Strendus: "In Mexico, online gambling is now a rapidly growing market"
In an exclusive interview with Yogonet, Lenin Castillo, Online COO of sports betting operator Strendus in Mexico, analyzed the current situation of the local market, its growth after the pandemic, its regulation, and the positioning achieved by the company, which today allows them to analyze their regional expansion.
How would you define the current situation of the online gambling market in Mexico?
It is a market in full growth. Although it has recently opened, it is maturing at an accelerated pace. Mexico is an attractive market, and we see that with the constant arrival of new competitors.
We can say that Mexico is a semi-regulated market, a gray market. However, we can proudly say that we are a company that complies 110% since we implement processes that the local authority does not request, and we help the market, little by little, to be a little more regulated.
Do you consider that the current legal framework is adequate for the efficient development of the online sector, particularly in the sports betting and online casino verticals?
At Strendus, we always seek total compliance with the law, and this has set us apart from the beginning of our operations. We are constantly working on updating everything related to gaming in Mexico, but we know that there is still a long way to go.
Unlike other international markets, do the major land-based gaming companies with operations in the country have a strong presence in the online market today?
We have noticed that having land-based casinos has benefited online casinos, especially in terms of generating confidence for players, knowing that there is a physical place where they can go.
At Strendus, we have a wide variety of contact options, such as 800 phone lines, chat, email, and WhatsApp, in addition to the group's land-based casinos, where they can also be assisted.
What market share has Strendus achieved, and what are your main objectives for 2023?
We are one of the most competitive brands in the market. Our market share is constantly growing and, at times, is maintained despite the entry of other brands.
Among our main objectives, we seek to consolidate our position in Mexico through the growth of our customer base. On the other hand, we have identified other interesting markets and are currently evaluating where we can expand our borders. We know that we have an internationally competitive product, and we have a team of professionals capable of achieving this.
What differences do you find between in-person and online gaming customers?
We know that more and more people are playing in both worlds. As in most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the acceleration of what we call 'digitization,' and this empowered the digital markets.
The gaming experience between in-person and online is very different, and, as such, we see them not as substitutes but as complementary products.
Visiting a physical casino fosters physical interaction, and the offer of food and beverages, among other activities, is enjoyed, but there is a limiting factor which is the time since, at some point, the player has to leave for home, work, or any other commitment. Hence, he can extend his fun wherever he goes. That is where Strendus comes in and provides that entertainment. And the moments of entertainment are many: at home resting, on vacation, in a queue, when one is waiting for something (medical appointment, public transport, at the airport, at a table in a restaurant, among others)
Although there are challenges in both formats and we are experts, in the land-based segment, it is necessary to pay attention to details since a consumer uses his or her five senses to evaluate the entire experience, unlike the online experience, where different factors come into play.
In both formats, our strength and brand differentiator is customer service.
Are they the same public that chooses one or the other option, or are they (as some claim) two different universes of customers who must also be approached from different offers and perspectives?
It is a combination of both. On the one hand, it is the same public that receives similar offers. We have many games that are both land-based and online casinos. And this type of player is the one that already has a perfectly-identified game option, and they are their favorites to enjoy.
But on the other hand, we know that we must know each client very well in order to offer something very particular. This is more viable through the online casino, and at Strendus, we bet on personalization to be able to generate that emotional bond between the player and Strendus.
We want each person to receive what they are looking for according to their tastes, budget, available time, and preferences.
We have many "buyer personas" that share passion points. It is not a world where everything is black and white; there is also a mix of these colors, where they are looking for the digital and the physical.
Have you noticed a generational shift in your customers, moving the focus from the physical venue to the cell phone when it comes to gaming?
Definitely, each generation has its own characteristics, whereas the previous ones had to adapt, and for the most recent ones, technology is already part of their lives since they were little.
It is clear that the Zeta and Millennial generations, people born between 1994 and 2010, 1981 and 1995, respectively, are the ones that could feel more comfortable in this type of entertainment.
This generation witnessed the arrival of the Internet at home and the accessibility of technology through smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and that is why they have a certain preference for this type of format.
However, we have noticed that nowadays, everyone has access to smartphones and is able to use them.
I think the generation gap has been closing, technologically speaking. At Strendus, we have gamers from 18 years old to senior citizens. There are games, sports, and board games for all tastes.
How has the Strendus Universe program, aimed at building loyalty among your online customers in Mexico, performed since its launch at the end of last year?
We are very happy, as the launch has been a success. More and more players are accumulating Strendus Coins and redeeming them for bonuses to continue enjoying their favorite games, among other options.
Besides, we see Strendus Universe as something that's 'alive' in the sense that we will always have more and better things inside the Universe.