Online gambling

A Short History of Online Gambling

Online gambling is huge and it’s grown to be the biggest entertainment industry on the web. In just 2 short decades this type of play has become the most popular, with millions of players across the globe flocking to online casinos on a daily basis.

To be fair, online gambling was made possible by the advent of the internet, as without this information super highway they’d be no way of accessing the games. But lets look at when the concept of the very first online casino became a feasible option.

Step Back In Time

In 1994 the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, an island nation, passed a legislation called the Free Trade and Processing Act. This Act was the catalyst for the creation of online casinos and was what triggered the idea of making them a reality, but the available technology wasn’t quite up to standard as yet. The Free Trade and Processing Act did however make it possible for operators to receive a license to provide online gambling services on the Internet.

Software Developments

At the same time as the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act a company called Microgaming was formed in the Isle of Man. Microgaming developed software that was soon to change the face of the gambling industry forever, by taking it online. Microgaming also collaborated with Cryptologic, another gaming company, in order to ensure their software was secure and that provided them with the functionality to process online transactions.

At the very end of 1994, Microgaming went live with Gaming Club, the words first true online casino and one that is still in existence today, albeit a far cry from the rudimentary original version. There are a few other casinos that claim they were first, with Intercasino being one of them, hence why Microgaming says they are the worlds first true online gambling destination. Intercasino was one of the first sites online, but it only opened in early 1996.

Key Players

Microgaming and Cryptologic were the driving force in the online gambling industry at first, but it didn’t take long before other developers and operators emerged. Although technology meant that in many cases the games had some limitations, there was a constant drive to create better, more realistic versions of popular favourites such as Slots, Roulette and Blackjack.

By 1996 the industry was growing fast and the establishment of the Kahnawake gaming Commission in Mohawk territory in Canada caused a surge in online gambling. This territory was allowed to issue casinos with licenses and over the years has become one of the most respected, recognised gaming authorities globally.

In Numbers

In 1996 there were 15 casinos. This grew to more than 200 in 1997 and then it continued to surge upwards ever since. This rapid upwards trajectory saw many operators climb on the band wagon and there were some online gambling establishments that either couldn’t compete, were less than honest or simply just didn’t make it in the industry. By 1998 online casino revenue had soared to more than $830 million, a clear indicator as to just how popular online gambling had become in a very short space of time.