Cracking the iGaming LatAm market

Posted: Apr 06, 2020 18:11 Category: Americas, Posted by Katy

GTH translation explains how iGaming operators and affiliates can leverage the booming Latin American online gaming market by localising content


sigma igaming Cracking the iGaming LatAm market GTH translation’s Director of Business Operations, Ildiko Gyimesi.


GTH translation has been super busy over the past year, as more and more iGaming operators and affiliates open up shop (online of course) in Latin American countries. This Unified Localisations Provider has been pushing for more operators to realise the true value of using localised content and translation services which take into account the culture and various language nuances.

With a large portfolio of online casino operators and affiliates who run some of the biggest online casino reviews sites on the web, SiGMA News caught up with GTH translation’s Director of Business Operations, Ildiko Gyimesi, to discuss the LatAm market in relation to where it’s heading and how gaming operators and affiliates can take advantage of this fertile region.

How do you see iGaming growing in Latin America in 2020 and beyond?

LatAm is the new frontier for iGaming. Period.

I want to expand on that by starting with some important facts. The first one is that the fastest-growing market for online and mobile gaming is Latam. 

 When it comes to the gambling industry, and more importantly, the online gambling sector, Latin America is leading the way as one of the fastest-growing territories in the gambling industry. In 2017 alone we saw the predicted revenue count of $1.9 billion blown out of the water as revenues hit just under the $2.5 billion mark in 2019. Mobile was the largest segment with just over $2 billion in revenues last year. We’re expecting that to double within the next two years.

Now, when it comes to the leading iGaming countries in Latin America, we’re seeing that Colombia and Peru, in particular, are the standout candidates. We then have more mature markets in Brazil, Mexico, and the lesser mature countries in Paraguay, and Chile. All these countries within the LatAm region are now increasingly regulating their local gaming industry.

A great number of businesses are beginning to dive into this fertile, virgin LatAm iGaming market. Though many players in this niche still haven’t seen the true potential – I’m going to be addressing some of the really big pain points online gamers in LatAm have right now, and how experienced iGaming companies can remedy these pains by fully exploiting localisation.

Which sector of iGaming do you think is in high demand in Latin America?

eSports in LatAm is in big, BIG demand, and here’s why. To begin with, let’s take a closer look at the eSports market. When it comes to the global viewership, the expected growth is at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023. This sees eSports viewership up from 454 million in 2019 and forecast to hit an incredible 646 million in 2023. These stats are from Business Insider and are truly mind-blowing. They also show us that the eSports audience will nearly double over a six-year period when taking into account the 2017 audience, which stood at 335 million.

What would you say is the best way forward for companies wanting to make a splash in the LatAm iGaming industry?

Right now there are some companies trying to penetrate the iGaming industry in Latin America. To all intents and purposes, they are succeeding, but, and there is a big “but” here, that’s at the cost of the user. You see, some iGaming companies have already put down their roots in the LatAm region, but these “roots” rely on poorly translated websites. And as users have no other choice but to use these websites, they do so.

We’re now working with a series of big players in the iGaming world and they’re going to be launching their online casinos soon. We’re not simply copying the content from their US and EU review sites and translating them into Spanish and Portuguese. This isn’t what localisation is. We’re creating content that can be fully digested by the LatAm players; understood and then acted on.

What do you think is going to happen when one of the big players in the iGaming world we’re working with to localise their brand for the LatAm market joins the iGaming bandwagon in Latin America? Do you really think users will continue to put up with the badly translated websites they’ve had to endure? Do you think they’ll move over to an online casino brand that actually speaks their language?

I think we both know the answer to that question. Of course, some will stay with the poorly translated website for the time being, but it’s only a matter of time before they move over to operators who launched nativley translated websites. The same applies to affiliates and their review websites. It’s only a matter of time before the users switch to a brand they can understand and be on the same page with.

There’s so much scope for iGaming companies to leverage and take advantage of the huge demand. From the actual gaming operators to review websites launched by affiliates and everything in between, LatAm should be the focus in 2020 through to 2023. Unfortunately, a lot of the current iGaming companies are missing out due to something so simple – bad translation, a.k.a. localisation.


sigma igaming GTH translation’s Director of Business Operations, Ildiko Gyimesi LatAm is the new frontier for iGaming, and one of the fastest-growing market for online and mobile gaming. 


