Why Mexico is the leading gaming market in Latin America


News broke in May 2021 that one of the biggest commercial players in the online gaming industry (Entain, formerly GVC Holdings) was setting its sights on Mexico for expansion – a clear sign that the region could well become a hotspot for the industry in the foreseeable future. A report from around the same time by market and consumer data analysts Statista found that Mexico had become Latin America’s frontrunner in the video gaming market, generating approximately USD$1.9bn (the runner-up was Brazil, with $1.75bn).

These developments have prompted industry experts to conclude that Latin America has become one of the fastest-growing gaming markets on the planet, with Mexico leading the way.

A closer look at the data suggests that the lion’s share of this bumper revenue in Mexico – around 85% of it – came from the sale of conventional gaming consoles, although 77% gamers in the country report that they usually buy in-game purchases, too. But deeper studies into the Mexican gaming market found that 65% of men and 60% of women prefer to use their smartphones to play online games (the figures for PC came in at 47% and 41% respectively). Mobile gaming, in other words, has become something of a trailblazer for the vigorous growth of online gaming in the country.

Online casino games, as elsewhere, are gaining in popularity strongly – a phenomenon that was almost certainly catalyzed by the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, which seem to have driven millions of people toward the online gaming world to escape boredom and anxiety in the depths of the pandemic.

A word of caution might be apposite here, especially for newcomers to the genre. A wise option for rookie gamers interested in casino games is to select their websites carefully, a task which has been simplified by a specialist aggregator and review sites like Casino Passport which will identify the most trusted sites (and review the games on offer).

The pandemic alone, however, doesn’t fully explain the surge in popularity for online gaming in Mexico, nor the interest in the country shown by big names in the sector like Entain (Cracken Esports arrived in the country in 2019). Behind the scenes, the country (and Latin America more broadly) has been making immense improvements to the infrastructure for online gaming. And that infrastructure isn’t confined to the digital distribution networks needed to deliver online games to devices across the country. It includes the legal infrastructure, too.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Mexico has been going out of its way to attract investment from online gaming big names not only through its technological infrastructure development but, perhaps just as importantly, in the form of friendly legislation. The country has permitted online gambling from authorized providers for some time now, a policy that’s regulated at the federal level. By contrast, Brazil, despite its “runner up” status” is behind the curve on this issue, with gambling having remained illegal since the Second World War, save for one state-owned bookmaker.

But as Mexico’s success in the field gathers momentum, Brazil’s longstanding reserve on this issue could well be about to change in the near future.

The Mazatlan Post