The online gambling industry is setting important milestones every year and attracts far more new players than land-based casinos. It came a long way since its humble beginnings and few remember how the first Internet casinos of the 90s looked like. The technologies used back in the day were rudimentary and players had limited choices in terms of games and betting options. Having said this, modern punters owe a great deal to the efforts of those casinos and the players who took a leap of faith with them.
The First Online Casino Opens in 1996
Prohibitive laws prevent players from certain countries from gambling online today and many choose to take their chances with unlicensed casinos. Surprisingly enough, in the mid-90s, Antigua and Barbuda started the licensing process even before online casinos were created. The tiny nation had a clear vision of what Internet gambling could become and was the first to create the legal environment for players to enjoy the games. The Free Trade and Processing Act represented a huge moment for online gaming.
It took two more years for the first casino to open shop, as InterCasino greeted its first customers in 1996. This was the first online casino to allow players to sign up for an account, make a deposit and bet real currency. Although the number of players who joined was relatively small, it was a major achievement for the fledgeling casino. Over the next years, the number of Internet gambling operators increased, with European regulators and the Mohawk Territory Kahnawake Gaming Commission providing the licenses.
Microgaming and NetEnt Join the Fray
Online slot sites that can be seen at this website set another important milestone in the late 90s, when Microgaming and NetEnt expanded their collections of games. These emerged as the main suppliers for the top operators, as well as many of the newcomers. Some casinos decided to expand their scope and provide sports betting and poker games, with Planet Poker being a shining example. Even though the industry was steadily growing, many people were reluctant to sign up, as they were afraid of being cheated. The founding of eCOGRA in 2003 helped put many of these concerns to rest, and the company began certifying games for fairness.
The early 2000s were great years for online gambling in general and the North American market also thrived. Everything changed for the worse in 2006 when the UIGEA passed and almost crushed the US market. Some casinos applied for a license issued by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Canada, but most chose to simply leave the US. Internet gambling is still largely prohibited in the US, but steps are being taken in the right direction. Online gambling bills garner more support and several US states have already legalized this recreational activity.
Online casinos came a long way since the first one was founded more than two decades ago and today they dominate the gambling landscape. They had to overcome a lot of adversity but in the end, the unmatched convenience and undeniable perks helped them prevail over land-based gambling.