Insight: How Juegos Miami proved a winner for Latin American gaming

Insight: How Juegos Miami proved a winner for Latin American gaming

Monday, June 27, 2016 Totally Gaming
Emilio Hank described Juegos Miami as "a great event"

Caliente is backing Juegos Miami to become an annual event on the gaming calendar after hailing the first staging of the event earlier this month.

Emilio Hank, chief executive of Caliente Interactive, was a speaker at the Miami event, and was enthused by the welcome given to it by the global industry.

Hank believes the benefits proved to be numerous, with attendees from across the world able to find out more about the opportunities on offer in Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted, in particular, that many believed online gaming in major market Mexico, where Caliente operates was illegal, but discovered that it is actually, “a 100-per-cent regulated activity – we have a permit and pay gaming taxes”.

“We think a big problem with gaming in Latin America is that it is poorly understood outside of the direct participants,” Hank told “By getting the word out that our market is fully legal, it gives people a higher level of comfort working with serious, regulated operators and it makes it clear that there are bad actors working outside of the law.

“For us, the key to Juegos Miami’s success was being in the same place with key people in the industry from all over Latin America. By spending time with the most active players in the region, including regulators, operators, and suppliers, we’re able to learn about many nuances in the market in a very short time period.

“It was a great event, and we hope that this becomes a major annual get-together, maybe the Latin American ICE, for many years to come.”

Hank’s session at Juegos Miami was a joint presentation with Playtech’s Ilana Klein, with the two executives discussing their companies’ partnership in Mexico. Hank said it was important that attendees understood that while Latin American operators have often struggled to make the move online, Caliente’s record in Mexico shows that success is possible.

“History across the region has taught us that having a well-known brand and transitioning that brand to online is extremely difficult,” Hank said. “More often than not, people have lost a lot of money and time in the process.

“In our case, we think we have succeeded when many others have failed because we did things right and didn’t cut any corners. It’s nearly impossible to work in our market without significantly investing in local infrastructure. By having a historic brand, extensive corporate infrastructure, a top product, and the top people in the industry, we at least have a shot to build a successful business.

“Thankfully in our case, we have been able to succeed so far where others have not. So the audience was very interested in taking our lessons and being able to apply it in their relevant markets.”

As well as educating others as to the opportunities offered in Latin America, Hank added that Caliente was able to use Juegos Miami as a shop window, and he is now aiming to build partnerships with some of the global operators he enjoyed meeting in Florida.

“Just like there are a lot of misconceptions about our market, we think many people also may not know who the major players in each market are,” he said. “In the case of Caliente, we have been a market leader in the land-based side for many years, but as of a couple years ago, Caliente Interactive has also become the market leader in the regulated online space.

“Juegos Miami is a great way to interact with other major companies in the region so that we can continue to grow our company and our presence in the region. Hopefully next year, many more participants that we met this time around will become strategic partners of ours.”


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