The History Of Online Gambling
From a small nation in the Caribbean to an industry that covers every corner of the world and is worth tens of billions of dollars.
Online gambling is now a huge industry that covers the entire world and includes countless operators, online casinos and players. However, it was not always as big and the beginnings were actually quite modest. It took decades for the industry to reach this size and there are many factors to thank for its growth.
The story begins all the way back in 1994. This is when the first online gambling jurisdiction first became available and it happened in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The change in regulation legalized online casinos and so operators could get their license for providing online gambling options on the internet.
It is important to keep in mind that online gaming was at a very early stage at this point and the internet was just picking up momentum. As a result, it took a bit to get everything settled and online casinos first required a dedicated software developer that would create the games. Microgaming was launched in 1994 as the first provider of gambling software.
With the games available, the next problem that needed to be solved was online security. This is where Cryptologic came in and provided safe transactions starting from 1995. The improved system allowed Microgaming to launch the first online casino for real money in October that year.
Actually getting the ball rolling took a bit of time as the first real money bet placed on casino games on the internet didn’t take place until 1996. It happed at InterCasino, which was offering a total of 18 games.
By the year 1998, online casino games became very popular and Microgaming saw it as the perfect opportunity to launch the first ever online progressive slot. Cash Splash followed the concept seen in big casinos, where bets placed on a certain game contribute in some part to the growth of a jackpot that can be won at any point. Online poker joined the industry in the same year and by the time 2000 came along, more than 700 internet casinos were on the market.
More jurisdictions started focusing on online gambling and allowed operators to get their licenses. The growth continued at an impressive pace by the end of 2005, culminating with the UK regulations that provided a lot of freedom in the country for online gambling.
However, in 2006, things took a turn for the worse with the UIGEA passing in the United States and basically making it illegal for players to get their money through banks in order to bet online.
While the industry grew in Europe and in other markets, the US government was determined to prevent it across the nation and even banned several big brands in 2011.
Over the next few years, the industry got even bigger and the mobile boom helped a lot. Now, it is worth billions of dollars in revenue.