History of Online Gambling
Can you imagine a world without Internet? Since its conception, the World Wide Web has become an essential part of our lives, and whether we like it or not, we are largely dependent on it. The Internet changed the way many industries work, and spawned countless new ones. One of the fields that was affected greatly was gambling – we are talking about casino games, sports betting, poker, and the likes of that.
Today, we have literally thousands of online casinos and bookies, and online gambling is a thriving, popular industry. In this article, we will take a look at the events that made this happen. Let’s get started with this not-so-brief history of online gambling!
The History of Online Casinos
If the creation of online casinos can be contributed to just one major event, that would undoubtedly be the passing of the Free Trade & Processing act in Antigua and Barbuda. This law was passed in 1994, and gave the Caribbean nation the power to grant licenses to companies who want to start online casinos. Around the same time, another important event occurred – a software company called Microgaming was established.
They were the people responsible for the creation of the world’s first fully functioning online casino, called The Gaming Club. Even though other companies have made similar claims, Microgaming is probably the company who spearheaded online gambling. They are still active today, and are considered one of the very best in the business.
In 1995, another important player makes an appearance. CryptoLogic are a company that specialises in real money transactions over the Internet. They launched InterCasino – one of the oldest online casinos that still function to this day. CryptoLogic revolutionised the way money transactions work online, making the process fast and safe for players.
The Popularisation of Casino Sites
Soon after the launch of the first online casinos, they became very popular amongst gamblers. Many other casinos emerged, and the field became extremely competitive. Each operator strived to be the biggest and best, and they came up with various schemes in order to attract more customers than their competitors. One of those methods is still used to this day – we are talking about welcome bonuses, of course.
Due to the heavy competition amongst online casinos, the quality of the games and software quickly started increasing. More and more features started being added to the mix, and soon online casinos were all the craze. Things like multiplayer games, themed slot machines, and progressive jackpots were introduced, which made online casinos even more appealing.
One of the exciting new additions to online casinos is the option to play with a live dealer. Modern technologies allow players to watch live streams while playing, thus getting that genuine casino atmosphere that many people miss while playing online. Nowadays, live dealer games are preferred over RNG ones by most gamblers.
The rise of mobile devices made it necessary for online casinos to adapt. As a result, every reputable casino has a version compatible with smartphones, tablets, and the such. This way, players can enjoy their favourite casino games while on the go.
The Origins of Online Sports Betting
Shortly after the popularisation of online casinos, online sports betting followed in its footsteps. The very first website that offered this service was Intertops, which was launched in 1996. Existing bookmakers were quick to create websites of their own, and numerous new companies emerged on the scene. Similar to the situation with casinos, the field of online sports betting was highly competitive, and operators started offering bonuses, free bets, enhanced odds, and other specials, in order to attract more customers.
In 2002, several online bookmakers introduced live betting, allowing their customers to place wagers as the sports event was happening. This became very popular with gamblers, and further boosted the popularity of online betting instead of traditional, land-based bookmakers. Even though the latter still exist and do a very good job, the former is definitely preferred by people worldwide.
Don’t Forget About Online Poker!
Nowadays, online poker is more popular than ever. The whole thing began in 1998, with the launch of Poker Planet – the first website to offer online poker. Due to the low speed of dial-up Internet and other technical problems, the website didn’t always function as intended – but that did not stop players from getting hooked on it. Eventually, better sites emerged, and the industry took off.
In 1999, a new website called Paradise Poker was launched, and it worked like a charm. On top of that, it featured several versions of poker – like Texas Hold’Em, Seven-Card Stud, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, H.O.R.S.E, Five-Card Draw, and 2-7 Triple Draw, to mention but a few. The site became very successful, and attracted many players.
An event that truly changed the landscape of online poker is when a man by the name of Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003, taking home the amazing prize of $2.5 million. He qualified for the tournament by playing a $40 tournament at PokerStars – one of the most popular websites for online poker. When Chris managed to win this awesome reward, everyone started dreaming of achieving the same – which led to a sudden boom in the popularity of online poker.
Online Gambling Is More Popular Than Ever
Today, online casinos, bookies, and poker sites are a major part of the gambling scene. The benefits they have over traditional venues are too many to ignore. The standards are higher than ever, and players have the chance to play outstanding games and win real money. If you are looking to start your own gambling career at an online casino, make sure you pick one from our list of recommended operators. Good luck!