Exclusive- Ricardo Magri, from Eightroom, talks with iGaming Brazil during SAGSE

Like the vast majority of affiliates, Eightroom started within a quarter, in 2004. With more mistakes than successes, it acquired customers with few websites of its own and grew in the first years through Orkut communities. Back then, 15 years ago, both the internet and the industry were very different.

Its content network is composed of the main sites related to sports betting, bingo and casino in Brazil. The Uruguayan company is prepared to meet the main needs of an operator that wants to establish itself in the Brazilian market. Marketing campaigns, payment services, customer support and production of exclusive content are some of the services most sought after by its customers.

On the first day of the Exhibition of Equipment Suppliers for the Gaming Industry, SAGSE, through full coverage, iGaming Brazil visited the most representative stands and spoke with our compatriot Ricardo Magri, Commercial Director for Latin America.

Check the interview in full.

iGaming Brazil – Ricardo, we know that Eightroom has been operating in Brazil for 15 years. What did you notice about the evolution of the gaming market during this period, despite the fact that there is still no legislation?

Ricardo Magri – If we think about the total period of time, the evolution was very strong. I haven’t been to Eightroom all this time, but I know the history of the company’s creation, and at the beginning the game offering was very poor. She started by talking about poker, which was one of the modalities that openly began to be noticed by the normal public.

Eightroom went through the transition from online poker as a diversion to the theme of sports betting as its own type of games that brought public opinion a little closer to that thing about casino being prohibited, gambling being prohibited, and over that time saw the first thing that I consider notorious: the maturity of the offer of only poker games for sports betting and then sports betting becoming an almost natural reality, with television advertising, content presented by famous people, presenters, artists, brand ambassadors with famous athletes.

This naturalness that was the sports betting market and then the evolution coming with the pandemic (with the introduction of slots and casinos) that was kind of unthinkable even, in the recent past. This, in fact, was one of the main factors in the evolution of the gaming industry, especially in Brazil, which is the strongest market and the one I know best for being Brazilian, and this was noticed by all companies in the sector, in general, how the game entered the life of the general population, after the digital offer.

iGaming Brazil – Has the first boom already happened in the Brazilian market?

Ricardo Magri – Let’s think that the boom represents an explosion, the first boom has already happened, the first fuse, but there is much more gunpowder there. There’s a lot more ammunition to be consumed, so the fuse has already burst and it’s already effervescent, but there’s still a lot to come and they will have as much explosive power as this first fuse that was over these years.

iGaming Brazil – What is the main characteristic of the contents produced by the company?

Ricardo Magri – The company is known for having the most dedicated content to the game’s ecosystem. They convert well precisely because they are surgical in talking about bingo, casinos, sports betting. They are always looking for a differentiator, and not just being a content portal. We have some assets, calling them that, which are betting schools, practically a course, in partnership with the operator, so it’s not a news portal, it’s not a content site by itself, it’s actually a platform of Education.

With our content and different, and that works very well. On other sites we also have what we call “building a community of players”, opening forums with information, without directing it, leaving these forums open to the public so they can have the discussion they want. This also brings the player a lot closer to the operation, because they attract each other. They engage themselves through their conversation causing them to produce organic content among themselves, stronger than simply publishing an article about the industry. So it is along this line that our content ends up diversifying. It is very broad, with several assets and with the profile of diversifying. In other words, in addition to being many, they have differences between them that are not easily seen in another affiliation company.

iGaming Brasil – Among the readers and viewers who follow Eightroom’s content, do you believe that there has been a change in profile over time with the proximity of the legalization of games and the expansion of this debate? How to talk to this audience that is getting to know the activity now?

Ricardo Magri – This audience is very specialized. I usually say that controlling these forums that I mentioned as an example, which are on our sites, we can practically have a reading, an overview of the user experience of each betting site. You notice that the public has evolved, it knows the average time of registration of a site, for example. So, when they find a site where they expected a facility and it takes 5 days to approve a registration, they complain right away. Especially in problems that affect the user the most, such as payment methods, we notice a greater preparation, a greater power of analysis of them in comparing one operator with another, in knowing what is good and knowing what the public wants.

So, from markets at the odds level, to more technical things, such as withdrawal and deposit problems, our audience is becoming more and more specialist. It is increasingly critical and expert, they understand more and more of the market to the point of pointing the finger at traders when they have something to say. They are very demanding.

iGaming Brazil – Talking about the imminent regulation of games and casinos in Brazil, do you consider it positive?

Ricardo Magri – I consider it positive because I have always sought to work and have worked, including for my personal conduct, in companies that are on the compliance side. We, both at Sportradar and now at Eightroom, look down on the darkest part of the gray market. This sometimes appears to us as a good deal, but it was never something that interested us. Eightroom itself invests a lot in the post-regulation period, in having assets that make sense for the regulated market, we pay attention to these markets, we prepare for a competition that will only happen when that happens, because there are certainly companies similar to ours that they just didn’t come to Brazil because the market is not regulated.

