How would you describe the characteristics of your daily work at Sportingtech, in an area as important as compliance?
Sportingtech is a B2B supplier so we have less touching points governing consumer law issues, and consumer protection is one of the most pressing concerns of regulators. Our role is to support fully licensed operators to become and remain compliant with applicable laws and focus on their business and take necessary steps to ensure operations are free from illegal and suspicious activity. We cooperate with a variety of stakeholders, together with the operators, to make this possible. A significant part of my role is related to maintaining compliance and reporting for our existing licenses, developing best practice for governance, negotiating various agreements, and keeping abreast of any regulatory or compliance updates in any market that Sportingtech operates in. From a legal perspective, I oversee many areas of the business, from looking at corporate structures, to negotiating contracts, and providing risk advice to the business. I receive and provide feedback on many of the current trends or updates from a regulatory point of view so that our products comply with regulations in a particular jurisdiction, and the team is abreast of trends and developments. Maintaining a positive relationship with regulators is paramount. They are as keen to speak to us and hear about our operations as they are to provide insight into industry issues. We give our opinion on what is working well within existing regulations, and what could be improved when invited to do so.
What compliance challenges will your company face this year in markets such as Europe and LatAm?
We operate on a smaller scale in the European market, so I do not see any major compliance challenges on the horizon. With regards to LatAm, the challenge is striking the balance between speed to market in the face of several requirements which demand further clarification, and regulatory compliance. The key area for us is Brazil and the rest of the LatAm markets, generally. We are excited to enhance the footprint we have there. Some are already quite mature markets that have seen regulations approved, giving it a head start over the likes of Brazil in some ways. The requirements regulators have placed on platforms are substantial, and cover everything from certification and safety features, to products and compliance. Keeping players safe with responsible gaming (RG), AML, and self-exclusion initiatives to conformity with local requirements is one of the challenges. It is vital to prioritize player safety and ensure our product is compliant, without interrupting day-to-day operations and the management of growth on our platforms.
What possibilities does the Brazilian gaming market bring to your company now, after iGaming and sports betting regulation? How do you imagine the future of this market in the coming months?
The barriers to entry are quite high. One thing we can expect to see is consolidation in the market. The requirement of having a 20% Brazilian investor in any B2C operation is also an interesting proposition and will undoubtedly lead to a shift in current manner of operations for some companies. There is a big question surrounding live casino and some very popular products such as specific crash games that appear to either have been removed from the latest bill or criticized publicly by high-ranking politicians. I wonder whether the regulators will maintain their stance on omitting these products, or whether they will return in some form or fashion once the picture becomes a little clearer, and certain basic protections and tools are implemented for better care of those at risk of problem gambling. With that being said, ‘excitement’ is the general feeling now that regulations are inching ever closer to fruition. We have spoken for a long time about the positive impact a regulated market in Brazil could have on the industry, and we are finally about to see that become a realization.
There is no doubt that, since launching of your Bet Builder offering on Brazilian Serie A (local Football tournament), you got amazing results: 102 million bets placed, a 1,300% increase in total bets compared to the 2022 season, and a whopping 75% of bets being pre-match. How will this and other Sportingtech tools help licensed operators take care of their players and develop a responsible gaming policy?
It goes without saying that the more volume and activity we see within our platform, the greater chance we have of detecting any suspicious betting patterns in the data we collect. We are aware that there are industry bodies that operators will be required to join for the sole purpose of reporting on any such activity, and this level of transparency will be beneficial. As a platform, our remit is to support the operators since we do not have access to full customer profiles, personal information, and behavior in a more in-depth level. We cooperate with the operators to investigate any activity when asked by them, by suppliers, and also by regulators. We also have self-exclusion periods, deposit limits, time limits and player tracking reports which often help us identify risky behavior. Something that we pride ourselves on at Sportingtech is staying alert to the latest RG trends, products and tools that are available, and integrating them into our products in order to become as refined as possible. The safety of our players is our number one priority, and we will ensure this in any way we can, as we work alongside the authorities to create a safer environment.
How can your company collaborate in Brazil to raise awareness about the fight against match fixing in football?
The new law in Brazil requires each operator to have a specific area or structure within their organization for handling requests and questions from any body which forms part of the Ministry of Finance, the National Consumer System, the judiciary, the prosecution office and so on. The law further requires integration with national or international organizations monitoring sports integrity, and asks for mandatory policy on the preservation of the integrity of bets and prevention of match-fixing and other fraudulent activity. Sportingtech recognizes the importance of keeping sport free from such corruption and takes these duties very seriously. Our company will be doing all it can to ensure operators comply with their obligations, as well as the intention of the law. We have a risk management team who monitor betting activity in real time 24/7. We also work with our data partners and proactively collaborate to ensure match-fixing of any sort is highlighted.
In addition to the clear evolution of Sportingtech in Brazil, in which other LatAm markets do you anticipate growth for your company during 2024?
This is very much on our radar. Mexico, Peru, and Colombia are markets that we are actively looking to launch in. With the successes we have experienced in Brazil, looking at other LatAm markets and exploring the vast potential in the region is a natural step. We want to emulate our success in other geographical areas.