If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the world where online sports betting is legal, it’s easy to overlook the fact that, for many people, it is not, and they cannot place bets over the internet.
In the United States, for example, the number of states allowing online sports betting is growing, but still in the minority. New Jersey was the first in 2018, followed by Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nevada, Iowa, West Virginia, and a few others. Some, like Colorado, are still catching up with land-based sports betting.
Elsewhere in the world, key markets such as much of Europe have been legal, with licensing authorities in the UK, Spain, France, Italy, the Isle of Man and Malta to name just a few.
However, there is one tremendous, mostly untapped resource for the sports betting market that’s about to be switched on, flooding the industry with new customers and betting opportunities. And that’s Brazil.
With a massive population of 200 million people, Brazil is on the verge of passing a legalized sports betting bill that will change the landscape of global sports betting.
How Close is Brazil to Legalizing Sports Betting?
Very. Encouraged by successful launches of legalized sports betting in other parts of South America, the Brazil government wants to press ahead. It has seen the likes of Colombia establish a regulated online gaming market, where revenues increased 83% last year.
What makes the Brazil market so exciting is not only the fact that there are so many people, but they also happen to be sports-mad. Anyone who follows soccer will know the Brazil team is one of the best in the world and has been for decades.
Motorsport is popular, too, especially Formula One racing, where the late Ayrton Senna is a legendary driver. Volleyball is another sport closely followed.
Sports betting had been expected to launch this year but is likely now to be 2021, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which is rightly taking up all of the Government’s focus right now. At least that gives the operators time to finalize their launch plans and marketing operations.
The launch will certainly not face indefinite delays, as the Government knows it is likely that sports betting in Brazil will raise $3.7 billion in revenues that can be taxed, which will help fund programs in the country, including education and health.
Of course, many Brazilians are already enjoying a wide range of betting sites including sports and poker, because the country is considered a “gray market,” where it is neither licensed but not exactly closely monitored. Many operators won’t launch in a gray market, so pressing the green light on regulation will open the flood gates.
What Will Happen When Brazil Opens?
The launch of legal online sports betting in Brazil will likely have wide-reaching effects. Yes, in the country itself, there will be a whole new industry, with millions of people expected to sign up to begin wagering online.
The result will mean operators will then begin sponsoring sporting occasions, and sponsorship money will further raise the profile of sports in the country.
This could then mean more Brazilian sports betting markets are offered by online sites elsewhere in the world, including the US. Imagine betting on pro volleyball, domestic Brazilian soccer competitions, and more!
Perhaps another significant effect will be how other large South American countries reflect on Brazil’s success. It’s likely that if the legalization goes as well as expected, and the Government begins to raise millions in new tax revenues, that neighboring states will take notice. They will already have seen how online gambling is booming during the coronavirus lockdown.
Countries that might consider changing their stance include Argentina. It allows online gaming on a provincial basis but would need to make its national approval more formalized. Mexico is another huge market, where online gambling is currently a gray area. Even so, it now has a market of around $300 million. So, imagine how much would be raised if the government put its weight behind it.
Despite encouraging land-based casinos, the Government in Chile does not condone online gaming, but that hasn’t stopped many of the population turning to international sportsbooks. In countries like Bolivia, however, there is hardly any interest in sports betting, period.
US Market Should Look Forward with Optimism
The likely massive growth in Latin American online sports betting can only be a good thing for supporters in the US. It’s expected to raise the profile of sports in South America, possibly increasing the number of betting markets available. And any expansion of legal online gambling in significant countries can only add pressure to more US states to take the plunge.