The Evolution of Online Gambling

Have you ever thought as to what the very first gambling website was like? Ever wondered how the concept of online gambling was developed?

People generally don’t pay attention to these things and simply believe or assume that its presence is a necessity and thus it has remained successful. However, that is not always the case. For the history of gambling, we would have to go back nearly two decades, when the government of Antigua and Barbuda became the first regime to allow online gambling via the free trade and processing act of 1994. This gave rise to the very first online casinos that were launched on a small scale.

A specialty software designed by a company called micro gaming was developed in 1994 to facilitate online casinos. Still in operation, it is considered to be one of the pioneers in the industry and has been renowned for the development of software that is used by a majority of online gambling sites.

The question as to which was the first online gambling website is still under debate. A number of people claim that the first such website was InterCasino. However, this seems very peculiar considering the fact that InterCasino only came online in 1996 whereas the legislation to operate online gambling websites had been passed a long time back ago, back in 1994. It seems doubtful that the first company would enter the market two years down the road. The more probable choice was a website developed by Microgaming, called Gaming Club. The website acquired its licence from Gibraltar and its operation even today.

As the popularity of online casinos started gaining more & more momentum, the Canadian government saw this as an excellent opportunity to venture into a lucrative business. In 1996, the government established the Kahnawake Gaming Commission which was tasked with the sensitive job of monitoring and controlling the online gambling industry. It was a shrewd move by the Canadian government as they had anticipated in advance the boom of online gambling and had taken measure to be in a position to manage the industry.

Back when the industry was still in its nascent stage, the biggest problem it faced was sluggish internet links. As a result, the websites were not able to give a full casino experience in the beginning; however, the improvement in technology helped it to grow with leaps and bounds. Soon, online casinos started becoming more detailed and began offering more and more avenues of entertainment. Four years into its launch, the industry raked in a total of $834.4 million. This was an enormous sum of money in 1998 and that too from a young industry.

The growth of the online industry had led many businesses that were in the gambling industry to try their hand at this new stage. A prime example of this was a website by the name of Intertops, which came online in 1996. The company running Intertops had been in operation for the past two decades, they used to take bets via the telephone. Today, Intertops is one of the leading online gambling websites, with operations in over 180 countries, the website deals with over 4000 bets a day. In the beginning, providing all casino games online proved to be a challenge. A website called Planet Poker came up with a way to run a game of poker between two actual players, however it could not run successfully and was shut down.

Some popular poker rooms in the early days included Poker stars, Party poker and Paradise Poker. The Poker room of party poker became an instant hit and soon became the biggest online poker room. Its parent company, Party Gaming become public in 2005 and is listed on the LSE.

The industry went through a purple patch in 2005, when the government of USA initiated a plan to ban gambling website registered in other countries to operate in the USA. The decision of the court went against the US government and companies were still allowed to operate in USA. No gambling website was charged with any legal lawsuit, however fearing the worst, numerous companies did stop their operations in America and only after some changes to the legislations, did they again start providing their services to US Citizens. Now, people want that Americans should not be allowed to gamble freely and there should be a tax imposed on online gambling, as they believe that it would rekindle the economy.

Recently, the European Union decided that countries that are a part of the EU will be allowed to provide online gambling companies with licenses to operate. The law would also be applicable to countries such as Isle of Man and Gibraltar that come under EU’s jurisdiction.  

It is a testament to the success of online gambling websites that a number of companies have become listed on the stock exchange. Going public reflects their status in the market and shows the confidence people have in these companies. South Africa has adapted the approach of EU and has followed suit.

The world of online gambling continues to expand and reach new heights that were once thought impossible to achieve. New methods of interaction, games and other amenities are introduced on a continuous basis in order to make the online gambling experience as good as the real experience and even better.

What this means is that real world casinos have to bring new dimensions in to their mix of offerings and provide its customers with a unique experience, something which they are cannot experience while they sit at home.

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