The History of Online Casino
Back in 1994, the world of online casino gaming was a far-off vision for the tech gurus at Microgaming. It was during this year that the company developed the first ever fully-functioning online gambling software. Across the Atlantic, the Free Trade & Processing Act was passed in Antigua & Barbuda leading to a surge of interest in the possibility of an online casino. The act allowed for licences to be granted to companies applying to open casinos online.
In 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established. The commission regulates and monitors gambling activity online, as well as issuing licences to several of the largest online casinos in the world.
Clicks to Coins
The online casino world saw its first major surge in popularity in 1997, with an estimated 200 online gambling websites in operation in comparison to just 15 in 1996. 1998 saw the rise of the online poker room, creating more varied gaming options for the online gambler, and following this, multiplayer online gambling was introduced in 1999.
In the same year, the US government created the Internet Gaming Prohibition Act to restrict the use of online games by US citizens, but the act failed to pass.
By 2000, most households owned or had access to a PC in Europe and the US, and the potential of the internet was just becoming recognised. In this year, the Australian Federal Government passed a law to ban the use of online casinos that did not hold a licence and had been created pre-millennium. This left only one legal gambling site in Australia, Lasseter’s Online. However, this site is unable to take bets from citizens of Australia.
In 2001, it was estimated that around 8 million people had participated in online gambling at some point.
2007 saw the UK Gambling Commission take over from the Gaming Board for Great Britain. The aims of the Commission are to prevent crime in online gambling and to protect children and vulnerable people. The UK Gambling Commission advises the government on issues pertaining to gambling, as well as issuing licences to suitable operators.
In 2008, it was estimated that the worldwide gambling revenue stood at around $21 billion US dollars.
Over the past ten years, online casinos have reached tremendous heights and are more popular than ever. Thanks to major advancements in technology and the surge in smartphone usage, online gamblers are able to access games across multiple platforms, at home or on the go.
In the UK, it was reported that online gambling yielded over £600 billion between April 2010 and March 2011.
Statistics released by the Gambling Commission in 2018 revealed a steady decline of physical betting shops as more and more gamblers head online. With such a vast range of products and possibilities available to the online gamer, it is hardly surprising that 95% of gamblers asked had gambled at home in the past four weeks (Jun 2018).
Online casinos continue to grow and expand across the globe and there are new and innovative games being developed every single day. The prospects look good for the world of online casino, and who knows what developments we can look forward to in the near future.