Online Gambling: Then and Now

Online gambling has a very interesting history. It did not appear and became popular in an instant. The evolution of gambling can be traced back to the early 1990s.

It was the beginning of the internet era when people got interested in adopting gambling platforms online. But, what is more surprising is that the first country to ever legalize online gambling is Antigua and Barbuda. A famous tourist spot at the Caribbean, this nation passed the Freed Trade and Processing Act to extend licenses to online casinos in 1994. Thereafter, small time gambling websites and applications proliferated.

That same year, Microgaming, a gambling software provider was founded. Ever since its inception, it has been a favorite supplier by online casino websites for the software and applications needs. The company survived the competition and has thrived in the industry well. In fact, they are still operating up to this day.

After identifying the early game-changers in the online casino gaming industry, the discussion goes to which is the first online gambling site formed. A lot of people think it is InterCasino. The company built an online casino in 1996. If you get more critical of it, 1996 is a bit too late when there was a law that allows online gambling two years earlier. The more likely option would be Microgaming’s Gaming Club. It is still operating at the moment and carries license from Gibraltar.

Joining the bandwagon in 1996 is Canada. The North American country realized that online casino gambling is gaining traction and that it is predicted to generate surmountable amount of revenue if taken cared of accordingly. They established a body that issues gambling licenses not limited to Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. Canada went on to form Kahnawake Gaming Commission to control and oversee online gambling.

The online gaming industry seems to be on a roll. The only thing that somewhat stalled its growth back in the day was the sluggish internet connection. However, this has not made significant impact in terms of revenues. The operators and providers continue to advance their platforms in order to bring variety and options to players. In 1998, it was recorded that the entire online gambling industry reaped a total of $834.4 million in profit. This is huge for something that has just started less than five years ago.

Adaptation becomes a cornerstone for some online gambling sites. They were once the usual platforms that cater to gambling activities. With the internet boom, they have tried reinventing to go with the trend. Intertops is one of the more successful in this endeavour. It is an online Sportsbook launched in 1996. It has been in the business since the early 1980s. They initially used phones in order for players to place bets. They keep on growing and still intact today. In fact, they have more than 4,000 sports wagers in a day and is now servicing online gambling fanatics in over 180 nations. Developing poker into a mainstream online casino game became a challenge at the onset since it requires more involvement and connectivity between players. Planet Poker was one of the early developers of the game in 1998. Growth experienced a plateau for this company thereafter.  

Poker platforms soon caught the attention of organizations to create poker rooms. Party Poker, a subsidiary of Party Gaming, became the largest online poker room worldwide. Party Gaming was publicly listed at the London Stock Exchange sometime in 2005.

The United State’s government filed a case to discontinue and completely ban cross-border gambling in the country in 2005. They wanted to sanction foreign countries that offer online gambling services to U.S. citizens. The courts did not see any substantial reason for this argument and favored Antigua over U.S. It was not turned into law, but, other countries became more hesitant in extending their platforms to U.S. citizens in fear of being caught in between legal and illegal. Since then, no online casino gaming provider has been charged with any crime. However, many think that this type of gambling should also be taxed, which can eventually boost the economy.

Just recently, the European Union nodded a resolution that allows European nationes to issue licenses to online gambling sites. This includes Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.

As time passes by, more and more online gambling companies have enlisted with the stock exchange. This is a testament that the industry is getting stronger as market grows bigger. South Africa has also joined the European Union in endorsing and empowering online gambling.

The internet has vastly contributed to the growth of the online gambling industry. It made platforms easily accessible to anyone online. Today, even in countries were early form of gambling were barred, online gambling is being supported.

While this paints sunshine in the online gambling market, the real and physical casinos have to catch up. There may have been enthusiasts that could not resist going to casinos to play. But, many are getting hooked to the online version. They are little by little stealing the show.

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