The Evolution of Online Gambling
The popularity of online casinos might make you feel like they existed forever; the fact is, they are a very recent development, going back only to the 1990s.
Their success has increased exponentially due to the incredible developments in technology, and the large demand from players worldwide.
It all began in 1994, in Antigua and Barbuda, when the government passed the Freed Trade and Processing Act, which allowed licensing for online gambling sites.
Also in 1994, the first gambling software company was created: Microgaming, which remains one of the leaders in its field until today. Microgaming created the first online casino in the same year called The Gaming Club; it was quickly followed up by InterCasino with a gambling site in 1996.
That was when Canada realized the immense potential in online gambling; they quickly created the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which could grant licenses to online casinos around the world. The organization was also meant to exercise some sort of control over this new and exciting industry.
The creation of more gambling sites was slow, mostly due to the relative primitiveness of the internet in the 90s. However, there were companies eager to get on the gambling bandwagon, and so new and re-invented gambling sites began popping up. Intertops, a sports betting company that originally opened in 1983 and allowed people to wager bets through their phones, adapted their company to the burgeoning phenomenon of the internet. Today, they have a site that has users in over 180 countries around the world, and over 4000 bets are placed daily!
Poker sites were more difficult to develop in the beginning, since they involved more than one player. The first multi-player Poker site, Planet Poker, opened in 1998 but never really took off. Other early Poker sites were Paradise Poker, PokerStarsand Party Poker. Party Poker became the most popular Poker room in the world, and its parent company, Party Gaming, joined the London Stock Exchange in 2005.
Also in 2005, the United States became frightened of online gambling’s popularity, and sought to ban American citizens from using casino sites from abroad. They were unsuccessful in passing this law; but they did succeed in frightening overseas casino owners, who then closed their sites to Americans for a short while. The scare soon passed; today no online gambling site has ever been charged with letting Americans gamble illegally.
Today, more and more gambling software companies and internet sites are joining worldwide stock exchanges. Online gambling is recognized as a reputable force within the commercial industry, and has challenged owners of real casinos to step up their game in order to compete with their computerized competition.
For some perspective on just how powerful the industry of online gambling is: In 1998, online casino revenue totaled $834.4 million; in 2012, it totaled approximately $419 billion. Yikes! As you can see, online gambling has come a long, long way, and will probably only continue to grow.