The Evolution of Online Gambling
The casino world was not always like this. It was not always flashy, colourful and glitzy. People don’t ever imagine what was it like in the beginning, how did it all start, who started it, who thought about it.
Such questions are never asked, people take things for granted without appreciating the hard work that has gone into making things. The start of online gambling can be traced back to the early 1990s when the government of Antigua and Barbuda was the initial government to permit online casinos. This permit was documented through the free trade and processing act of 1994.
To facilitate online gambling, a company called Microgaming developed a tailor-made software in 1994 which became the benchmark for the industry. Even today, Microgaming is known to be the pioneer in the field on casino software and their softwares are used in major websites.
One thing still puzzles historians and that is, which was the very first website to offer online gambling services? Popular accounts point towards InterCasino, but this is considered to be doubtful based on the fact that it was launched in 1996, whereas the first law which allowed the operations of online gambling websites was passed way back in 1994. It is odd to consider that no company took the initiative to launch a website for two years. A possible and more comprehensible candidate is Gaming Club, a website designed by Microgaming. Gaming club is operational even today and it acquired its license from Gibraltar.
The potential and impending popularity of online gambling websites was first spotted by the government of Canada, which made sure that it had measures in place for when the time comes that the industry finally peaked. As a result, the Canadian government established the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in 1996. The commission was to monitor and control the online casino industry. The commission was also given the authority to issue gambling licenses for the residents of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake as well as through the rest of the world.
It is a widely held belief that if Internet technology was the same twenty years back as it is today, then the online gambling industry would have achieved so much more. What stopped the industry flourishing during its early days were dawdling internet connections that restricted these websites from developing a proper casino experience. As time went by and technology improved, the industry gained more and more momentum and grew even more. Even after all these problems, the online casino industry made $834.4 Million in just the fourth year of operations.
The boom of the online gambling industry enticed a lot of existing players to venture into this new avenue. The most successful example in this case has been Intertops, a website that went online in 1996. The firm behind this website had its gambling operations in place since 1983, when bets were placed by the telephone. Fast-forward 18 years and Intertops has become a global website spread across 180 countries, taking 4000 bets per day. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, games such as poker were difficult to convert online, although a website by the name of Planet Poker did manage to come up with a way in which two people could play poker against each other, however it could not replicate the success of Intertops and was soon closed down.
A few of the admired poker rooms in the started period included Party poker, Paradise Poker and Poker stars. The Poker room of party poker became an immediate success and quickly turn out to be the leading online poker room. Its company operating this room was so successful that in went public by listing on the LSE in 2005.
The online casino industry went through a period of uncertainty in 2005, when USA’s government decided to impose a ban on foreign countries, providing gambling services to the citizens of the United States. The court however, overruled this step and no company was charged. But still due to the prevailing uncertain environment, a number of online gambling companies closed their businesses in the US. It took a few changes in the law to provide confidence to the gambling companies and slowly and gradually they began to resume operations in US. Some social minded people feel that the online gambling industry should be taxed and US citizens should be made to pay for this mode of entertainment. They also argue that this way the failing economy would get a much needed boost.
Another milestone for online casinos can be seen by the step taken by the EU to allow licenses to online gambling companies to operate. It even includes states such as Gibraltar that come under the rule of the European Union.
To gauge the success that online casinos have achieved in a very short time, you just have to see the number of companies that have gone public. It is remarkable to see that most of them achieved this feat in a very short span of time. Also note-worthy are the step taken by the South African government that are essentially the same as those taken by the EU.
The online casino industry has grown by leaps and bounds and it is still growing at a tremendous pace. New technologies and initiatives are pushing the online gambling world to its boundaries, so much so that they are now challenging the real world casinos with their offerings, ambiance and games.
The rise of online casinos and the pace of their advancement have opened a new Pandora box for actual casinos. They now need to come up with new ways to WOW their customers and ensure that the attraction of real casinos does not fade away.