Games of chances have a pretty long tradition among citizens of Latin America. However, online gambling was a pretty marginal thing, until recently. Due to the fact the people have been spending more time at home since March 2020, things started to change, especially in the aspect of online sports betting. Sports, especially football/soccer, have always had a special place in the hearts of citizens of all South American countries and sports betting is, logically, by far the most common kind of online gambling.
Brazil About to Legalize Sports Betting
Moreover, some countries took a pretty affirmative position toward sports betting. Brazil is about to legalize it, as well as countries like Chile and Colombia. On the other hand, online casino is still in a grey zone and the number of reasons is pretty big. Looking at Cassinopedro which compares the best casinos as well at betting sites in Brazil, the number of online casinos is far greater than the number of betting houses.
First of all, all South American countries are developing countries, with markets that are still emerging. So, most governments have a pretty negative stance on gambling. Moreover, gambling is strictly prohibited in most countries. With online gambling, things are different. This field is unregulated, while the governments have no capacity to prosecute citizens who play on abroad casinos.
This leads us to the current state in the online casino industry of South America. Many people play on abroad casino websites, located around the world. A good thing is that there are so many websites that operate in Spanish and Portuguese language.
Is this enough to make casinos bigger than betting? Probably not. First of all, the online casino industry still has so many big steps to make to become relevant. The biggest problem is legislation and we are pretty sure that things won’t go as fast as some expect.
Social structure is another big issue. South American citizens aren’t particularly wealthy and there are few quite limiting factors to consider. First of all, not all citizens have access to the internet. For example, only 57% of Brazilian citizens are online. We presume that things aren’t significantly different in other countries either.
Cash is still King
Another big issue is that most South American citizens still prefer cash. Simply, credit cards aren’t particularly popular, because of poverty, weak infrastructure and other factors. We don’t believe that the use of e-wallets and similar payment services could change things in the near future either.
Those are all major limiting factors that lead us to the answer to the question in the heading. We don’t believe that casinos could become bigger than betting in LATAM that soon. Without any doubt, the online casino will continue to grow, no matter the legislation dynamics. However, online sports betting will continue to grow as well. This form of gambling has increased significantly in the last few years, despite the lack of competition, due to the Covid-19 pandemics, and will continue to grow at a pretty fast pace. Simply, South Americans love sports and sports betting will certainly remain their main occupation.
The face of Betting is set to change in Latin America
In the long run, we believe that things could change significantly. Potential reasons are numerous, while one of the things that come to our mind is the expansion of Esports. This is a global phenomenon, which grows at a rapid speed, taking over the market from traditional sports. Some researchers even suggest that soon enough, football/soccer will remain the only traditional sports game that’s more popular than Esports.
Due to the aforementioned issues we’ve mentioned in the case of online casinos, we presume that this process will be slightly slower compared to the other parts of the world. However, the social structure is changing and every year brings a new generation of people that are born with digital devices, which usually find Esports more appealing than traditional games.
Simply, the younger generation considers conventional sports games too slow, and that will certainly lead to the loss of popularity, in favor of virtual sports. At the same time, the online casino will continue to grow, which makes us believe it could become the number one in Latin America. However, that won’t happen so soon and it will certainly take more time compared to other parts of the world.