Why is “bad translation” such a hindrance in LATAM for iGaming companies?

We’re not just talking about websites. We’re talking about the brands of these companies. More importantly, we’re talking about how their brands are being impacted. Something as small as a bad translation can really put off the users and definitely harm the conversion rate. Do you know how many times we’ve seen users of a website take a screenshot of a really badly translated paragraph and post it on their Instagram or Facebook accounts because they think it’s hilarious? And  the truth is, it normally is. For example, many companies don’t realise that a word in European Spanish could mean something completely different in Peruvian Spanish. A hidden issue like this will definitely affect reputation of the brand in the eyes of the user, consequently affecting the conversion rate and the CPA .

When it comes to depositing money with  an online brand, if users see a website or an app which is not natively translated, trust will decline. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of these websites use European Spanish instead of the Spanish language which is spoken in let’s say Colombia and Peru. And don’t even get me started on the European Portuguese translations which are being used instead of the Brazilian Portuguese.

These brands are paying a heavy price without even realising it’s where it hurts them the most.

GTH  is going to change this very soon, as we are preparing some of the biggest brands in iGaming to come forward with their properly, natively translated website and apps. We’re anticipating a big swing from users moving between non-localised operator sites to the fully localised iGaming websites and review websites.

How are the regulatory measures being put forward by governments in LatAm affecting iGaming websites?

This is something that I really want to talk about as online gambling in Latin America is regulated very differently across the various jurisdictions, although generally speaking, countries in LatAm are reflecting the regulatory position in other regions of the world such as Europe. For example, gambling regulation is almost entirely subject to a local licensing regime, but there are some exceptions as there are a few monopolies remaining.

One of the biggest countries in Latin America which is showing incredible growth in iGaming is Colombia. Colombia was the first Latin American country to introduce nationwide European-style online gambling regulation, and many other countries in the LatAm region are now following their lead.

When it comes to online gambling, one of the most relevant amendments was introduced in 2015. The amendment followed the changes to the taxation regime applicable to online gambling services. This falls under the definition of “novelty games” in Law no. 643/2001. It’s really important to note that the Colombian gambling authority, which is known as the “Coljuegos”, is fairly strict when it comes to the regulation they’ve set out.

You know your stuff when it comes to gaming and gambling regulation in Latin America. How do you keep up to date with the changes?

As a Unified Localisation Provider, it’s our job and duty here at GTH translation to know the regulation and licensing criteria for every country, both in LatAm and throughout the rest of the world. We ensure we receive every new circular and after taking the necessary steps to understand it, share the information with our teams.

Even though we’re doing our bit at GTH translation, many operators and affiliates aren’t and we’re unfortunately seeing a lot of iGaming companies create content that simply isn’t compliant. This is presenting a big issue in one of the fast-growing iGaming countries in Latin America. The issue is that while these websites can gain new users and generate revenues, the revenue stream is short-lived once the regulator inspects the website.

And just like the iGaming European counterparts, when you misstep with regards to regulation, you can be fined and shutdown, which then puts an end to the great revenues you were achieving through your unregulated iGaming website.

What’s your take on banking in Latin America?

There really isn’t a strong banking industry or culture throughout most of the countries in LatAm. This has caused a few iGaming companies to favour crypto and mobile payments. This, of course, has meant a surge in blockchain companies opening up in LatAm, which we also assist when it comes to localisation.

As governments in LatAm now see the regulated option as the way forward, banking for an online casino or a sports betting site which is unregulated is nearly impossible. And given that many countries in Latin America still use provincial regulatory bodies rather than federal regulated legal systems, it can get very messy.

As Tim Heath, the CEO of CoinGaming put it, there’s ‘around 70% of people across Latin America who are either unbanked or underbanked; yet 64% own a mobile device.’

So, taking that under consideration, iGaming companies wanting to move into LatAm will need to understand all the pitfalls when it comes to getting their deposits out and also giving the players their winnings on time.

Once again, localisation plays a massive role in how the deposits and withdrawals content on the operator’s website is portrayed. We’ve literally seen translations on operator websites in LATAM where the term “rake” has been translated into “garden rake”. Queue the hilarious Instagram posts…

What should iGaming companies take into consideration when it comes to creating content?

