A market boom in Brazil’s online gambling has seen heavyweight operators DraftKings and MGM Resorts explore entry into the country.

South America’s largest economy is one of the fastest-growing regions on the planet for many industries and is particularly appealing to investors.

Brazil is at the forefront of a regional gambling boom following numerous legalizations. Since laws were relaxed in 2018, the 200-million strong population have become a top ten global betting market.

Experts now expect further growth, with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signing another round of legislation including license fees and other regulatory framework.

US-based online fantasy sports operator DraftKings is among the more than 130 companies to pre-register an interest in a Brazilian license.

Also on the list are MGM and Hard Rock International, which is owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe.

Operators Look Forward To Brazil Online Gambling Market

Griffin Finan, senior vice president and deputy general counsel for DraftKings, discussed the Brazilian market in an email statement.

He said: “We are excited to see Brazil pass online gaming legislation, and as one of over 100 companies who submitted non-binding expressions of interest, we are continuing to explore the potential of expanding into Brazil in the future.”

Meanwhile, MGM confirmed its interest in February. Chief Executive Officer Bill Hornbuckle discussed the possibility of expan ding into Brazil during an earnings call in Las Vegas.

Hornbuckle said: “Brazil is going to put Internet gaming in play for both casino and sports betting, and we plan to be there when that launches.”

Brazilian Boom May Damage Smaller Firms

While the explosion of the Brazilian market has seen some big hitters move in, it may spell the end for numerous smaller operators.

New laws require companies to pay up to 30 million reais ($5.9m) for a license, which could need renewing every five years.

Furthermore, taxes of 12% on gross gaming revenue may be too high for even the best-run of the 1,000 or so smaller gaming operators in the country.

Darwin Henrique is CEO of one such operator, Esportes da Sorte.

He said: “There are many serious players that will not be able to pay for this license.”

While there are fears that many of those who started the Brazil online gambling boom may not see its benefits, Enrique says his firm and others won’t go quietly.

“We are not afraid of competition, because we know the work we do,” he added.

“Brazil has many particularities, and Brazilian gamblers are different from the foreign gambler.”