Gonzalo Perez: I am proud of what we have managed to do in recent years at Apuesta Total
This time we interview the CEO & Partner at ApuestaTotal, Gonzalo Perez. From reading the interview, you’ll find out, among other things, how ApuestaTotal has become one of the leaders in the Peruwian market in the last five years, has undergone a digital transformation, and what according to Gonzalo Perez is needed to succeed in the difficult gambling industry. We also talked about the changing regulations in the Brazilian market.
What was your main source of inspiration and motivation to get involved in the sports betting and casino gaming industry in Latin America?
It was in the year 2016 when I started operating bars and, along with them, sports betting. I found myself in a fascinating world because it involved one of my great passions: football, and on the other hand, an unknown product like sports betting that was beginning to gain popularity.
I felt very motivated because I saw many opportunities to improve things to make customers feel comfortable. To achieve this, I spent many hours at the points of sale to learn about their habits and customs and to understand the functioning comprehensively.
Experience the key to success?
In these 7 years involved in the industry, there were different moments when I felt very comfortable being part of the sector, including the strong camaraderie I found among competitors, with whom I have engaging conversations due to our membership in APADELA.
On the other hand, the networking events at various gatherings, where I have not only done business but also built friendships with many people that I’m sure will endure over time.
I feel that during this time, we have built a company that aims to be a benchmark of excellence in the entertainment industry and to change any lingering perception that might exist about our industry. To achieve this, we strive to comply with all current regulations in every aspect, from labor to anti-money laundering measures, personal data handling, and anti-corruption protocols.
Internally among the employees, I believe that participatory leadership is one of the main and natural characteristics, where we seek to involve the team members in decision-making processes.
Could you share key moments and challenges you had to face to achieve success and strengthen Apuesta Total’s position in the market?
When I joined Apuesta Total in February of 2018, the situation was challenging because its debts significantly outweighed its income. It was a small company primarily focused on the retail channel, with a practically nonexistent digital presence. This raised doubts about the company’s sustainability and continuity.
Today, 5 years later and after overcoming a pandemic, I am pleased to see that we successfully met this challenge. I can proudly say that we are one of the leaders of a very competitive market, we have more than 800 stores nationwide and we directly employ over 2,400 people. Undoubtedly, this was one of the greatest challenges I had to take on, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the team I lead.
The sports betting and casino gaming industry is dynamic and competitive. What strategies does Apuesta Total use to stay ahead and meet customer demands?
Our focus on customer relationships involves continuous improvement in the experience across all touchpoints, including our 800 stores, our website, and through our “tele-services” channel.
One of the aspects that our customers value the most is the variety of payment and withdrawal options. We offer bank transfers, deposits through Pago Efectivo, Safetypay, Astropay, and virtual wallets like Yape. The significant differentiator is our “tele-services” channel, which allows playing and cashing out 24/7 through messaging applications like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram, with various efficient options for our customers.
What do you think about countries like Brazil being in the process of regulating sports betting?
We are in favor of regulation, with clear rules that allow fair competition among betting operators. Additionally, this provides a legal framework for market formalization, penalizing informal operators and enabling global operators to invest, given the necessary legal stability for entering new markets.
In the case of Brazil, the so-called Provisional Measure (MP) recently came into effect, although it still requires legislative review. This is a step towards the formalization of the Brazilian market.
However, we believe that it’s crucial to incorporate all voices in shaping the law, including public and private institutions, operators, companies, and suppliers. We experienced this situation in Peru, where the first law was approved with almost no opinion of the operators and therefore a second law was necessary to amend the first one.
What are the main goals and development plans of Apuesta Total for the coming years? Are you planning to expand into new markets or introduce innovative products?
Expanding into other markets and countries is always a constant motivation. We are taking the initial steps in that direction and hope to make the corresponding announcements very soon.