SmartSoft is a leading provider of innovative casino games operating on the B2B market since 2015 and has rapidly become a key player in the industry.

With a global presence, the company’s partners span across 70 countries. From the groundbreaking JetX pioneer crash game to the excitement of other innovative crash games (X Games) and slots, SmartSoft offers a diverse gaming experience.

By extending these exceptional games to partners worldwide, SmartSoft not only reshapes the gaming landscape but also establishes new standards resonating throughout the global gaming community.

Smartsoft became a partner of the Argentine national team on October 20. Notably, this marks the Argentine Football Association’s (AFA) first-ever European partnership.

The goal is to strengthen ties between the current world champion, Argentina’s national team, and the Argentine football industry, bringing them closer to Europe.

Guga Gotsadze, managing partner, SmartSoft: “Through this partnership with the Argentina Football Association and the National Team of Argentina, we embark on a journey that unites passion and excellence, where the worlds of business and gaming converge with the magic of Argentine football. Partnering with a world champion is a historic moment for our company.

“We’re thrilled to be the first gaming provider in Europe to become the exclusive digital sponsor of the National Team of Argentina, and we’re confident that this collaboration will propel our company and our games to new horizons. Now, more than ever, we’re ready for flying even higher.”

Claudio Tapia, president of AFA: “We are very pleased to announce SmartSoft as the digital sponsor for the Argentine Football Association and the national team. Over the past few years, we’ve formed a strategic vision for the association aiming to strengthen the team’s relationship with international fans.

“Our plan includes the development of commercial and marketing strategies and participation in important events worldwide. We believe that a partnership with SmartSoft will help us to expand these relationships in Europe.”

SmartSoft, a company from the family of world champions, will officially present itself on the European market in a new status at the gaming exhibition SIGMA Europe in Malta.

The exhibition, scheduled for November 13-17, will be the 20th event this year for the digital sponsor of the Argentine team, in which it will participate to further expand its network of partners.

SkillOnNet-powered online casino brand PlayUZU is now live in Buenos Aires City, Argentina, after netting a licence from the city’s gaming authority (LOTBA).

To facilitate the launch, PlayUZU selected one of the largest land-based gambling operators in the province, BuenosAiresSlots, as its local licensing partner.

The move marks the latest phase of an ongoing strategic expansion into Latam markets for the Spanish-language casino, which is the sister brand of European casino PlayOJO.

Argentina is a federal state divided into 23 provincial jurisdictions and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, each with the power to regulate online gambling in some form.

Buenos Aires City is one of nine jurisdictions that has launched online casino, or iGaming. Each prospective licensee must partner with a local gaming operator.

PlayUZU said the deal with BuenosAiresSlots would offer customers an omnichannel experience, while delivering cross-marketing opportunities for both operators.

The Argentinian operator owns three gaming halls within Buenos Aires and holds exclusive rights to operate slots and bingo in two of the city’s districts.

PlayUZU head of marketing for Spain and Latam Helena Rico said: “This marks an important milestone for our company, and we are excited to expand our business into a new market.

“We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our teams, and we are looking forward to providing our services to the people of Buenos Aires.

“BuenosAiresSlots is a recognised and respected name, and we look forward to growing the PlayUZU brand in the region and exploring opportunities together,” she added.

Sergio Revilla of BuenosAiresSlots said the company had made the right choice with PlayUZU after taking a cautious approach to choosing an online partner.

“They are very serious about localisation and providing a gaming experience that’s tailored to Buenos Aires City,” said Revilla.

“We also liked the sense of fun and fairness of the casino, which we knew would be a hit with Porteños, as residents of this city are known,” he added.

iGaming NEXT has caught up with Betsson CCO Ronni Hartvig to discuss the operator’s recent shirt sponsorship deal with Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s most prominent football clubs.

The specific financial terms of the partnership were not publicly disclosed, but according to local media reports, it is estimated to have a value of around $7.5m.

iGaming NEXT: This substantial investment raises the question: What are your expectations and objectives for this partnership?

Ronni Hartvig: The commercial value of being associated with such a renowned club is undeniable. Boca Juniors never had a gaming sponsor before, making this deal unique.

The club boasts a massive fanbase and an extensive presence on various social media platforms, with over 25 million followers across different channels. Its popularity extends well beyond Argentina and into Latin America in general.

Besides, Boca Juniors is one of the most iconic football clubs globally, so this partnership even offers the opportunity to promote our brand globally.  

Just to give you one example. We kicked off our partnership by sponsoring the farewell match for Boca midfield maestro Juan Román Riquelme, where Lionel Messi was also present.

Messi shared a picture of Riquelme wearing the shirt with the Betsson logo on his Instagram, which has around 477 million followers.

