A nationwide sports betting sector in Brazil has received government approval and is now set for launch. With countless bookmakers now chasing the Brazilian betting opportunity, getting ahead in the sports marketing race will be vital.

To gain a fresh perspective as to how this race and wider sports sponsorship dynamics could play out, Insider Sport spoke to Thomas Carvalhaes, Managing Director of Brazilian sportsbook Vai de Bob, ahead of his appearance at the SBC Summit Rio later this year.

Thomas Carvalhaes. Source – Vai de Bob

What plans does Vai de Bob have for sports marketing in Brazil and what will be the defining elements of any campaigns?

Carvalhaes: Going forward, we already have a very clear set of marketing rules outlined by CONAR (the self regulated advertising entity in Brazil), Vai de Bob has already implemented all of its guidelines, and we are also very attentive to the constantly changing environment as set by the Brazilian government, such as the prohibition of marketing material performed by social media influencers. 

We need to make provisions around a couple of obvious points such as not targeting under-18s, adding RG disclaimers at the bottom of every marketing banners etc. Because of the recent issues with influencers selling specific games as means to invest and get rich, we are also discussing the addition of new RG sentences, such as “betting is not a form of investment” and so on.

How can betting operators and sporting stakeholders work together to ensure commercial potential is realised whilst adequately protecting customers?

Carvalhaes: It must be said that despite the fact that Brazil has remained unregulated for a large period of time, the igaming professionals from Brazil are very seasoned and experienced ones with experience and good practices coming from the strictest European markets. 

Therefore, this is not a new subject for any of us, we do know what good practices – RG, KYC – measures to put in place. Now, it is a matter of applying the best international practices along the requirements from CONAR and the regulating authority in Brazil. 

CONAR is known for being particularly protective of its customer´s rights, through entities such as CDC (customer’s defence code), PROCON (an entity specifically created for unhappy customer to lodge their complaints and easily open up law cases against such companies), CONAR as previously mentioned, and a few other avenues.

Are there any commercial or sponsorship trends or deals happening in Europe that you are keen to introduce to the Brazilian market?

Carvalhaes: Not at this stage. The EU markets are a challenge of their own. Every country is continuously changing and adapting their rules and regulations, based on customer and operator behaviour. 

In all honesty, I haven’t seen anything majorly innovative, in terms of sponsorship deals, coming from the EU. In fact, I have seen great examples of innovative marketing approaches taking place in Brazil and other LatAm markets.

Football is of course the most popular sport in Brazil, but is a multi-sports, multi-dynamic approach to sponsorship and marketing still a valuable approach?

Carvalhaes: I truly believe that there is a misconception in thinking that Brazilians only care about football. Of course, we are proud of being football world champions five times and we do breathe soccer. 

However, upon closer examination, one can quickly find out that Brazilians are much more prone to playing RNG-based games, rather than sports betting. 

Obviously, the sports betting market has been a great port of entry for operators in Brazil. However, speaking purely from data analysis and customer behaviour analysis, there is a very clear trend and demand for other types of fixed quota games, which expands the market´s potential even further.

Could you give us some insight into your immediate thoughts when the online gambling regulation was passed?

Carvalhaes: Mixed feelings, really. As much as I was relieved to finally see a final piece of regulation coming out for Brazil, I was also concerned with its initial limitations, such as leaving RNG games out, taxing the player, lack of clarity as for a scope and framework. 

However, it must be said that the industry was relieved by seeing that the current government actually managed to get something out. Now, it is a matter of refining the bill, making the right amendments in order to ensure the best possible scenario for customers, operators and the government. 

There are several discussions around the definition of fixed quota betting at the moment. A strong argument for RNG based games is that, despite a bet placed on a sports event prior to kick-off being considered a fixed quota bet, such an event will still have a random result. 

The same can correctly be stated for RNG games. One must understand that, the fact that a betting event is not tied up to a sports event, does not make it more or less random for betting purposes.

As a speaker at the SBC Summit Rio event in March, your panel focuses on localised marketing approaches. How does localisation differ in Brazil for betting sponsorships?

Carvalhaes: I am a firm believer that localisation is key for any market. Of course, there are global strategies which can be used for most markets, however, from experience, I can state that truly knowing your target audience well, combined with a deep understanding of what works in a market, goes a very long way. 

Brazil is a very complex market, we are at a stage where stamping a logo in a team´s jersey is no longer enough. There are lots of room and opportunities for proper brand activations to be executed in a unique way, tailored around the target audience for that specific club or event. 

Provided that all rules and guidelines are observed, we must say that the sky’s the limit, really.

Thomas Carvalhaes, along with many other Brazilian sports and betting stakeholders, will be speaking at the SBC Summit Rio from March 5-7, 2024. Purchase your Early Bird ticket at the discounted price of R$2000 and gain access to all three days of the event, including the exhibition, the conference, and exclusive networking parties.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news, speakers & exhibitor additions and conference content by subscribing to the bi-weekly SBC Summit Rio LinkedIn newsletter.

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