It may be easy to assume that gambling online was always a simple matter of logging onto your computer and visiting a casino site, however this is not the case.
While there’s little question that some entrepreneurial and tech-savvy folks were keen to get the whole online casino industry up and running as quickly as they could, they had to deal with years of rules and regulations from countries around the world to make it happen.
Today, you can play a variety of games online, from blackjack to poker, to slots, and many more. There are even top Irish casinos that have websites online, meaning you don’t even need to leave your house to have the chance to play your favourite games and win big.
Operators first began to apply for licenses in Barbuda and Antigua for online casinos, as this was the first place where they could legally get licensed. Microgaming decided to get in on this goldmine, and developed the internet’s first ever gambling software. Of course, it wasn’t enough to just develop software to allow people to play, and players wanted to be sure that their bank information and cash was safe, so encryption protocols were developed by Cyptologic, ensuring that credit cards and bank accounts were protected on these gaming websites.
In 1996, the first ever money wager happened, and this led to the formation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, as people realised the industry would need some regulations and licensing.
In 1998, Microgaming released Cash Splash, which was the first ever slot game online, and quickly followed it up with a poker room online. As more and more people heard that they could place these bets online there were 700 online casinos by the end of 1998, and the industry was generating more than US$2.2 billion every year.
It probably won’t surprise many people to learn that the United States contributed the vast majority of these earnings, with two thirds of gamblers identifying as Americans. In 2001 the UK joined the party, and the UK Gambling Act was also introduced in 2005, which allowed citizens of the United Kingdom to make the most of the word’s most liberal legislation for gambling online.
While the UK was progressing towards a free and open online gambling market, the United States was doing the opposite. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act made a lot of people upset when it was introduced in 2006, as it made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process any transactions that were made on websites that were online casinos. Many international operators pulled out as a result.
By 2008, the industry was raking in more than $21 billion every year, and by 2010 there were more than 865 casinos online. Today, online gambling continues to be a popular activity, and people around the world have won massive jackpots, some of them even with free credit offered by online casinos.