Therefore, this is a moment that we are waiting for, the company’s professionals are aware of this, and that is why the regulation does not scare me, on the contrary, I think it will help me. It will bring operators who have not yet arrived, it will bring marketing media openings that do not yet exist because they are prohibited in unregulated markets, nobler customers, healthier customers… the entire market will be healthier as long as they regulate correctly. If they regulate it wrong, everyone will want to stay on the black market and all companies that provide services to survive will end up tending to the black market. That’s why I hope we have healthy regulation because we are prepared to act in this post-healthy regulation scenario.

iGaming Brazil – And what is your assessment of the approval of the Law on Gaming and Casinos by the Chamber?

Ricardo Magri – I participated more actively in this matter when I was at Sportradar, now I follow it more than I work. I say this because we were part of an agenda at the time, I even went to Brasília, the people from the Treasury Department went to our offices in Europe, etc. I still see it with some confusion, because I really liked the work that was being done by former secretary Gustavo Guimarães, I think this could cause a loss in the process. And there is a fact that catches my attention: the passage of this first stage in the Chamber is a fact that we cannot escape.

I always heard at the turn of the year that they were going to try to pass even this first quarter to give time to complete the approval process by the Executive Branch by the end of the year. I doubted it and honestly I still doubt it. But the first step they actually did. They did it in a special week (Carnival week), not to say in the dead of night, without using a pejorative term, but in an unexpected period, they managed to get through it and I think with that spirit, of trying to make the whole process go forward and be voted on in full before the end of the year. On top of the fact, I give my personal opinion, because beyond that fact, all we have is speculation and personal opinion. I think he would take great strides, and maybe even get voted this year as they imagine if it wasn’t an election year.

As it is an election year, I imagine that if the Bolsonaro government is re-elected, I have a great impression, but a very personal opinion, that he announces it before the end of the year. Because the election is in November, the next day he finds out if he was elected and would already announce it there, before taking office on January 1, on the eve of the World Cup. He will have public opinion engagement in bringing the sport into the middle of the betting and that’s what I imagine will happen. I imagine that this rigging of the Senate and the Federal Government is only complicated now because of the elections and that if the situation remains, they will announce it close to the World Cup. It’s a big bet I make. I was once more skeptical, I bet that none of this would happen, but once it happened and it followed a line of reasoning that was passed on to me, that the lobbies are too well done for it to be approved now, I started to believe a little more in their viability, I just think they are meeting resistance in an unhappy election year, but that they can be happy if the situation remains. Here I do not express political preference, but I want to say that it will change little, there will be less shock, so that the Government would have the necessary calm to announce the approval.

iGaming Brazil – Tell us a little about the company’s expansion plans for the next 5 years. This year 2022 which fairs and events do you want to participate?

Ricardo Magri – This year the company starts a bigger Communication plan with the market, just 5 years old, which started last year, so our goal is 2026. It is an ambitious plan that will make our company have a position very prominent in LATAM. We don’t have any aspirations to be dominant in the world like startups that want to dominate the world when they start to grow.

Our business is LATAM for LATAM. We want to strengthen a strong position that we already have, which is perceived by the market, is perceived by our global competitors (it is difficult to compete with us here in LATAM), so strengthen this position a lot over these 5 years to take advantage of it. This means expansion in other countries: last year we expanded to 4 more regions in addition to Brazil – Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. Some of them are already starting to be very strong like Mexico. Colombia is a very particular regulated market, in which we are starting to invest more. The next is Argentina itself, which has now regulated.

Other Latin American countries are already on our expansion map such as Bolivia, Paraguay, this geographic expansion is a real thing and it has already happened this year, and within these countries to expand the asset base. In Brazil we have a dozen sites, in these others we have a casino and a sports betting site. We are going to increase this content, apply the knowledge we have in Brazil of diversified content that I have already mentioned, to these other geographic regions and grow, maturing our products, take advantage of the regulated markets as I said, to fulfill this 5-year plan and consolidate our dominant position in Latin America in the Affiliate Marketing sector.

iGaming Brazil – You were awarded last year at BiS (Brazilian iGaming Summit) as the Best Sportsbook Affiliate of the year 2021. How was it to receive this award? What does it mean to you?

Ricardo Magri – It is very good to receive recognition. There are always two very important factors, the satisfaction of having your work praised in some way, in an official way, because the award has this representation on a collective opinion of the industry about your work. And the second is an extra credential for you to introduce yourself to those who don’t know you.

I was very happy to go there to receive and even happier when I receive from the organization that awarded us a seal that I can display in my material saying that I am recognized, because in Latin America, investors and foreign groups attach great importance to this type of prizes. So it’s not just talking, but showing, corroborating the credentials that I have, that the market itself has given me and that’s what counts. We received two awards last year and were in very high positions in others as well and we hope to win more awards in the form of recognition later this year 2022. We will participate in BIS, ICE, SIGMA Malta and some SBC events as well.

Our investment was very focused on having a strong first semester to take advantage of the World Cup year with a certain amount of time, so we chose to participate in almost everything that will be in the first semester. Really, Argentina is not our current market, but we are here for the business we can capture in the first half, not necessarily from Argentina today. Planting for Argentina in the future, but also planting what we can do in other regions where we have business because the first semester is a semester of capturing everything from anywhere: we went to Cartagena, we came to Buenos Aires at EGR, we go to ICE, we go to BIS and everything until June, July is practically our obligation to advertise the company.

SAGSE takes place on March 30th and 31st, at the Hilton Hotel, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires Argentina