SAGSE: The Winners At Argentina’s Live Event

After a year of reconfigurations, postponements, and cancellations, Latin America’s leading industry conference held its first in-person event for 2021. SAGSE last held a major in-person event in the fall of 2019. Its planned 2020 event was transformed into a series of virtual discussions with industry leaders. In February 2021, event organizers Monografie collaborated with leading games developer Play’n GO to bring back SAGSE in style.

Night on the boardwalk in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Winners of late February’s event included Betcris, Novomatic, Zitro, and Coljuegos. ©fantomas79/Pixabay

In 2020, SAGSE Moves Online

The ongoing pandemic has had a significant impact across the gambling industry, including for annual conventions like SAGSE. Following the severe outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the SAGSE organizers — a team of officials from gambling company Monografie — made the difficult decision to postpone the IRL event, transitioning to a series of online talks.

A Triumphant Return, With A New Vibe

In early 2021, officials from Monografie announced that the event would be hosting its first in-person event since the pandemic on February 24. The 2021 SAGSE event would look quite different from 2019’s: no convention center or indoor expo. Instead, the event would be hosted outside, at Buenos Aires’s Hipódromo de Palermo race track.

Cohosted With A Leading Games Developer

In an interesting additional twist, the 2021 SAGSE event would be cohosted by Play’n GO, a games developer known for popular titles like Bull In A China Shop, The Paying Piano Club, Disco Diamonds, Holiday Spirits, Twisted Sister, Leprechaun Goes Wild, Demon, Perfect Gems, Wild Rails, and Game of Gladiators.

How The Event Played Out

The officials from Monografie and Play’n GO worked together to offer an event that was both COVID-19 safe and exciting for visitors. The night kicked off at 7 p.m. sharp at the Hipódromo de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital province. Tables had been set up in the middle of the race track in front of a stage emblazoned with Play’n GO’s logo.

Guests would then sit together based on who was in their party. Table areas were roped off elegantly, encouraging visitors to respect social distancing and remain safely with their own COVID-19 pod. The event was intended for SAGSE to announce a roster of winners, announcements which were peppered with performances from popular DJs.

Who Was There?

The event’s small crowd included representatives from some of Latin America’s leading gambling companies, like BOLDT, Codere, IGGR, and Casino Club. Buenos Aires city gambling regulators were also in attendance, as they were at the fall 2019 SAGSE event when they announced they would be overtaking private lottery activities.

The Voting Process

The event was, of course, held to announce a list of winners selected based on who had offered the strongest industry performance in 2020. Though the crowd at the February event contained just over 200 people, a staggering 2,356 industry members voted on who should win the prestigious SAGSE gambling award.

Voters came from all sectors of the gambling industry, including corporate executives, business entrepreneurs, and state or city gambling regulators. Though SAGSE is a Latin American gambling industry event, voters were based all over the world, with delegates chiming in from Latin America (of course), as well as Europe and the US.

The Winners

In total, winners were selected from more than 30 categories for top performers, which included awards like Best Regulator, Best Lottery, Best Video Bingo Supplier, Best Payment Method, Top 5 Online Gaming Industry Leaders, Top 5 Land-Based Industry Leaders, Best Electronic Roulette, and many more.

Two Awards For Novomatic

Though games developer Zitro has garnered much attention for its progressive multigame Link King, it was Novomatic that clinched the title for Best Land-Based Slot Progressive, which was awarded for Novomatic’s game Thunder Cash. The company also earned an accolade for Best Electronic Roulette.

Zitro Doesn’t Go Home Empty-Handed

Despite a snub for Best Land-Based Slot Progressive, games developer Zitro received a nod from the industry for Best Video Bingo Provider. The award was, reportedly, an homage to Zitro’s legacy, as the company was initially founded as a video bingo provider, but has since grown into an internationally renowned multi-platform gambling company.

Accolades For Colombian Regulators

Interestingly, it was two Colombian gambling regulators that received the awards for Best Regulator and Best Gaming Association. The titles went to Colombia’s two regulators, Coljuegos and Fecoljuegos. Colombia’s gambling industry has received much attention from international gambling companies, as iGaming has been legal there for years.

The Other Winners, In Brief

Some of the other winners of the night included Colombia’s Betplay for Best Online Casino Operator, Betcris for Best Online Sports Betting Operator, and the Hard Rock – Dominican Republic for Best Integrated Resort Casino Operator. Representatives from Apuesta Total, Betplay, GLI, Luckia, and Betcris won the title of Top 5 Online Gaming Industry Leaders.

Overall, Buenos Aires COVID Restrictions Lift

The February SAGSE event came just before officials in the Buenos Aires province elected to ease up COVID-19 restrictions. Argentina has consistently taken some of the harshest measures in response to the ongoing pandemic, but is now easing due to the number of reported cases falling. As of mid-March, 26% of patients in Argentina’s ICU have COVID-19.

Commemorating A Year Of COVID-19

March 3, 2021 marked a year since Argentina recorded its first case of COVID-19. Since then, more than 2.1 million people in the country have been documented with having the respiratory virus. 52,000 residents of Argentina passed away due to COVID-19 in the 12 months between March 3, 2020 and March 3, 2021.

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The waterfront in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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