Annual G2E in Las Vegas opened its doors for business at 12 noon on the first day, but there were many people there early to attend some of the specialist speaking sessions. One of them was about the current situation of the Latin American market, where participated experienced executives of the region.
The executives that have been part of the panel in “Emerging Gaming Markets: Latin America” session were Miguel Mikasinovik (IGT Latin America), Martín Canepa (Codere) and Clive Tilley (Tilley Entertainment). The moderador was Pablo Zuppi (Yogonet).
At this well attended conference, even during the Q&A, many subjects were talked about; however one topic stood out and this was the well known and potentially controversial subject of the disadvantages of being legally compliant.
When asked the question regarding the state of gaming market playing fields in Latin America Clive Tilley said: “As an operator going to market you study the law, try to do everything according to the law and still get held up by the law when they are not issuing licenses or which is generally the case in Mexico trying to compete with other groups that are working outside the law operating class three games in a class two environment, so you have to make a choice, go to market and be less competitive and pay more because you want to be legal or you cross the line and once you cross the line you can’t come back, obviously Tilley Entertainment is 100% compliant with the law”.
This unfortunately is not generally the case. The application of the law in nearly all of the Latin American market is subject to much interference from the local powers that be and depending on your level of relationship with the relevant licensing authority makes it key to deal with the right people. This in turn means that competition for this relationship is tough and there are even cases of desperate operators giving shares to individuals within authorities in the hope of getting the proverbial green light.
As it is so often the case unsavoury companies that have short term business models often work outside the law. Frustratingly in Brazil some legitimate operators hoping for reward were sadly disappointed as the government took the draconian measure of closing all gaming establishments legal or otherwise.
Internationally these illegal operations are well known for criminal activities from tax evasion to money laundering.