Just because the Latin American iGaming market is an up-and-coming one doesn’t mean it’s going to stay this way. As the industry matures, and it will pretty quickly, the content needs to evolve to not only fit this newly maturing market but to also take into consideration the ever-changing regulatory benchmarks. For example, 10 years back it was completely OK for an affiliate websites to use a Google Translated version of their content, would you imagine doing this today?

As we’ve seen from the numbers relating to the growth of iGaming in Latin America, there’s so much scope for growth in this region. Companies wanting to take advantage of the region now need to also consider how the market is going to grow in 2020 and beyond. They need to work with either specialists or vastly experienced people who know exactly what the LatAm market wants in relation to content.

How can iGaming affiliates make the most out of the booming LATAM market?

Affiliates in the iGaming industry play a really big part, and here at GTH translation, we work with quite a few of them, especially when it comes to the online casino review websites. Now, just like I’ve talked to the iGaming operators in relation to localising their content, the same has to be said of the affiliates.

If you’re an affiliate and you want to get in on the iGaming action which is happening right now in Latin America, get in touch with us. We’ll help you get started with the content you’re going to need to drive your website, email marketing and paid campaigns. If content is king, localisation reigns supreme!

What’s GTH translation’s role in assisting iGaming companies in Latin America?

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When it comes to iGaming operators wanting to break into the Latin American market, GTH translation is here to empower these companies and entrepreneurs with localised and regulated content.

I know I’ve spoken about localisation a lot, but when we take a magnifying glass to the LatAm online gaming industry, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. In fact, localisation certainly hasn’t been shown enough importance by operators, nor by the affiliates either, who keep pushing the idea that one glove fits all when it comes to localisation. Being part of the female establishment means my hands are smaller than most male hands. I don’t shop for gloves which are too big and online casino enthusiasts in Latin America aren’t going to be too pleased with websites that clearly don’t have their best interests in mind.

When an affiliate or an operator comes to us for content, proofreading, voiceovers or translation work for their website which is targeting, for example, online casino gamers in Peru, we don’t put our Spanish speaker from Spain on the project. We’ve got a dedicated Peruvian team in place. By doing this, we’re taking advantage of the Peruvian Spanish our client’s website users will understand. We’re talking about the intricacies and colloquial subtleties required to adequately localise the content for Peru. And we don’t stop there either. Our team of  translators stems from all over LATAM as well as the rest of the world, so we can cover every country in the Latin American region.

As new regulation enters the fray, GTH translation is on the front line. As I said before, we receive every new circular and train all our copywriting teams as well as our translators on the latest regulatory fields.

GTH translation’s offer to all iGaming niche participants wanting to enter Latin America

Together with the team here at SiGMA, we have come up with a great offer for the iGaming sector:

The first part of the offer will see us provide a free localisation quality check to any operator, affiliate or niche participant who has already localised their content for a new target market in Latin America. We’ll give them the crucial feedback they need from our experts here at GTH translation.

The second part of our offer extends to us offering a free translation sample to any language for operators, affiliates and newcomers to this industry who are looking to localise their websites, software, game or app.

We’re confident both these offers will help iGaming brands and affiliates understand the difference between a basic translation and a comprehensive localisation. When we work on the content and the translation of the said content, we’re working the cultural differences, idioms and local tone. We create content that is fully immersed in the target country’s cultural identity. Our translation works to tie the content we’ve created to the reader, so go ahead and claim both offers here

Interested parties can reach GTH through the following contact information:

     Email: [email protected] 

     Mobile: +447308654745

     Skype: live:ildiko_160


About SiGMA Expo:

The iGaming summit SiGMA is setting its sights on Asia. Our ground breaking Asian iGaming expo will be held in Manila, on the 8th & 9th of June 2020. SiGMA’s largest venue to date will bring together high quality conferences and content, premium networking opportunities, and luxury networking event. 10,000 delegates from across Europe, the US, and Asia are expected to attend, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region.  To become a part of the fastest paced Asian iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.

For those planning to attend SiGMA Manila, AIBC Manila and ICE Asia at SMX on June 8-9th, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected:



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