Pentasia explains how to lift your LatAm business with local know-how

Latin America may be a huge opportunity but how can the industry prepare? Pentasia and Partis have some advice on attracting local talent.

Having outlined the tactics that can help operators build out their US teams, Alistair Cleland of Pentasia rejoins Katie Goldfinch in the ICE365 Live studio to discuss Latin American recruitment, alongside James McKenzie of Partis.

In such a nascent market, is there enough gaming expertise there to run a business, or does this have to be imported?

Katie Goldfinch (KG): Can you share some of the main findings from the iGB Pentasia salary survey and how  these apply to the LATAM talent market?

Alastair Cleland (AC): Globally, our headline figure was a 12.5% increase in salary rates, and that largely correlates with what we’re seeing in LATAM specifically. At senior leadership  the rate of growth was higher still, sitting at 16%. We see Brazil as the hottest market at the moment out of all of LATAM; with regulation looking imminent people are getting geared up for that and starting to position themselves for large scale hiring.

KG: Most of the discussions this afternoon have included an iteration about the importance of local knowledge when launching in LATAM, so how has this influenced the type of candidate operators and suppliers seek out in the region?

AC: If you’re going to launch a casino or sportsbook in any region, you need local knowledge, but you also need industry expertise. Some of that exists in LATAM, but not in every country. At the very start, there’s a real key highlight on importing talent. That can come from anywhere, such as Europe, Canada, or the US. I think we’re seeing a lot of talent being hired overseas and brought in to launch these companies.

James McKenzie (JM): “Partis built a reputation for helping companies get into new markets, particularly the US. We’re seeing LATAM as a reflection of the US now as businesses in North America feel like growth is possibly slowing down slightly with the regulation opportunity diminishing. As they look to South America, a lot of those companies are looking to acquire or invest in companies that know how to cater to LATAM audiences and LATAM players. A number of Brazilian businesses have been very successful in recent months by providing and catering to a younger Brazilian audience.”

KG: In terms of technical talent, have we found that there is a strong local base to pick from?

AC: Not everywhere. We’ve helped customers build development centres in Panama, Columbia, Uruguay, and Argentina. There are some very strong regions in LATAM that have strong graduates entering the market and good skilled technical talent, but it’s more concentrated. There’s some great talent and perhaps more cost-effective than building something in Europe.

KG: For investors that are looking to expand into LATAM, what are the defining characteristics of the local LATAM operators, and what of their highest values?

JM: It’s the same for almost any geography, but if you have a strong product, growth, profitability, local know-how and knowledge of how to market to the customer, you’re set for success. A lot of the players in LATAM are using third-party technology but over time there’ll be a trend where people are bringing technology in-house as happened in the US. I think ultimately the successes of the LATAM businesses to date is because they know how to market efficiently to their audience in their home geographies.

KG: Whilst the excitement of LATAM continues to grow, how do operators and suppliers view the industry, from the inside looking out?

JM: I think there’s a huge buzz around the industry generally looking at LATAM as a market. I think those on the ground in the market as impending regulation in places like Brazil and Peru is going to come in, that always brings more opportunity, it brings jobs to these countries, it brings taxes which benefit the government as well, but I think it’s the same story as Columbia and Argentina where regulation has existed for a long time. I think ultimately there was an obsession and a bit of a race for businesses to get into north America, now it feels like that attention is slightly shifting towards LATAM because companies down there are achieving significant growth and businesses want to go on that journey with local companies.