The Timeline of Online Gambling
So much has changed over the years in this industry, which starts counting its days and years in 1994. By using this chronological timeline, you will be able to follow the great progress which the online gambling industry has gone through.
Creation of Microgaming
Gambling, casinos, casino games and wagering have existed for thousands of years. But it was this year that Microgaming, the first online gambling software provider, was founded and the entire industry started rolling. Microgaming remains one of the industry's leaders to this day.
Microgaming is created in the start of a new industry, an industry which the company will help shape and develop over decades. The creation of Microgaming came from the need of an online gambling software provider which would help power online casinos in different jurisdictions around the world. While gambling was popular in land-based casinos, the growth of the industry on the internet needed specialized companies and Microgaming was the first to rise to this demand.
It was developed in the Isle of Man and this is where it received the license to create and distribute software for online casinos. Even after a couple of decades have gone by, Microgaming remains one of the leaders in the iGaming industry and has the most impressive resumes, being considered by many the key pillar on which everything was built.
Launch of First Online Casino
With the software and security now developed, it is time for the first online casino to launch - InterCasino. It would continue leading the way for the years to follow, winning prizes along the way for best online casino.
After both Microgaming and CryptoLogic were ready to get started, the first online casino was set to launch. InterCasino would be the first of thousands as it officially marked the start of online gambling and it did so with great success. The online casino featured several gambling games and secure banking methods, with regular updates made by the software developer in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
The launch of InterCasino sparked the interest of many users which wanted to see how the casino games fair on the internet. Being the first gave it a major advantage and the online casino continued to lead the way for years, winning various prizes and breaking industry barriers along the way.
Birth of the Online Casino
By passing a free trade gambling law, Antigua and Barbuda make it possible for online casino companies to base their Internet operations in this Caribbean nation. The country remains a central location in and around which the industry evolves to this day to a large degree.
By passing the Free Trade & Processing act, the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda opened the doors to new possibilities which would include online gambling. The move allowed operators to apply and receive licenses to open online casinos in this jurisdiction which would benefit from the experience that gambling software developer Microgaming and online security provider CryptoLogic bring to the market and create the first online casinos.
The change in regulations acted on two major fronts which would set the tone for the entire online gambling industry. The main focus was to offer players the option to play casino games and poker over the internet in a secure and legal environment where they wouldn’t have to worry about the fairness of the games or about the safety of their funds. The licenses were carefully reviewed by the regulators before giving online casinos the green light.
CryptoLogic Joins the Game
Joining Microgaming, CryptoLogic, an online security software company, develops methods to make secure financial transactions over the Web.
With more players joining online casinos, the amount of money at play became highly impressive and at the same time posed a real concern for operators and users alike. Online security became essential for further growth of the online gambling industry and CryptoLogic joined to make things safer.
The company started in the basement of a house as two brothers wanted to find an application for a security system they had developed which would encrypt financial transactions and avoid hacking. The two brothers initially used WagerLogic – a subsidiary company – to get licensing for online gaming software and payment processing. They later grew into CryptoLogic and joined Microgaming in order to create entertaining and secure online casinos with easy-to-use online banking methods for internet transactions.
Microgaming Powers the Industry
Microgaming launches blackjack, video poker, craps, and roulette and devleops player management tools and tracking systems.
Set to be the point of the spear, Microgaming started developing casino games and online management tools which would allow operators to track their users and create accurate estimations, as well as marketing campaigns. The first games to launch under the Microgaming logo were also the most popular titles found in land-based casinos as BlackJack, Craps, Video Poker and Roulette offered a certain guarantee that players would be familiar with these options.
The graphics were more than impressive for their time and since players didn’t have anything to compare them to, the games became instant hits, attracting experienced casino players and curious users alike. With the help of the tracking systems and management tools, the future of online gambling began to take shape.
The stage is set, software developed and security issues solved. InterCasino accepts the first real money wager online. It will pay out over $3 billion in winnings in the decade plus since.
The first real money bet placed online at InterCasino was after it was officially launched in Antigua, with William “Billy” Scott at the helm. The former bookmaker from Ohio made the online casino available in the newly formed jurisdiction and with everything in place and the whole industry watching, the first players began to join in 1996. The first online wager was a big step and everything went without a hitch, although Billy would later be charged by prosecutors for offering online sports betting in the United States over the internet; something which was deemed illegal by the Wire Act.
