One of the greatest innovations for human society has been the internet. It has made it possible for everyone to gain access to information, entertainment and opened up opportunities for money-making. Today the world of the internet is even more accessible on smartphones and mobile devices, which has changed the way we work as well as how we game or access different forms of entertainment.
Gambling has found its way into the online world as well. Today, legal casinos make it safe, secure, and convenient to gamble on the web. With the help of trusted online casinos, this industry is on the growth trend every year.
How It Began
The first online gambling sites went live in the mid-nineties. The first regulated sites were those that were registered under the Free Trade and Processing Act. The act was operational for sites that operated out of Barbuda and Antigua islands. The Caribbean nation was then able to provide licenses to businesses that wished to run online casinos. In this way, the online gambling industry began.
One of the first providers in this industry was Micrograming. It soon gained prominence as the leading software provider in this segment. Even today, it holds a leading position in online gambling software and technology even though there are hundreds of brands out there. It is also the first to be a licensed software provider, ensuring fair games at different platforms. They have software regularly audited, as well as ensure that all customer queries are promptly addressed and resolved.
Rise of the Legislature to Support Online Gambling
Even though gambling on the web started off in the mid-nineties, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act or UIGEA was passed in the US in 1996. It made deposition and withdrawal of funds illegal from an online site for gambling in the country. This raised a lot of confusion. It also led to several grey areas in which some sites such as PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker continued to operate. Soon the US states realized that they were losing out on a source of revenue that illegal gambling continued to generate. Soon, one by one, the different states started to pass legislation to enable online gambling in their respective states. This also helped stem the flow of revenue to neighbouring states. Today, most of the US states allow their state residents to gamble on websites that are allowed to operate in those regions.
International Licenses for Online Gambling
Besides state or country-specific legislation that continues to be present or absent in different countries, the international gaming domains gain their licenses from a few major licensing bodies. These include licensing authorities such as Kahnawake, Malta, Curacao, and UKGC gaming commissions. Kahnawake Gaming Commission started off first, in 1996. The body was operated and owned by a Mohawk Indian tribe based out of Canada. With the aid of this gaming commission, many sites were set up. 1996 saw the setting up of about 15 sites for internet gambling. By the year 1997, the industry contained about 200 and more online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites. Annual revenue reached by this worldwide industry was nearly $1 billion that year.
Rise of Online Poker
The first site to offer gambling on the web was through poker games. This was apparent at that time when casinos mostly popularized table games such as poker for real money wagers. Planet Poker was the first to offer this game on the web and was formed in 1998. Other sites in this category that were early starters were PokerStars, PartyPoker, and Paradise Poker. The latter website was launched from Costa Rica in 1999. It soon became the biggest player in this segment. PokerStars is known to have contributed to the boom that online poker saw. It also made satellite poker tournament games popular.
Rise of Slots and Sports Betting
After the initial rise in poker and table games, the advance of gaming software led to the popularity of slots. Soon the casinos offered the easy to spin slot games with variety in themes, gameplay, and return percentages. These were easy to understand and pick-up, enabling new visitors to the casino sites to explore these games. They did not require prior know-how or skills as in poker or Blackjack games.
Sports betting soon came to the web after that. There were several established operators in this domain, such as William Hill, Betfair, which have turned to the web as well.
Not only could people bet on horse races, but all kinds of sports events were also introduced for betting through these portals.