SIS (Sports Information Services) is a global provider of betting services to retail and online operators. Angel Calderón, Digital Sales Manager; and Rohini Sardana, Head of Product Propositions, talked with Yogonet about the importance of offering an esports product to appeal to Latin American audiences.
Esports betting has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity around the globe in recent years. Has this been the case in the LatAm region?
Rohini Sardana (RS): There has been a considerable appetite for esports across the globe in recent years, and the same certainly applies to Latin America. With soccer being huge across the continent, while basketball also has a significant following, sports-focused Esports titles have found a natural home amongst sports bettors. Another important factor is that more countries in the region have recently introduced regulatory frameworks for the first time, meaning that these newly legalised markets are more open to embracing new betting products compared to mature territories, where operators traditionally stick to proven and trusted verticals.
Angel Calderón (AC): The fact that streaming and internet technology has significantly improved across the continent in recent years has only added to the opportunity available for operators in the region looking to unlock the potential of the world’s fastest growing sports vertical. One of SIS Competitive Gaming’s key selling points is its low latency of live streaming. This appeals hugely to LatAm operators in retail and online, where latency is given great importance with bettors wanting events in real-time. Their customers can now take full advantage of the multiple quickfire betting opportunities and the 24/7 coverage that our product provides.
Which esports titles have you found to be the most popular among the LatAm audience?
AC: While there are regional differences across LatAm in terms of the most popular Esports titles, we are not seeing a major shift in popularity away from the traditional top three esports betting games: League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. That said, the appetite for sports-focused titles across a sports-mad continent is there. At the same time, sports sims have proved popular in the region, as well as our eBasketball events. In addition to the familiarity with sports sims, the short-form betting opportunities that the product provides also appeals to LatAm bettors, with our eBasketball games featuring five-minute quarters for bettors to watch and bet on – which is in contrast to some Esports matches in the region that can typically last for up to a few hours.
How important is the 24 hour proposition to LatAm operators with four daily 24-hour streams available?
RS: A 24-hour proposition is important for an Esports betting product wherever you are in the world as easy accessibility and a robust user experience are key to its success. Given Latin America is a region made up of multiple markets, it makes it even more vital to be able to guarantee 24/7 coverage to bettors across online and retail. Across the continent, there are varying time differences between certain countries, with each market having different permits and timings for the opening of their retail venues. Through our 24/7 coverage, bettors can access a range of engaging content any time they want, with four concurrent 24/7 streams for online and retail customers and up to 100,000 fast-paced live events a year. We know from other parts of the betting and gaming sector that a high frequency of events has proven to drive margins, which is why this customer-centric approach is a key part of our proposition.
How does SIS Competitive Gaming differ and stand out to other existing esports products in the LatAm market?
AC: Many Esports betting products in the LatAm market have not been designed for betting. For example, they may have limited availability of live streams or a lack of consistent prices, with some products even known to offer odds on computer-simulated matches. SIS Competitive Gaming, however, was the first Esports betting product to be built specifically for sportsbooks. As well as providing frequent live head-to-head events around the clock, with live streams at ultra-low latency, operators in the region can receive the product as an end-to-end solution with streaming, data, on-screen betting prompt graphics, betting commentary and pre-match and in-play markets, helping to create that familiar and compelling betting experience for current sports bettors. Just one simple integration is required, meaning little investment is needed by operators from a resource point of view.
How important is placing integrity at the heart of the product in helping to attract new customers and increase engagement with bettors in the LatAm region?
RS: Over the last year, we have seen a number of different types of Esports betting products launched into the LatAm market, and not all of these have been built with integrity at their core. The integrity of events is often a recurring challenge for event organisers and betting operators, meaning bettors may not trust the content being presented to them. At SIS, we have complete management of the players and games and we have invested significantly in our operational processes for our events and our prices to provide our partners with a fair and competitive experience as well as an engaging and familiar one. We are a long-standing member of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and follow its best practices to ensure each event is fair, while also supporting all anti-corruption initiatives. Every match is overseen by a dedicated integrity referee, and all our players are vetted and reviewed on a regular basis, while our real-time monitoring of events ensures our trading team is on hand to monitor games for any signs of player bias.
What plans do SIS have for Competitive Gaming in the region moving forwards?
RS: We are constantly looking at ways to evolve SIS Competitive Gaming to help drive profits for our operator partners. In the coming months, we have plans to launch mainstream Esports games, which will appeal to Esports bettors, and we are doubling the number of live events we currently offer so that we can help drive more profits for our customers.
AC: When planning ahead, it’s vital for us to tailor our approach in LatAm as every country is completely different. Viewing the region as multiple markets represents an opportunity when you consider how trends differ across the continent. In addition, we need to continue to drive awareness of SIS, and reinforcing our 30 years’ of expertise in developing first-class betting events, as we look to continue to grow across the continent.