The internet has now become a large part of the lives of millions of people all over the world. In the modern world, the idea of life without the internet is an almost unthinkable prospect. There’s a whole generation of people that have never known a time when the web didn’t exist.
As soon as the technology became available, a number of casino operators raced to the forefront, bringing us online casinos, sports books, and even poker sites.
There are many gambling sites on the internet today. The origin of online casinos can be traced to three different processes. One is gaming software. From the mid 1970s gaming software began to make its presence felt in land casinos. Slots machines based on computer software began to replace the electromechanical slots. Software for blackjack strategy had been developed by professional card counters in the 1970s. Software for gambling games was the first piece of the jigsaw puzzle to be perfected.
What was missing was a mechanism for different computers to connect to a nodal server and use the gaming applications stored on that server. This problem was solved with the coming of age of the Internet.
The first form of gambling over the internet to really take off was online casinos. In the same year that Antigua and Barbuda passed its Free Trade & Process act, 1994, a company called Microgaming was formed. This company claims to have been the very first to provide a fully functional real money online casino, The Gaming Club. Other companies have made similar claims and it is difficult to verify exactly who did come first.
Microgaming is still in business and considered to be one of the most trusted software providers to the internet gaming industry. Their software currently supports all types of online gaming sites from casinos to poker rooms and everything in between. It is also thought that Microgaming partnered with another company, CryptoLogic, to help create the ability for safe and secure online financial transactions.
The next major development in the online gambling world was probably the establishment of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, in Canada. This was actually a Mohawk Indian tribal commission that was established to issue gaming licenses.
The first online casino was also opened in this same year of 1996. Those familiar with the online casinos today would probably be disappointed with what was on offer back in the 90s. The range of available games was fairly limited and the software was nowhere near as functional as modern online casinos. Considering it was new technology though, it was still impressive stuff. As more and more companies started to get involved, the number of casino sites grew and over time they developed to become far more advanced.
Throughout the late 1990’s, the popularity of online gambling began to explode. No matter who you think was the first to make it to the web, by the end of 1996 there were approximately 15 similar sites. By 1997, this has exploded to more than 200 online casinos. Revenues from this surging industry also reached more than $830 million just in 1998.
The market became very competitive very quickly, with many operators trying to become the biggest and best. Big bonuses for new customers became commonplace and many casinos introduced loyalty schemes for their regular customers. The overall standard of the software available was almost constantly improving and additional features were frequently being added.
Progressive jackpots, themed slots, and multiplayer games were just a few of the things that really helped online casinos to grow in popularity. There were, somewhat naturally, people that were reluctant to play though, fearing that the online games could be manipulated in some way and would not give fair results.