If you spend a lot of time online, it would be easy to assume that online gaming has long just been a part of life. In fact, the industry has had plenty of ups and downs over the years, and continues to fight to be allowed in numerous countries around the world.
Some countries see it as an excellent way to increase revenue, while others think it should remain illegal. One thing is for sure though, online gambling is here to stay.
Like many industries, gambling has been greatly impacted by the internet and is now worth billions each year online. With so many websites to choose from, players can experience exciting games online and choose from a variety of different games.
Online gaming first began in Antigua and Barbuda, which allowed enterprising operators to get licenses to provide online gambling. The first gambling software was developed by Microgaming and it was quickly evident that better security was necessary, so Cyptologic developed encryption protocols, ensuring that those who wanted to gamble online would be safe from hackers in 1995. Hard to believe that online gaming only started slightly over 20 years ago right?
The first money wager was in 1996, and it was soon decided that online gambling needed to be regulated. This led to the formation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission which licensed and regulated casinos online. Microgaming had the first internet poker room in 1998, and the first slot jackpot was launched in the same year. Online gambling took off and there were soon more than 700 casinos being regularly visited by late 1998.
The next four years saw huge growth in the industry, and by 2002 these online casinos were bringing home the figurative bacon with more than $2.2 billion each year. US players were the biggest contributors and contributed two thirds of this revenue, but this wasn’t to last. The UK had the most liberal legislation available in Europe at the time, but 2006 was the year of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and it seemed that the fun online gambling times in the US were about to end.
The act prevented banks and credit card companies from processing financial transactions that were made on these online gambling sites, effectively shutting down the industry. That led to may international operators leaving the US market and moving to countries with less regulation.
By 2008, it was estimated that online gambling was bringing in $21 billion of revenue globally, with more than 865 online casinos for players to choose from by 2010.
The US government flexed its muscles in 2011, shutting down Poker Stars, Cereus and Full Tilt Poker for violating the UIGEA.
The industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds, with players from around the world enjoying the chance to bet on sports, play fun games, and even win big.