However, the WagerLogic software proved to be working perfectly and it would go on to process almost $55 billion in bets from millions of players from across the world. The software and CryptoLogic would grow to become one of the most renowned companies in the business.
Millions in Revenue
The industry is now worthy of its name, with sums near a billion dollars generated this year; $834.5 million to be exact.
New records are reached and online gambling is now a full blown industry, with almost a billion dollars in revenue generated across the existing online casinos. The $834.4 million total is only a small indication of how big the industry can get with the right support given the fact that it only took it a few years to develop from nothing into something huge.
However, the millions in revenue also mean that more attention is aimed towards online gambling. More companies join the industry and the competition gets rougher, with players having more options than ever before as far as online casinos go. The offers become impressive and bonuses become the name of the game for the leading websites. With all the achievements so far, the industry is only gearing up to go even further.
Internet Poker Premier
The first internet poker room opens. In January, Planet Poker introduced Texas Hold'em to the internet and twas the dawn of internet poker.
Poker finally joins the new industry but creates its own section within it, as operators argue that it is not a game of chance but a game of skill. The first internet poker room to join the ranks of the many online casinos already available on the market is Planet Poker. Texas Hold’em becomes the first poker variant available on the internet due to its popularity in land-based casinos and the fairly easy-to-learn rules.
The dawn of internet poker is upon us, the numbers grow constantly but not at a very fast pace. Most players are not quite familiar with the game of poker but are willing to give it a try over the internet since it is convenient and gives them the chance to show off their skills.
Progressive Jackpots Change the Game
Progressive jackpots will change the industry at large and the lives of many lucky winners. Cash Splash, the first progressive jackpot slot ever, is launched by Microgaming. With several casino sites and numerous players online at the same time, countless wagers add up to form a cumulative jackpot.
Microgaming introduces the first progressive jackpot slot, Cash Splash. The simple concept of the game is that the slot is connected across different online casinos and a percentage of every bet placed by players will go directly to the progressive jackpot. The prize would keep getting bigger and bigger until a player from any of the casinos hits the winning combination and wins it all. After that, the process repeats itself.
With a fairly impressive community of players spinning the reels, the jackpots reached amazing figures and changed the life of numerous lucky users. The promise of a life-changing jackpot for the cost of a small bet also helped attract more players to the online casinos and Cash Splash was getting a lot of action on a daily basis.
First Attempt at US Regulation
Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-AZ), who has been a vocal critic of online gambling, introduces the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. This is the first formal attempt to ban online gambling in the US. The bill fails.
Senator Jon Kyl presents the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act which aims to ban all forms of online gambling in the United States. The bill however doesn’t go through and online gambling remains legal as long as it is offered by operators with licenses in accepted jurisdictions. While it is considered the first formal attempt to stop the industry in its tracks, the Senator has been quite vocal about his stance against iGaming in the US and will further purse the ban.
The main arguments brought to the discussion are represented by the fact that online gambling doesn’t offer enough measures to prevent underage users from joining the online casinos and that the easy-to-use options make it an issue for problem gamblers.
First Multi-Player Gaming Platform
Another important development in the gaming evolution, Boss Media releases its multi-player gaming platform development. No longer must gamblers play against the house. Now they can play in a group around a (virtual) table.
Boss Media launches a multi-player gaming platform which would allow several players to take part in the games at the same time. This proved to be a major step forward since it eliminated the need for users to only play against the house and they could now be part of a group while at the table.
It is important to point out that the internet at this point was still in its infancy and that most players had dial-up connections which would often times crash or work poorly. The need for user-friendly features which would help prevent losses when players got disconnected was becoming bigger with the growth of the industry on a network which couldn’t fully support it.
Playtech on the Scene
The gaming software giant Playtech was founded in 1999.
The growth of online gaming determined a need for more software developing companies and Playtech plc joins the party in 1999 as Teddy Sagi launches the new company in Tartu Estonia. It would take a couple of years before the company receives its first casino licensee but it will go on to become one of the biggest software providers in the online gambling industry.
Playtech was created by entrepreneurs from different industries, including casino, multimedia and software engineering and even from its early days, the company aimed to take online gambling into the next century. The product offered by Playtech would quickly become known for its quality and its games, which paid extra attention to details in order to offer a more realistic online gaming experience.
