Casino Articles

History of Online Casinos

By: Mario Candolini, Tuesday November 4th 2008
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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. These machines displayed the power of computer processing and computer graphics. 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. In the early 1990s the Internet became widely accessible. Initially it was used as a mode of communication. Individual users could connect to the Internet from their computers and send messages to others similarly connected. But the latent potential of the Internet in other applications was apparent.

The third factor needed for online casinos was a regulatory mechanism. This came about in 1994. The tiny island state of Antigua and Barbuda enacted The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act that permitted it to issue gambling licenses. Thus the first online gambling jurisdiction was born. Under this Act the Directorate of Offshore Gaming was constituted. It is this body that receives applications from licensees, scrutinizes them and grants licenses if the application is found fit. Antigua and Barbuda still remains one of the more popular and respected jurisdictions. This law provided the fillip that was required to create online casinos.

Now that the three important mechanisms were in place all that was required was to string them together. Microgaming was a pioneer in this field. Microgaming, a software provider based in The Isle of Man, was founded in 1994. Microgaming was the first to develop online gaming software. Whereas online games could be played using the software it lacked one vital component needed in a full-fledged online casino. This was the security required to conduct financial transactions over the Internet in a safe manner. This component was provided by Cryptologic, an online security software company founded in Ireland in 1995. It began developing the first eCash applications for online gaming. In fact it was Cryptologic that put the whole package together first and established the first online casino, InterCasino, in 1996.

Since then the online casino industry has not looked back. It is estimated that there were over 2,300 online gambling sites that include online casinos, online poker rooms and online sports betting by 2006 with combined revenue of over $15 billion.

Looking to learn about the history of popular casino game types? If so click on the links below for further details:

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Comment by: burtman On: March 25, 2010
Good article I think it well represents the past of online casinos although I think that you can get a bit more in depth on the subject. In fact if you want more info you should look on wikipedia for such info as I beleive you'll find a lot more especially as the history of online casinos relates to the history of online casino software providers.
Comment by: baneplay On: February 17, 2010
I think that this article should be tied with another that I've seen here on Casino Advisor pertaining to the future of the industry as that's what really matters looking forward at things. I beleive that it's key!
Comment by: Melissa J. On: February 11, 2010
I don't think it's important where we've come from with online casinos. I think it's much more important where we're going :-) look to the future people, lol...
Comment by: Alice B On: January 10, 2010
This is a large amount but whose fault is that the casinos or the bureaucrats that won't permit the online casinos from being able to be regulated and run proper and legitimate operations. I would say that all the blame here can be put on various governments out there.
Comment by: Piyush Rawat On: January 10, 2010
Online Gaming Has taken more then 70 % of landbased market.
Comment by: Sil Mondo On: October 16, 2009
It's good for players to read and understand the history of all the games they play. There really isn't much benefit you can get from it in terms of winning more or anything like that but ultimately it's just good knowledge to have.
Comment by: James Ballthasar On: September 26, 2009
Nice article I didn't really know all that much about the history of online casinos until reading this article and the comments. I know that CasinoOnNet/888 was one of the founding online casinos out there but not the first. I remember back in the day when it was just Microgaming and their Gaming Club brand which was their flagship brand back in the day.
Comment by: Laney B. On: August 10, 2009
One of the first casinos that I remember seeing on the net was Casino on Net which I beleive at one point was re-branded to and is still one of the biggest online casino groups out there. Gaming has grown 10 fold since it first started online. It's really amazing to see how far online poker gaming has come along.
Comment by: Elizabeth On: July 09, 2009
Yeah they're one of the leaders in the world of online casino gaming and the fact that they have the largest library of online casino games of all software providers is also evidence of the fact that they are one of the if not the first gaming company to come to market with an online casino product.
Comment by: Kent Wallace On: June 28, 2009
Ok cool I didn't realize that Microgaming was really the first to hit the market with an online casino product I was always under the assumption that Crytpologic was. I guess it makes sense that Microgaming really helped scrupled the industry as the first to enter the market as their product is far superior to that of most other casino software products out there including Cryptologic's IMO.

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