Prior to her attendance at SiGMA Americas, Monica Umaña, Head of LATAM at Evolution shared her perspective on the Latin American market.
Exclusive interview.- Mónica Umaña, Head of LATAM at Evolution spoke with Focus Gaming News about the company’s plans for expansion in Latin America, including the launch of new games and the opening of new studios.
What do you expect from SiGMA Americas? What does it mean to participate in such an important event in the region?
We’re really excited because the event combines two massive exhibitions – SiGMA Americas and now BiS, the Brazilian iGaming Summit. It’s the biggest event of its kind in Latin America, so it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our latest products and meet potential customers. It’s also a chance to establish relationships with like-minded partners in the industry and to explore opportunities to expand Evolution’s reach in the Latin American market.
What products are you planning to exhibit at the fair?
We are showcasing an incredible line-up of our online games and solutions from our brands within Evolution Group. Our headline games are the recently launched Extra Chilli Epic Spins and Funky Time from Evolution, but there are many, many more to discover – all part of our 100-plus games roadmap for 2023.
Ezugi extends the live casino choice with EZ Dealer Roleta Brasileira, a native speaker variant of the unique game which blends RNG gameplay and live dealer video.
On the online slots front, there’s a host of new Evolution Group titles from NetEnt, Red Tiger and BTG, creators of the renowned Megaways slots mechanic. Adding even more variety to the choice of online slots is the latest brand to join Evolution Group: Nolimit City, known for its trademark dark and edgy game themes.
Everyone’s looking to Brazil for the launch of sports betting, but how do you see the online casino market in South America?
We’re making strong developments in the region, whilst also monitoring ongoing regulations in Peru, Chile and Argentina very closely. Many of our licensees in other markets offer sports betting alongside online casino. In regards to Brazil, we see the other countries in the region regulating after the launch of sports betting and offers us huge potential to drive significant operator revenues in this region.
In Evolution Group terms, of course, online casino is a very broad category – we offer live casino, live game shows, First Person/RNG games that are based on those live games, online slots and, perhaps most exciting of all, games that blend live and slots.
Also, over the years we have seen in other markets that many of our games have a big appeal to sports bettors. Operators have seen that cross-selling live casinos to their sports betting audience can work very well in attracting new players.
There seems to be quite a buzz around Extra Chilli Epic Spins™ and Funky Time. What more can you tell us about these new games and what feedback have you received?
These are two of our most hotly anticipated games and when we showcased them at ICE in February, the reaction from operators was fantastic. These ground-breaking new titles are part of our game show range of games, offering new ways of entertaining and immersing online players like no other games have done before. Both demonstrate how Evolution combines expertise, ideas and resources from across its brands. For example, Funky Time, uses a DigiWheel, while Extra Chilli Epic Spins™ is a development of the famous Extra Chilli slot IP from BTG.
Funky Time is our newest thrilling game show – and our biggest and boldest to date! It builds on Crazy Time, our most popular game ever, with its distinctive retro ’70s disco theme it introduces new features and an incredible four bonus rounds – Bar, Stayin’ Alive, Disco, and VIP Disco – and a chance to take part in the bonuses at every spin of the wheel.
Extra Chilli Epic Spins brings the renowned six-reel BTG Megaways slot with Free Spins to the live game show studio. But isn’t just a re-spin of a famous slot game – this live version combines hot slot action with entertaining Gamble Wheels and Pinata-smashing by the live presenter to increase the anticipation and fun for players.
Both titles are now live in multiple markets and the feedback from players and operators alike continues to be very positive. Funky Time players absolutely love the disco ambience and how the bonus games are so varied. Extra Chilli Epic Spins players, meanwhile, love the way the game has added a communal, social feel to playing slots.
“Extra Chilli Epic Spins brings the renowned six-reel BTG Megaways slot with Free Spins to the live game show studio.”Mónica Umaña, Head of LATAM at Evolution.
In the last months, the company has expanded its content in North America. What are the next steps in terms of expansion in Latin America?
Evolution is going from strength to strength in North America. Five years down the line from opening our first US studio in New Jersey and our first Canadian studio in Vancouver, we now provide an extremely comprehensive mix of live games and online slots content to multiple states and provinces.
In the last three months alone we have partnered with Caesars Digital in Pennsylvania, brought our unique Live Craps game to online players in Michigan (the fourth US state in our Craps rollout), and launched the first Mega Ball in North America in partnership with British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
“Evolution is going from strength to strength in North America.”Mónica Umaña, Head of LATAM at Evolution.
Latin America has also seen a great deal of focus and investment in growth from Evolution Group. In fact, We now offer the most comprehensive selection of native-speaking live casino tables for the Latin American market. The opening of our new studio in Madrid has been instrumental in this, enabling us to offer Brazilian Portuguese tables.
Streaming live from Madrid, Evolution also offers Spanish-speaking live game shows, such as our electrifying Lightning Roulette, Mega Ball and Football Studio. These supplement our generic Spanish-speaking tables, which include Blackjack and Roulette, and also our generic Portuguese-speaking tables, which include Lightning Roulette, Blackjack and Roulette.
Our Ezugi brand adds further choice with further native Spanish-speaking tables for Unlimited Blackjack and Roulette, as well as their EZ Dealer Rola Brasileira, an exciting twist on traditional European Roulette that blends RNG gameplay with state-of-the-art filmmaking featuring a native Brazilian-Portuguese-speaking dealer.
Brazilian generic Speed Blackjack will follow later in the year, and this game is our first Speed Blackjack presented by a native Brazilian Portuguese-speaking dealer.
Also, in line with the growth of our brands in this region, our Latin American team continues to expand with dedicated Territory and Key Account Managers for each main country in which we operate.
It’s all part of our goal to become leaders in online casinos in Latin America, as we are in other regions of the world. This is an important market for Evolution Group and we want our solutions to be central to operator growth and player choice in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, to name just a few.
What are the company’s challenges for the next months?
Evolution offers an unparalleled portfolio of unique games, setting the pace for the whole industry with new ground-breaking releases. Evolution already has the widest, most diverse live casino offering and the widest range of variants available to operators in Latin America.
Our main challenges are to maintain our leadership position in an industry that continues to develop rapidly and in which markets are fast-changing and fiercely competitive.
Specifically, our challenges for the remainder of 2023 and beyond are: being sufficiently agile to respond very quickly to market changes, including new or changing regulations; being sure that we have a constant stream of innovative new games being made available to players (hence our very challenging 100-plus new games for 2023 roadmap); and staying in tune with player needs while also being one or two steps ahead and anticipating player needs, and even creating whole new game categories.
In Latin America, as we do elsewhere, we monitor each individual market and its needs very closely. Where permitted, and where it will add clear value to the local market, operators and players, we will launch a fully operational live casino studio, offering world-class games tailored to each market. Where that’s not feasible, we stream from our other studios but still with a high level of tailoring and localisation.
Our diverse skills, rich experience across multiple markets worldwide, and our local knowledge will ensure that we offer world-leading quality across our Group brand games. Our laser focus on our clients’ needs and expectations and our continuous dialogue with our business partners are some of the core principles that differentiate us from our competitors.
So, yes, we have challenges, but they are well understood and our company is structured to address them. It’s what we do: we are alive to every opportunity to help our operators thrive and ensure players enjoy flawless online entertainment!