In what may well be his last conference call as Group CEO of Playtech Plc, Mor Weizer highlighted to investors the firm’s dominance across nascent Latin American markets as the group’s joint-venture partnerships continue to dictate the state of play.
Weizer, who has chosen to freeze his leadership of the FTSE250 technology group to support the takeover by Hong Kong fund TTB Partners led by former company CEO Tom Hall, declared to analysts that Playtech holds the best prospects of any industry incumbent pursuing global growth.
Those prospects, he said, have arisen following an “excellent year in which we have refocused our business, with B2C and B2B units heavily weighted towards online growth and entering emerging markets”.
Whilst 2021 saw Playtech lay the building blocks for its future growth in the US, Weizer outlined the group’s “dominance in Latin America… with excellent growth from Caliente (Mexico) and the continued contribution of WPlay (Colombia)”.
Following its first 18-months servicing Latin American clients, Playtech has long surpassed its medium-term corporate target of €100m in revenues.
CFO Andrew Smith explained the group’s LatAm growth strategy focused on securing localised structured agreements (joint ventures) – in which it had reserved “£63m to pursue strategic initiatives in LatAm, the US and live gaming”.
Underlining its LatAm strategy, Weizer revealed that during the year, Mexican operator Caliente Interactive, a JV in which Playtech maintains 49% equity, became the tech group’s “outright number-1 global customer in 2021”.
He stated: “Our focus in Latin America remains on structured agreements. Caliente in Mexico continues to go from strength-to-strength, and is now our outright global customer.
“The growth of this business is amazing and continues into 2022. Meanwhile, WPlay Colombia has accelerated its growth since its migration to our software. These businesses I have no doubt will be significant contributors to our revenues going forward.”
Further LatAm opportunities are on the horizon, with Playtech having secured structured agreements with TenLot Group to launch in Costa Rica and gain “first-mover advantage in Panama and Guatemala”.
All South American market opportunities, said Weizer, are to be matched with significant multi-million-pound tech investment, in which Playtech is currently constructing a live casino facility in Peru that will mirror its European capacities.
Of significance, Playtech has soft-launched Galerabet (Galera.bet), building its sportsbook provisions in preparation for imminent federal changes to Brazil’s gambling laws.
Should Brazil proceed to legalise online betting – Playtech will target an instant podium place. Said Weizer: “This is an exciting agreement for us. Galerabet is the official sponsor of three major football clubs in Brazil, including the historic Corinthians, and is also the partner of one of the most popular TV channels in Brazil.
“As with others, the Galerabet includes the customary software licence agreement as well as an option on a non-controlling equity stake in the business.”