US Fails to Regulate Online Gambling
Sen. Jon Kyl is back with yet another bill in an attempt to shut down the industry in the United States and prohibit companies from offering online gambling services to American citizens. The bill fails to pass.
Senator Jon Kyl tries for the second time to ban online gambling in the United States and fails yet again. The new bill is faced with even more resistance from the operators which stand to make a fortune from online gambling and the many players which frequent the websites. The same arguments as before are brought forward to represent a case against the industry but the bill doesn’t get enough votes to pass.
While iGaming is fairly big, most American citizens are not familiar with it and either don’t care about it being prohibited or not or are for the option to have casinos available on an internet which is quickly becoming more and more important. The politicians representing the people don’t want to rock the boat and since everything is going smoothly, they refuse to vote for the prohibition of online gambling services.
700 Sites and Counting
Another milestone for the online casino world, with as many as 700 sites operating on the web.
The number of online casinos available on the internet reaches a highly impressive total of 700. This is just three years after the launch of InterCasino and it doesn’t seem that the steady growth is about to stop anytime soon. Given the vast number of online casinos available, players can take their pick from different styles available and benefit from a variety of offers.
Incentives to help get players started with the leading websites are getting quite impressive as welcome bonuses and other promotions are beginning to form yet another advantage of online gaming in the argument against land-based casinos. Hundreds of sites available with just a few clicks of a mouse cater to an ever growing player base which is constantly demanding for new games and improved features.
Gibraltar & Isle of Man Provide Licenses
The industry now has more options in host countries, as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, both UK territories, offer licenses for sports betting sites to base their operations in them.
New possibilities emerge as Gibraltar and Isle of Man start issuing online sports betting licenses. Given the fact that these are UK territories and UK is one of the largest and most important iGaming markets, several major companies decide to apply for licenses here and then expand into other jurisdictions. Some even make the decision to create their headquarters in either of the two territories in order to have better control on the operations.
The taxes imposed here at this time are quite small and make for a highly appealing location in which to set up the future of the industry and most of the big players will end up having their center of operations located in the Isle of Man. More options also mean some differences as the UK territories came with different regulations from the ones in Antigua and Barbuda. Major betting shops from the country move here in order to avoid the higher betting taxes in the UK.
On the Stock Market
Another sign for the industry's size and legitimacy, Cryptologic is listed on NASDAQ. Under the sign CRYP, the company leads the way for other stock market listings.
CryptoLogic becomes a public company and is listed on NASDAQ under CRYP. This marks the first company from the online gambling industry to do so and it shows a lot of confidence in the markets. Being listed on the stock market also allowed investors to buy and sell stocks, letting other companies know that online gambling is here to stay.
A new milestone is reached, one which other companies will soon follow. While it was a major step forward for the company, we should point out that it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under CRY since 1998 and it will only begin trading in Europe, on the London Stock Exchange in 2003, under CRP.
"Lotsa" Progressive Games
Lots a Loot, a progessive slot, is released by Microgaming. The gaming giant also releases 3 additional progressive games: SupaJax video poker, WowPot, and Fruit Fiesta slots.
Given the success of its existing casino games, Microgaming launches additional progressive slots in order to meet the high demand. Lots a Loot, WowPot and Fruit Fiesta are the new progressive slots and they are joined by SupaJax video poker which also features a progressive jackpot which can be won by getting a Royal Flush.
The new slots quickly attract customers eager to see what the latest creations from Microgaming bring. The potential to win a huge amount of money with one lucky spin also had a lot to do with the popularity of progressive slots and since the software provider was available across a variety of online casinos, the number of players betting on the games made sure that the jackpots will grow very quickly.
Largest Progressive Jackpot to Date
As the industry settles and the pieces settle in place, it is time to break some records. A gigantic progressive jackpot of $414,119 is won at The Sands of the Caribbean online casino - the largest to date.
One lucky player wins the largest progressive jackpot to date for $414,199 while playing The Sands of the Caribbean slot game on the internet. The amount tops all other prizes and represents a direct result of the growing number of players which frequent the games and enjoy the spinning symbol.
