Day 1 of SiGMA Americas digital touches on regulatory environment. The first day of SiGMA Americas started off with content in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. To begin with, the summit addressed the current state of LatAm and the effects of the pandemic, from the hard hit on the local land-based casinos and bingos to the momentous rise in online gaming. Juan B Perez Hidalgo, President of Coljuegos EICE in Colombia, noted that apart from this the COVID-19 situation.
The first panel of the day was lawyer at Asensi Abogados Juan Camilo Carrasco, who said that when it comes to Colombia, since gambling regulations had already been set up 2001, the method of implementation was to adopt the methods of Europe and assemble them within the limits of Columbian legislation.
David Plumi of Betson on the other hand mentioned the important point of gradually changing the perception of gaming to entertainment rather than gambling.
Brazil and the market ‘s ability to save the country from its financial crisis were the next subject of discussion. Addressing the current state of the regulatory system, the panel raised the argument that gambling has been outlawed for 70 years, and it has been only recently that regulation has made any progress.
Witoldo Hendrich Junior of Hendrich Advogaos firm, added that another attractive aspect for the introduction of gambling is also the fact that tourism is a big sector that could be affected by the change in legislation, and along with that it will also create the need for a lot of different jobs, therefore reducing unemployment.
With regard to Panama, in March of this year, the online gaming world became a reality and so this panel began by discussing what makes Panama attractive for investors, some of the reasons being legal protection, the dollar, the excellent geographical position, the culture of gambling and the fact that Panama has one of Latin America’s highest minimum wages.
In addition, Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Chairman of the Panamanian Game Control Board, emphasised that when it comes to operators, Panama is looking for quality, not quantity.
Touching on Argentina, one of the problems here was the fact that the country’s 24 provinces are autonomous when it comes to industry regulation. Sebastian Vivot, Modernization and Information Manager at Loteria, emphasised that the centre of the issue is the gaps in constitutions and regulations.
He continued to say that what the regulators at Buenos Aires are trying to do at the moment is “invite other provinces to adopt our regulatory framework” to have consistency in the regulations across the country, and also to attract operators, especially since some provinces are relatively poor and so complications in regulations would only hinder the chances of operators settling in them.
The summit went on to Chile, where the economic stability of the region, the relatively high minimum wage and technical coverage were the panel’s main points. Cristina Romero of Loyra, on the other hand, highlighted the level of opportunity for both parties, the operators and investors involved.
Mexico was next on the list, and the issue here was whether, through offshore operators, gambling could find its way into the country. Enrique Romero, marketing manager and journalist, gave his point of view on the matter, saying that the situation is allegorical to soccer, saying that only a big budget team can have high salaries from foreign investment, the markets in Mexico still have some support from foreign investors, and this gives them the ability to use pre-tested methods.
Next was Peru, where the topic of digital evolution sparking the conversation. Apuesta Total’s Gonzalo Perez said that the lack of sports this year has made people turn to other sports that are open. The problem that was then raised was the country’s political climate and how it would certainly postpone laws and cause problems, and so individuals need to behave according to the evolution of the times. Concluding on a positive note, the panelists addressed the rise of what they consider to be the future of gaming; e-sport.
To conclude the first day of the summit, a partner from Loyra Abodagos Christina Romero gave a quick recap of the progress of some LatAm countries with regards to regulation, re-emphasizing the importance of having a different, tailor-made approach for every country, bringing us back to some recurring focus points of the summit.
The closing statement narrowed in on the local partners and the significance of ensuring that there are strong relationships with them in initiating the shift to LatAm.