Online gambling is a groundbreaking part of the entertainment industry and ever since the 90s the online gambling scene is developing progressively. The technological advances shaped up the birth of online casinos and facilitated massive growth since rolling the dice and traditional casinos. The Internet changed our lives and also the way a lot of industries work and develop. This is one of the most thriving and popular industries that benefited from technological advances and a billion dollar market. It’s everywhere in the world, from the best online casinos in New Zealand to the growing Netherlands.
The history of online gambling is full of ups and downs, a very interesting journey that this article is aiming to depict.
A brief history
The origin moment should definitely be the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Act in Antigua and Barbuda. In 1994 this major event allowed companies to be granted licenses if they wished to provide online casino services. The Caribbean government was the first to legalize and regulate online gambling.
There is another major event this year – the launch of one of the first companies providing internet gambling. The UK company is called Microgaming and developed the first online casino. This became a landmark in the rise of the industry and they are still active and prosperous today.
In 1995 another appearance – CryptoLogic. CryptoLogic changed the way we are dealing with money transfers online and secured a fast and safer process. They were an online security software provider, who also launched InterCasino, one of the oldest online casinos that’s still in the business up to this day.
In the same year, Microgaming announced the release of many traditional games in online: blackjack, poker, roulette. Following up on these events, a new Swedish developer is launched: NetEnt, a developer that proved to be one of the best and most innovative providers that’s also still active today.
All of these milestones set the ground for what was going to be a billion dollar.
Forms of online gambling
From those first steps, online gambling developed massively and is able to offer a large variety of games.
Online gambling in New Zealand and all over the world provide:
- poker in its all forms and other games in the same structure;
- slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other;
- sports betting, novelty betting, in-play betting, bingo, horse racing betting;
Progress and Popularity – A Timeline of Ups and Downs
Needless to say, online gambling grew popular and it was happening fast. If in 1996 there were just 15 gambling websites, the next year there were 200. In 1998 Planet Poker introduced Texas Hold’Em to the internet while the first poker room opens.
Even if it has a strong start, this industry’s journey hit some bumps down the road. 1999 introduced The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act that meant it’s illegal to offer any sort of online gambling product to a U.S. citizen. This did not pass and in contrast, this was the year when multiplayer was introduced so people could gamble and chat with each other at the same time.
In 2000 the Australian Federal Government passed a law (The Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act) that completely banned unlicensed online casinos existent before May 2000. This started a period of struggle with legislation and lawsuit challenges around the world. However, despite the acts of prohibition or implementation of tough laws and regulations, the number of online players continued to grow up to 8 million in 2001 and the number keeps rising. Also, companies stocks rise, huge jackpots are won and as the demand is higher, the industry reaches the value of $4.5 billion in 2002.
Because with popularity comes responsibility, in 2003 is created eCOGRA, an independent standard authority.
As a follow-up battle, the U.S government tried to pursue national broadcasters and media outlets to stop accepting ads for online gambling as this could be illegal. As a fight back, Antigua claims the violation of free trade agreements. These obstacles didn’t stop or even slow down its growth. September 2006 is another landmark in this timeline when there were 2,600 online casinos.
More Innovation and the Future
Technology advances in the past 20 years facilitated the development of online gambling. It became so easy and convenient to access casinos online from your home. When smartphones took over it got even easier, more popular and faster. This growing market began to be supported by government regulations and positive laws that aim to make it safer, such as the UK Gambling Act in 2005. Overseas, the US is banning online gambling in most states but things are starting to change.
The future looks bright with more and more positive regulations, players and features. Juniper Research estimated that around 2021 the online gambling market will reach revenues of $1 Trillion. This Research also showed that mobile phones are a major factor in this huge growth.
Online gambling is here to grow and it sure came a long way from two decades ago. Users can now play online casino games with 3D graphics, live poker rooms and games more realistic than ever, high-quality services and a wide range of games, VR technologies and solid security. And this is just the beginning.