Latin American Online Gambling Potential

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2009 -

A report from the Centre for Telecoms Research indicated that there would be 30 million broadband users in Latin America by 2011.
This fact provides proof of potential for growth in the online gambling sector. It is suggested that Latin America is the next hot spot for internet gaming firms. With more stable economies now present in Latin American and a rising gross domestic product in countries such as Argentina, Panama, and Uruguay, Latin America is attracting a great deal of interest from some of the leading players in the global online gambling industry.

While the region certainly holds a great deal of potential, experts in the field have warned that Latin America is not a market to be entered into lightly.

James Kilsby, a spokesman for the regulatory information firm Gambling Compliance said "It is important to remember that there are many cultural differences between the different countries in the region - and sometimes vast differences between the different regions within a given country - so making generalisations is extremely difficult," It is obvious that this giant market could pose huge challenges for would be operators.

Argentina has become a major focus for international online gambling companies, mostly due to the fact it has the highest percentage of internet users in South America in relation to its population (26 per cent). Historically, gaming activity in the country has been state owned, although restrictions on privately owned activity have eased, allowing for the emergence of independent operators.

Brazil, meanwhile, has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in South America, with this figure standing at just over 14 per cent in 2006. The country's gambling industry is beset by a burgeoning illegal market, which is estimated to be worth $7.8m US a year.

Despite the fact that Argentina has the largest percentage of internet users in Latin America, it is perhaps Mexico which holds the most potential for online growth in the short and medium term. A law passed in 2004 has allowed operators to obtain permits for online gambling activities from the Mexican government. This law has attracted a lot of interested parties to the Mexican market and the 18.6 million internet users that live there.

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