Kambi doubles down on LatAm leadership


Having built leading positions in Europe and North America, Kambi now has Latin America sights, as its sales director Juan Barrachina tells 5 Star.

Having the ability to enter regulated markets at speed is no easy feat. To do so on a global basis is even more difficult. However, the company making global expansion look like child’s play right now is leading sports betting supplier Kambi.

Already market leader in Europe and North America, Kambi now has its eyes firmly set on leading the way in Latin America. The supplier has made a strong start with high performing partnerships in Mexico and Colombia, while in recent weeks Kambi signed BetWarrior, an ambitious new operator which has ambitions of entering major regulated markets in LatAm.

Kambi’s technology has been built to scale, both in terms of its ability to handle large volumes but also, crucially, the flexibility it possesses to quickly comply with local regulations – which has provided the platform for the global expansion of not just itself but its sports betting partners.    

Kambi’s South America Sales Director Juan Barrachina spoke to 5Star to share Kambi’s progress in the LatAm region as well as the prospects for further regulation.

Could you outline Kambi’s current activity in LatAm?

Kambi has built a strong position in Latin America with activity in both Mexico and Colombia. In Mexico we are partnered with Televisa, a media conglomerate, to which we provide an online and retail sportsbook, the latter throughout 17 of its PlayCity casinos. In Colombia we are partnered with Rush Street Interactive, powering its RushBet brand, and Corredor Empresarial’s Betplay, both of which have leveraged the Kambi Sportsbook to build leading positions in the market. So we have been active in Latin America for a number of years now, building up great experience and knowledge of the region and its players, which will hold us in good stead as we expand into other countries as they regulate. 

In addition, we recently signed a new customer called BetWarrior, which was founded by some experienced and knowledgeable gaming professionals. Along with regulated markets in Europe, Latin America will be a primary focus for BetWarrior, which is one of the reasons why they selected Kambi – because of our experience in the market. We look forward to launching with them in the coming months and extending our reach in what we believe will develop into a very important and competitive regulated region over the next few years.  

Could you tell us more about the online sports betting market in Mexico? Any legislative changes on the way? How is the online market regulated? What kind of opportunities are there in the Mexican market? 

The Mexican market has great potential, which is why we partnered with a company of the stature of Televisa, so we could launch a sportsbook with its PlayCity brand. Since launch, the sports betting business has been performing well, particularly in retail where PlayCity’s casino customrs have taken to the Kambi product. To improve things further, what we’d like to see in Mexico is a new piece of sports betting legislation. At present, sports betting is being conducted under a casino law dating back to 1946, which is quite archaic and in contrast to the modern piece of regulation we see in Colombia, for instance. 

Could you tell us more about the agreement with Betplay and any more about the deal with the Colombian national team?

We signed with Betplay, the sports betting brand of Corredor Empresarial, in the summer of 2017, with the sportsbook officially launching at the start of 2018. Kambi’s commercial strategy has always been to partner with visionary operators that have an ambition to be a true market leader, and in Betplay and Corredor Empresarial we definitely found that, which has been illustrated by the brand’s tremendous growth. In a relatively short space of time, Betplay has emerged as the number one sportsbook in the market, blending a high quality sportsbook product with intelligent marketing. In terms of marketing, as you say, it recently signed a deal with the Colombian national team, which is not only an indication of the operator’s success thus far but a sign of its future ambitions. In addition, Betplay is passionate about sports and bringing excitement to sports fans, and as Colombians are extremely passionate about its national football team a partnership between the two made a lot of sense.

Colombia has proven to be one of the industry’s bright spots in the region. Could you tell us any more about how the online sports betting market is regulated in Colombia?

Colombia has certainly been a bright spot for Kambi and our operators in the market. We are live with Rushbet and Betplay who, like I said previously, have both built market leading positions in Colombia. In general, Colombia is a great market. The regulator has done a good job with the regulation, which we’d like to see used as a template for other countries in the region when they come to develop their frameworks. In terms of challenges, payments in Colombia can be a slight issue, due to the fact players have to fund their account in-person at retail stores. But both Rushbet and Betplay have done great jobs in ensuring their customers have enough outlets available to be able to fund their accounts with minimal inconvenience, which has been key to their success.

Are there any markets in the region you plan to become part of moving forwards? So changes are on the way in terms of regulation in Argentina and Brazil. Could you tell us more about these changes and plans going forward in these markets?

All the markets in Latin America are interesting but more important to us is finding the right partner within these markets. So long as regulation is workable, promotes healthy competition, includes safeguards for players and is taxed at a rate that will promote the channelisation of players into the regulated market, then we’ll take a look. As we speak, Buenos Aires in Argentina is preparing its framework, while in Brazil there has also been encouraging progress made. Those two markets are definitely on our radar, as I am sure they are for many in this industry. And as I mentioned previosuly, our experience in Latin America means we are positioned there. In addition, the flexible technology we have developed over many years means we should have very little issue in ensuring we can quickly comply with local regulations as they become known, meaning our partners can enter the market at the point they choose to do so.   

In what ways are your LatAm partners innovating on the Kambi platform?

In the main, our customers are innovating on the frontend to ensure differentiation. For instance, if you look at the Rushbet and Betplay sites, you’ll see they look very different. It one of the reasons why they have both been able to build market leading positions in Colombia. The Kambi platform provides operators with the opportunity and freedom to completely redesign parts or all of the frontend, enabling them to provide a different user experience. When coupled with our price differnetiation tool, bonus toolbox and bespoke risk management, our partners have the levers they need to ensure a complete on-brand experience.

How do you see online regulation in Latin America as a whole? Is there still a long way to go in terms of regulation? What are the most important developments in the market of late?

Online regulation in Latin America is still very much in its early days. However, one very positive outcome is the growth of the regulated Colombian market. As mentioned previously, while not perfect, the Colombian framework is a good example of how other countries in the region should adopt sports betting regulation and there are some positive signs that other countries have been paying attention to the success of the Colombian market, and also that of Spain. So in general we are very positive about the prospects for regulated sports betting across Latin America and it’s our job is to ensure our partners have the best sportsbook possible to lead their respective markets.