How Online Casino Gambling has Evolved

For many of us, gambling online is just a few clicks away. But this wasn’t always the case. What is now a multi-billion dollar industry was once just a few websites in a few countries, making online gambling one of the fastest growing and least represented industries around.

For a good example of just how far the industry has come, visit Netbet, where you can play a wide variety of games- some of which you could previously only find in a casino, and some which are far more fun and interesting than anything you’ll find in Las Vegas.

Antigua and Barbuda were the first places to allow online gambling, making it possible for operators to get licensed. Microgaming followed up with gambling software and Cyptologic joined in shortly after, protecting players with encrypted software in 195, and ensuring that bank accounts couldn’t be hacked.


By 1996 online gambling was increasing in popularity, and Intercasino had the first ever money wager. Like any industry, the online gaming industry needed regulation, so the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was formed so that online casinos could be licensed and regulated. It can still be confusing what to look for in a legitimate gambling website. Varsity have a useful article that helps you figure out how to stay safe while enjoying all the fun gambling can provide.

Slot machines are among some of the most popular methods of gambling in real casinos, so Microgaming launched their own online slot jackpot named Cash Splash in 1998, and followed it up with the first ever internet poker room. Online gambling then exploded, and by the end of 1998 there were over 700 online casinos available where players could bet and win real money.

The next four years were a period of huge growth, and online casinos were making $2.2 billion each year by 2002. US players contributed the most towards this number since online betting still hadn’t been legalised in many countries around the world, although two territories in the UK offered licenses in 2001.

It seemed like the fun (and money) would never end, and gambling online peaked in 2005 when the UK gambling act allowed legalised gambling legislation. In 2006 the US introduced the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which hit the online gambling industry hard in the US and made it illegal for both banks and credit card companies to process any transactions made on these gambling sites and forced many international operators to seek out better shores abroad.


By 2008, international revenue for online gambling had hit a huge $21 billion, and by 2010 players could choose from more than 865 different online casinos.

The US government targeted a number of gambling sites in 2011 after finding that they had violated the UIGEA, and while this looked bad for the industry in the United States, the industry was still growing in leaps and bounds abroad.

So where will the industry go from here? The last few years have seen a huge shift towards gambling on mobile devices, with an estimated $10 billion bet through iPads, tablets and mobile phones internationally, and 85 countries have legalised online gambling, making it an extremely profitable industry.