iGaming Markets 2024: How To Growe Dynamically, Without The Risk

LATAM and Africa, arguably, the two hottest regions for iGaming expansion.

But entry into these two singular markets can be difficult – especially when it comes to product-targeting and Compliance. It’s risky to take the leap, yet the rewards can be exponential business growth for those companies who can manage the elements and make their mark on the market.

We sat down with top leaders at iGaming service provider Growe–Anton Rublievskyi, CEO & Partner, and Denys Topchiy, Chief Business Officer–and were given exclusive, behind-the-scenes, access to discuss challenges and opportunities, localisation strategies; and the role experience plays.

In a very short time, your portfolio has grown to include at least three new regions for operations. Could you tell us about your recent launches in Colombia, Chile, and Mozambique? What aspects were made easier due to your experience?

Anton: “From the middle of last year, we started to zero-in on Latin America.

“We see a lot of potential in this continent due to synergy between products, language, football teams, affiliates, partners, and payment solutions. Going forward, and most likely for the next few years, LatAm will remain our primary focus. Columbia was regulated first and is where most regulation originates from. But in the next few years more countries like Ecuador are also likely to regulate, so there’s enormous potential; but it will be a long process.

“When we enter a new market, we must establish a company, acquire a licence, comply with all regulations and policies, and localise our product, so it’s a big undertaking. Currently, Chile is the only country that we’re fully operational in, and even there, we’re still busy setting up our team and base and preparing our product.

“Our experience has helped us create a transparent roadmap that guides us in what we do and how we act when we enter a new market. We have a step-by-step plan, which includes localising our marketing and 360 product branding.

“Most importantly, our experience allows us to learn from our past mistakes, make changes and do things differently in new markets based on what we’ve learned.”

How does cultural and regional specificity influence your marketing strategies and product offers?

Denys: “It influences a lot. First, we always start with the team, bringing on local expertise to ensure we’re doing things right and targeting our product correctly.

“Second, we always localise our product. Sometimes, this is the most challenging aspect, as it includes rebuilding homepages, rewriting banners and so on. We utilise local web designers and content writers to ensure we get this right. We also heavily invest in research to ensure we know what’s happening in markets and with products at the local level.

“Another area of great importance is the support team. We have to ensure we provide proper client support, which entails getting great local support managers.

“The last area we usually take care of is our brand activations, print activations and print activities. We sometimes work with local agencies and spend a lot of time perfecting how we speak about our brand. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our product and marketing strategies fit culturally into the regions we work in.”

How do you ensure regulatory compliance in these new markets? How does this influence your operational strategies?

Anton: “Each market has their own set of regulations that we need to adopt. I think you can divide these markets into two sectors. The first is markets that are yet to be legalised. Here, regulation is not yet clear, and things can change quickly, so we must stay flexible and ready to adapt quickly. In this context, it’s more difficult and costly to operate. There are many LatAm markets like this, and they are on the cusp of regulation, which means decisions have to be made fast.

“The second set of markets is those that have recently been regulated. In these markets, it’s easier because there’s already expertise and companies operating. Plus, there are transparent and clear rules; you just need to fulfil the requirements. Essentially, you have a Compliance checklist that needs to be completed. The main job in these markets is adapting our product and platform.

“In many cases, Regulatory Compliance can also be similar across markets, which can make some operational areas easier as a lot of things we’ve already got covered, and only some need to be re-addressed.”

What new markets are you considering next for expansion, and what do you see as the key drivers of growth in these new markets?

Anton: “We will focus on Latin America and Africa for the next few years.

“I think that our key driver for growth is seniorship between the markets. I genuinely believe that if you operate in only one Latin American market, it’s tough to be successful and big there. Whereas, if you are operating in five, six, or seven markets, you’re speaking under one brand, and there’s considerable synergies to take advantage of.

“For example, we recently partnered with a top football team in Chile. When this team plays in regional games, they get exposure across multiple LatAm countries. People who watch football in Peru, Colombia, and Argentina will see our brand. And if you sign, let’s say, seven different teams in different countries, it’s a huge synergy.

“There are also strong similarities in terms of customer support and VIP support in terms of your operational support, along with other areas, because there’s so much in common between these countries. For us, this synergy and entering a collection of countries in one continent, many of which share one language, is a huge advantage that we think will lead to good growth over the next few years.”

What about the markets themselves? Is there anything particular about the regions you think will be a good source of growth? For example, is it access to cheaper smartphone data, or interest in a specific game or sport?

Anton: “The growth potential in this market is payment solutions. I think smartphone traffic for most Latin American markets, and even Africa, is already in the past. Take Tanzania; a 5G network has been up and running for many years.

“We believe the most significant step when the market is becoming big is offering convenient and quick digital payments. We are an online company, a tech company, and for us, having integrated smartphone payments is the most important part, rather than having offline cash payments or retail payments.”

Editor’s note:
Fast growth in emerging markets can also invite a greater risk of failure.

Growe circumvents this by focussing on precise localisation, bringing the right expertise onboard, flexibility in the face of Compliance or regulatory changes – and continuous learning.

There are many elements to factor-in. And getting it right isn’t easy. But strategically LatAm and African countries share similarities that, once identified, enable rapid multi-jurisdictional expansion and make this region an ideal business target.

About Growe:
Growe launched in 2019 (re-branding from PMI in 2023), providing technical, marketing, and communications expertise to entertainment and iGaming operators worldwide.

The company has successfully established operations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and is currently expanding into Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

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