal control.

Mapping the state of gaming regulations in LATAM. ENV Media

Mexico and Peru are also singled out for their market volumes, with each presenting unique opportunities and challenges. Crucially, 2023 legislative updates in Mexico aim to curb physical gambling, thus propelling the online sector. Peru’s inclusive regulatory approach stimulates the competition and is largely indicative of the prevailing trend in the region – moving toward comprehensive regulation and market liberalisation.

Authorities across Latam have indeed come to the conclusion that this is the only possible path to market stability and consumer protection.

Future outlook and trends

The White Paper projects iGaming in Latin America as marked by increasing accessibility and tech-based innovation. The digital transformation will run in parallel and fuel the market growth, providing it with enabling technology such as more instant payment methods and personalised gaming experiences.

Mid-term predictions suggest a continued trend toward market maturity for most Latam jurisdictions. New markets will gradually evolve to meet global regulatory standards. This evolution is set to unlock substantial economic benefits, providing a fertile ground for both existing iGaming enterprises and new entrants.

The bottom line

Latin America has become a hot topic in the iGaming industry in the past few years. Legislators and authorities have been working on oversight and regulation, gradually but relentlessly. The lessons learned from global exposure to offshore gaming operators are convincing in their simplicity; and the opportunity cost of protecting domestic monopolies compared to harnessing (and taxing) healthy global competition is too high to ignore.

Presenting a helicopter view of the entire Latam gambling scene, the White Paper delivers a wealth of strategic guidelines based on official topical sources. Data points and highlighted trends can help stakeholders adapt to regulatory changes and capitalise on local fintech and digital realities.

ENV Media focuses on digital marketing and data-driven research for the iGaming industry. Its research and SEO teams support a wide range of partners, ensuring their visibility in LATAM and other emerging gaming markets.

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