This has provided us with an incredible marketing opportunity and placed our brand in the spotlight.

iGN: Could you elaborate on Betsson’s marketing and expansion strategy in Argentina?

RH: We have been strategically focused on expanding our presence in the Latin American region for some time now, and Argentina was a key target.

We believe in localisation and building trust by associating with recognised brands or ambassadors. However, instead of immediately investing significant sums in sport sponsorships and marketing assets upon entering a new market, we prefer a conservative approach.

We first invest in affiliation and other digital channels to better understand customer behaviour, lifetime value, and cost per acquisition. Once the foundation is established, larger investments, including television advertisements, are made.

In Argentina we adopted a similar strategy, gradually building our team and gaining the trust of the local market. The partnership with Boca Juniors aligns with this growth strategy and offers a platform for expanding brand recognition and trust in the region.

We are aware of the evolving landscape of sport sponsorships in some markets. It is a topic that occupies a significant portion of our discussions and planning.
Betsson CCO Ronni Hartvig

iGN: With three licences in Argentina, are you planning to add more?

RH: Argentina is regulating region by region. We obviously look at the different regions, however, we carefully evaluate the expansion process in each regulated region, considering factors such as market size and requirements for licence applications.

Some regions are small, and if they have different requirements for applications, it becomes a lot of work to prepare for a new licence.

Our focus is to understand each regulated region and tailor our strategy accordingly. We look at every region in this way and Latin America is one of them.

iGN: Considering the increasing restrictions on sport sponsorships in some markets, is expanding into geographies where such marketing placements are still possible part of Betsson’s strategy?

RH: We are aware of the evolving landscape of sport sponsorships in some markets. It is a topic that occupies a significant portion of our discussions and planning.

The Boca Juniors sponsorship, in particular, offers us a unique advantage as it provides a global reach. For instance, when the news of the partnership spread in Argentina, it also caught the attention of audiences in other countries, such as Greece, where we have an established presence.

The ability to generate brand exposure and engagement across regions through a single partnership is a valuable asset, and we will continue exploring similar opportunities to enhance our global reach.

iGN: Besides Latin America, what other markets are currently high on your agenda?

RH: In Europe, many markets are regulated and face marketing restrictions. However, even some of the larger regulated markets in Europe, like Spain and Greece, are still growing despite these restrictions. The barriers to entry are relatively high but if you’re already established in those markets, there are still opportunities for growth.

I also believe Africa is a continent that everyone should pay attention to. While it may not be receiving much attention now, I think in three to five years, the situation will be very different.

We have a long-term strategy for Africa. Currently, we are present in Nigeria and have some experience in other African countries like Kenya. Expanding in Africa requires dedicated efforts in product development, marketing, and customer acquisition.

Our expansion plans for the continent are cautious and focused on the long-term, but the opportunities are certainly exciting.

Spanish online gaming group Codere Online expects to be EBITDA positive in 2024 after Q4 2022 revenue climbed 70% year-on-year to €35.6m.

Topline numbers

Codere Online debuted on the US Nasdaq in December 2021, making 2022 the company’s first full year as a publicly listed business.

The company generated revenue of €35.6m in Q4 2022, 70% higher than the prior corresponding period.

The group’s Mexico revenue hit €14.5m in Q4 2022, more than double that of Q4 2021, amid a rise of 107%.

Meanwhile, Spain revenue rose to €17.8m in Q4 2022, up from €12.6m, marking a 42% increase year-on-year.

In Colombia, meanwhile, net gaming revenue (NGR) increased by 56% year-on-year to reach €2.3m.

For the full year 2022, revenue increased 45% to nearly €116m.

However, the company still reported a net loss of €17.4m in Q4 2022, rising to €45.9m for the entire year.

News nugget

CEO Moshe Edree has stepped down from his position, effective today (1 March), but will continue to be involved in the company as executive vice chairman of the board.

Aviv Sher, who previously served as COO, has taken over the CEO position. Sher boasts more than 15 years of industry experience, having held positions as COO of NeoGames and CEO of Prime Gaming.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished together in our first year as a public company, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as CEO during such a critical phase of expansion and growth,” Edree said.

“Aviv and I have been working together for over a decade, and he has played a critical role in our success. I have full confidence in his leadership and his ability to build on our achievements, and take the company to even greater heights,” he added.

Edree stated the group’s Q4 and 2022 performance was better than expected.

“The World Cup undoubtedly played a significant role in keeping existing customers engaged but also attracting new customers during this quarter in which we had 54% more active players than in the same period of 2021,” he added.

Focus on profitability

In the earnings call, Edree said that in 2022, the company utilised a significant portion of the proceeds raised from the public listing to focus primarily on revenue growth through a significant increase in marketing investment.

However, in 2023, the company will gradually shift its focus towards profitability.

This transition is driven by current investor preference for cash-flow generating businesses or high-growth businesses with lower spend.