As the news makes headlines, players see that it really only takes a bit of luck to become the next big winner and online casinos see another boost in traffic as a result of the record-breaking jackpot. This in turn makes it easier to create an even bigger jackpot if the winning combination takes just as much time to hit. Progressive slots become very popular and it seems that every player tries them out for a while to see if they get lucky.
Creation of Online Casino Reports
The Online Casino Reports website is launched as a portal for online gambling, bringing a first glimpse into the newly-created online casino industry.
Online Casino Reports gets created from the need expressed by players to get information on various online casinos in a quick and informative manner. The website acts as a portal to the online gambling industry where new players can simply get all the details they want regarding the top online casinos and make the best decision. With hundreds of online casinos available on the internet, picking one can be quite difficult as a regular player.
Some casinos have better offers than others but it is difficult to know which one is the most attractive without spending hours researching. Online Casino Reports takes on the challenge and presents its findings in a simple and objective way so that viewers know which websites are the best of the best, with the list changing and growing constantly.
Companies sprawl and stocks climb as the industry proves viable and demand for gambling high. The industry reaches the value of $4.5 billion worth.
Once just an idea, now an industry worth $4.5 billion as companies fight to stay on top and new ones enter the market in look for a piece of the pie which doesn’t seem to stop growing. Those which were here from the beginning are now setting the standard for what the internet has to offer and newcomers look to take the industry further with new features and improvements.
The combination makes for a new online gambling peak and stocks grow out of control. With billions at play every year, jackpots worth millions and thousands of online casinos available on the market, the billionaires club sees a significant boost from the industry. Everything seems to be going perfectly and there are no clouds in sight as the figures go sky high.
Progressive Jackpots Break $1 Million
On pace to double the amounts won across the boards, the largest jackpot record prize reaches one million dollars. A $1.5 million jackpot is won at the Microgaming progressive slot game Major Millions at Captain Cooks Casino.
Major Millions online progressive slot lives up to its name and offers a jackpot worth $1.5 million. The Microgaming title was created with the purpose to break the one million mark as it featured five reels and 15 paylines with various features to help get the big payout closer to the players.
A military theme with playful characters and various symbols created to match the style of the game made sure that players would also be entertained with every spin they make. The major changed the life of one lucky player on this day and it continued to give out millions of dollars for years to come. Captain Cooks Casino, where the jackpot was hit, was pleased to have the honors of handing over the $1.5 million check as part of a big ceremony.
Foundation of eCOGRA
The independent standards authority, non-profit organization eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance) is founded. Its goal is to fill in for the lack of regulatory body and to protect users. It is heard and respected ever since.
The size of the industry and the lack of a regulatory body were becoming a problem and so the eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) is founded. The main role of the organization is to act as a regulatory body and set down some guidelines which all the operators in the industry have to follow, while at the same time make sure that it is not standing in front of future growth.
The non-profit organization quickly becomes an important part of the online gambling world and its main goal is to protect players by testing operators and making sure they live up certain standards before entering the market. It introduces the first formal self-regulation program within the same year and users see it as an improvement to online gaming security.
Live Dealers Introduced
Gaming and games get more creative and engaging, as Playtech develops live gaming. From now on, gamblers may use videostreaming and face live dealers on the screen.
Playtech launches a new category of online casino games called Live Dealer games. These include popular titles like Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat but present a new and interesting feature which aims to combine the realistic feel of a land-based casino with the accessibility and comfort that an online casino brings to the table.
Live Dealer games use video streaming capabilities to present life footage of dealers behind the tables, while integrating the online casino software within the games. Players make their bets online and then watch the stream to see the result of the round. The casino software then takes care of all the payouts and a new round is ready to go. Gorgeous looking dealers are added behind the tables in order to spark more interest in the new games.
Online Poker Takes Off
Completing the transition from online poker to poker's main stage, online player Chris Moneymaker takes the world of online poker and traditional poker by a storm, as he wins first place and $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker.
An accountant from Tennessee wins the World Series of Poker Main Event for $2.5 million after qualifying for the tournament through a satellite on online poker room PokerStars. Chris Moneymaker becomes the face of the poker industry and proves to be the major catalyst needed to start the poker boom across the United States.
The fact that an amateur poker player was able to best a huge field of players, including some of the biggest pros in the game, and win the most prestigious title in the world sparked the interest of poker enthusiasts from across the world. On top of this, he qualified for the tournament by winning a $39 online satellite. Internet card rooms saw their customer bases grow exponentially over the next few years.
