If you grew up with the internet, or even use it regularly today, you’re probably used to being able to use social media, catch up on the news and even gamble online with just a few clicks of a button. However, the ease of online gambling is relatively new and isn’t yet a reality for many people around the world.
This is an industry which grew from an idea into a multi-billion-dollar industry, adding huge profits to the economy of countries where it’s legalised.
For a live casino UK, you can’t do better than Netbet, which has plenty of different options whether you’re a fan of games dependent on luck or you prefer to use your brain in a game like poker. Even in the UK though, online gambling wasn’t necessarily a given.
The first place open to online gambling was Antigua and Barbuda which made licensing possible for online operators. The software wasn’t exactly great though, so Microgaming stepped up and introduced software that was much faster and easier to use and Cyptologic created software that was encrypted to prevent hacking.
Online gambling began to pick up in 1996, and the first money wager was on Intercasino. It was soon obvious that the industry was going to need some type of regulation though, so the Kahnawake Gaming Commission solved this problem with license and regulation rules for online casinos.
Most people who go to real casinos like to play the slot machines, so Microgaming managed to launch their own online slot machine in 1998 called Cash Splash, and the first ever poker room on the internet wasn’t far away. This was a huge success and online casinos became more and more popular with more than 700 online casinos for players to choose from by 1998.
By 2002, online casinos were pulling in a massive $2.2 billion in revenue per annum, with US players contributing the most profits since online gambling was still relatively new and hadn’t yet been introduced to many countries.
Online casinos continued to make huge profits in the United States until the government clamped down and the US senate came up with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, hitting the industry hugely in the US since it was now illegal for credit card companies and banks to honour transactions made on online gambling sites.
Many international operators packed up and headed abroad to countries with fewer regulations and online gambling revenue hit $21 billion by 2008 since players had more than 865 online casinos to choose from.
In 2011 the US government shut down a number of online gambling sites after it found that they had violated the UIGEA, however many other countries have embraced gambling online, and it continues to grow in new ways, especially websites are mobile friendly as more than $10 billion has been bet by mobile devices and this number looks like it will only grow.