Therefore, in 2023, Codere Online plans to reduce its marketing investment and prioritise certain geographies.

Argentina remains firmly on the business’ agenda. The group expects to begin operations in the Province of Córdoba this year and will also continue pursuing licences in both the Provinces of Buenos Aires and Mendoza.

From a business mix perspective, Codere Online’s full-year revenue was evenly split between sports betting and casino games in comparison to a higher 56% contribution from sports betting in 2021.

In 2023, the company plans to leverage opportunities to cross-sell its casino product to sports betting customers.

Best quote 

Codere Online CFO Oscar Iglesias: “We continue to be very excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead, particularly in Argentina, where we are making significant progress towards starting operations in several new regions this year.”

Best question

Michael Kupinski, director of research at Noble Financial Capital Markets, enquired about the company’s plan for Brazil.

Edree responded that for the time being, the company’s focus remains on its core markets, which are Spain, Mexico, and Argentina.

However, as a Latin American brand, the company is carefully considering the Brazilian market, but legislative issues are a concern, as is the fact the current big brands in Brazil operate under a dot com licence.

Stressing that it’s not on the agenda at the moment, a possibility would be for Codere Online to enter the market in partnership with a local marketing agency to accelerate its efforts.

Current trading & outlook 

In 2023, the operator has set its sights on generating NGR of between €140m and €150m. NGR for 2022 came in at €122.9m.

It simultaneously intends to cut its Adjusted EBITDA losses by half, which is still projected to be negative at somewhere between €20m and €30m.

The group expects to be EBITDA positive in 2024.

Betsson has received an online gaming licence in the province of Cordoba in Argentina, which is the third licence for the operator in the country.

The new licence, granted to Betsson and its partner Casino de Victoria, is one out of eight licences that have been awarded by the local regulator Loteria de Cordoba.

The cooperation between Betsson and Casino de Victoria, a land-based operator in Argentina and part of Grupo Mautone, started back in 2019.

The two companies joined forces to work on the applications for online gaming licences in the province of Buenos Aires and in the City of Buenos Aires, both of which have been granted and operations were launched during 2022.

Pontus Lindwall:”When merging their long experience in the Argentinian market with our know-how in online gaming, we can truly reach our ambition of becoming a market leader in this rapidly growing online market.”

Pontus Lindwall, president and CEO of Betsson AB, commented: “We are very pleased to have received a licence to operate in the locally regulated market in the province of Cordoba, together with our partner, Casino de Victoria.

“When merging their long experience in the Argentinian market with our know-how in online gaming, we can truly reach our ambition of becoming a market leader in this rapidly growing online market,” he added.

Nearly 20% of total revenue

In Q3 2022, Betsson’s Latam revenue reached €38.8m, 19% of the operator’s total revenue.

Betsson has been active in Latam since 2008, with a presence in Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.

In Q3 of last year, all of the countries in the region reported revenue growth compared to the corresponding period in 2021, even though revenue declined sequentially due to a lower sportsbook margin.

In December, the company opened its operational centre in Bogotá, Colombia, to reflect Latam’s key contribution to its revenue.

Betsson has gone live with online sports betting and iGaming in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

The Stockholm-listed operator has partnered up with local land-based casino company Casino de Victoria to facilitate the launch of two Betsson domains in the market.

Betsson began operating in the province of Buenos Aires on 6 January after obtaining a licence from the Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos (IPLyC).

It then launched in the city of Buenos Aires on 17 January after being granted the correct certification by the City Lottery (LOTBA).

The two licences will allow Betsson to offer online sports betting, including pre-match and in-play bets and betting on horseracing, as well as casino slots and table games.

Province licences from IPLyC are valid for a period of 15 years, with all licensees required to pay a 25% tax rate on gross gambling revenue (GGR).

Residents in the province of Buenos Aires will only be able to bet on regulated portals within the province, and the same will apply to residents in the city of Buenos Aires. The two regulators have different governance structures and definitions for games of chance.

Betsson AB CEO Pontus Lindwall said the agreement with Casino de Victoria was in line with the operator’s wider Latam growth strategy of partnering with local operators while utilising its proprietary sportsbook platform and technical expertise.

“The launch in Argentina signifies yet another milestone in Latam and further strengthens Betsson’s market presence in the region,” said Lindwall.

“The licence for the province of Buenos Aires, together with the licence for the city of Buenos Aires, cements our position in the region.

“Latam is a strategically important region where we are performing well and we have great ambitions for the future in Argentina,” he added.

In Q3 2021, 17% of Betsson’s overall revenue came from the Rest of the World segment, which is largely driven by Latam markets.

The segment grew by 58.8% year-on-year to generate revenue of €28m, mostly from Chile and Peru, while Betsson is also live in Brazil.