In 1996, the first online casino was opened. It is still in existence today. Many casinos were open in the first years of online gambling (and hundreds more), making this one of the most successful online industries. As you’ll soon see, it wasn’t always easy for the online casino industry to succeed.
There was much opposition to InterCasino’s virtual doors opening in 1996. Anti-gambling and lawmakers lined up to get their shot at online casinos opening. The pieces were there to make the internet casino a reality once the High Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies, passed the “Free Trade and Process Zone Act”. The Division of Gaming was established to issue the first jurisdictional licenses. This allowed potential operators to open their online casinos legally. This is an integral part of the history of online casinos, as we and other large countries refused it.
Since then, licenses have been issued by several jurisdictions around the globe, including Canada, the UK, and many others. However, this list does not include the United States, which refuses to issue licenses.
Many people were sceptical about the first online casinos. It wasn’t easy to send information such as credit card numbers and addresses via the internet. Online casinos were viewed as being run by the mob or shady. Slow connections led to stalled programs, graphics, and a shortage of quality providers for the fledgling industry. This resulted in a lot of stalled platforms.
Enter Microgaming and CryptoLogic, two pioneers in online casino history. CryptoLogic was the first to offer encryption technology to online casinos. This ensured that credit card numbers and other sensitive information were safe from hackers. Microgaming was a pioneer in software development and is still a top provider. They provide high-quality graphics and sound, which were rare back then. DSL and cable modems made it easier to download software faster and with less lag.
The only thing left was to gain trust. This began in 1999. That was the year that Microgaming, to show the honesty of most online casinos, struck an agreement with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s most well-known and honest accounting firms. PWC agreed that it would audit the payout percentages of online casinos to show that they paid large amounts of money, in some cases more than Las Vegas casinos.
All of these developments led to the dawn of the golden age of online casinos in the new millennium. Online casino stocks were the first to be listed. More jurisdictions also came online. The first Progressive Jackpots gave millions of dollars to winners. The business was booming.
Poker soon became a dominant medium on the airwaves, and Poker Rooms were popular. Many Poker Rooms are now affiliated with online casinos. The boom in online Poker Room technology saw the casino industry make billions. Profits are expected to quadruple or even quadruple in 2010 due to the increased popularity of online poker rooms.
There will be more to come about online casino history in the future, unfortunately. Many groups still oppose the industry, and this opposition shows no signs of abating. Senator Jon Kyl from Arizona has introduced numerous bills to close online casinos and make them illegal for US citizens. Or ban US credit cards from being used to fund online gambling.
Despite not being passed, these measures are still being introduced. Despite their popularity, they are unlikely to make significant progress given the current state of affairs. This should mean that online casinos will have more positive stories than legal ones.