El Dorado or Montezuma’s Revenge? Gambling Trends in South America

The South American gambling market is heating up. New regulations, increased demand, and improved opportunities have triggered a veritable virtual gold rush, and gambling brands are the ones picking up their prospecting supplies and heading for the hills.

But as with all big opportunities, the South American market isn’t going to welcome every business with open arms. Companies will face unique obstacles and will need to discover ways of overcoming them if they want to succeed in this promising region.


The city of El Dorado and all of its famed riches may have eluded explorers and conquerors, but if recent data is to be believed, gambling brands will find their own city of gold within the Latin American market.

It has been estimated that the South American gambling market will be worth more than $500 billion by 2023, with more than a 10th of this coming from online gambling.

To put that into perspective, the UK gambling market is worth around $18 billion and is considered one of the most lucrative sectors in the world.

There are more than 430 million people living in South America and while poverty rates are high, it’s also home to over 600,000 millionaires, hundreds of billionaires, and some of the biggest companies in the world. Combine this with a growing and highly profitable tourism sector and rapidly increasing GDPs in countries like Brazil, and it’s easy to see why gambling brands are getting so excited.

Latin America also has a large illegal gambling sector, one built on a tradition of sports betting, card games, and dice games. If you introduce legal, regulated, and varied gambling opportunities to these countries, you can capture an audience that is ready to embrace the change.


Personalisation is of the biggest challenges that gambling brands face in South America. A sports betting site that uses a .com domain extension, features a generic aesthetic and has a European bias, simply won’t work.

Research has shown that gamblers tend to favour sites that are tailored towards players in their country. They want to feel like they are the main target and not merely an afterthought. The UK market is a great example of this. The biggest betting sites in the country have .co.uk domains, use fractional odds, and highlight major UK sporting events.

A Latin American player doesn’t want to log into a co.uk or .com site and be greeted with an onslaught of promotions pertaining to the latest matchup between Manchester United and Liverpool or the upcoming Grand National. They want to see country-specific domains, bonuses, and currencies, as well as bets and promotions focused on South American leagues.

Brands also need to focus their efforts on Millennials, as this is the fastest-growing market. In many other countries, the biggest gamblers are older and more experienced. They have been gambling for years and know odds, payouts, and bets like the back of their hand. They might not be technically inclined, but they know all there is to know about betting.

However, for millennials and younger generations in a country with a limited gambling history, there may be some more hand-holding. This generation is more technically adept, but also tends to have less expendable income and knows less about gambling. Those things need to be accounted for.


In the next couple of years, the gambling sector will likely undergo some massive changes. The biggest brands will move into new regions, focus on new goals, and expand considerably as a result. And at the same time, we could see countries like Brazil begin to rival Australia, the UK, and the US as the biggest gambling nations in the world.