World Versus US
In a case brought to the world's trade governing body, the WTO (World Trade Organization) sides with Antigua and Barbuda and against the US policy of closing off online gambling to Americans.
The United States Government continues to fight against online gambling and look to shut the industry down. However, the World Trade Organization gives Antigua and Barbuda the green light and offers a certain level of protection against the newly formed US policy. Americans are still able to access online gambling options but it is becoming an issue throughout the nation as the opposition is getting stronger and the future of online gambling doesn’t seem so care-free anymore.
While Europe looks to grow online gambling in the United States even more and more operators from the UK show success across the ocean, there are certainly some waves in the once calm waters, even with the case going in favor of Antigua and Barbuda.
American Gamblers Pocketing Wins
End of year numbers show that Americans still make a large piece of the pie, with 51% of the record $8.5 billion industry revenue coming from American gamblers.
American players continue to represent the majority of customers in the online gambling industry and account for more than half of the record revenue worth $8.5 billion. This is also because most of the online casinos are focusing on the United States market and look to advertise their offers towards Americans in order to attract more clients.
While the United Kingdom has its fair share of players generating important revenue in the industry, it is no match to the power that the US brings and not many other countries in Europe show the same interest in online gambling. The new revenue record shows a huge boost in traffic and options, as well as the fact that the local regulations in the US have not managed to slow down the industry by much.
Progressive Jackpots Creep to $2 Million
Setting a new record for the largest progressive jackpot won, moving from $1 million to the $2 million mark, a player takes in $1,966,000 at the Gold Rally slot at Carnival Casino.
A jackpot almost worth $2 million is won by a Carnival Casino player which gets the winning combo on Gold Rally. The game is fairly simple as it only features three reels but the addition of a progressive jackpot means that players will try to win that seven-figure payout, especially since it only costs them a small amount of money to spin the reels.
The theme of the game and the animations are also important factors which help get the players interest and generate the $1,966,000 progressive jackpot. It features various mining symbols and funny characters which get in trouble while in the search for gold. The progressive jackpot is won during the bonus round so a bit of luck is certainly needed to become a millionaire, thus leading to a new record as another players wins a life-changing amount, this time on a Playtech title.
New Design for Online Casino Reports
Online Casino Reports revamps its website to a new, user-friendly design. The news portal adds a sleek new look in keeping up with the times.
Online Casino Reports makes an important step forward in becoming one of the best online gambling hubs in the industry by getting a major design update. The focus with this change was to make the information more accessible to readers and make it easier for them to access the websites once they made their decision. There were also more than a handful of esthetic changes which brought the website into a whole new world of possibilities where content remained the most important aspect but was now wrapped in a great looking exterior.
The sleek new look of the news portal makes it stand out in an industry which is becoming more and more crowded with options and where users are constantly on the lookout for the best offers they can get.
Making Way for Mobile
Microgaming partners with Spin3, a mobile platform to start providing mobile casino games.
Mobile gaming shows potential and again, Microgaming is the first in the online gambling industry to make the step forward and pave the road for further expansion. The Isle of Man based software developer partners with a mobile platform called Spin3 in order to start developing and providing casino games which can work on smartphones. While these can be used simply for entertainment purposes, the main goal is to make them available by internet and pack down the features for the smaller screen without taking away anything essential.
Mobile gambling is heavily dependent on the future of smartphones, an industry which will take off right away and take mobile gaming with it. Simple games but with entertaining features are now available in the palm of your hand and player traffic grows constantly.
Billions in Revenue
The industry does not slow down as the promise of online gambling becomes a money making and widely popular industry. It peaks at $12 billion.
The rise of online gambling is not slowing down and less than a decade after the first casino went live in Antigua and Barbuda, the industry is now worth $12 billion in revenue. Major developments helped bring it to this point as the games have improved significantly and the offer includes hundreds of titles players can enjoy. A new peak shows growth and an important part of its success is the popularization of the internet, on which the online gambling industry relies.
More people start using the internet for their day-to-day life and iGaming simply finds its place in the new world, with billions of dollars in revenue every year taken in by the operators across different markets.
London Stock Exchange Buys In
The industry shifts toward England, both in focusing on European gamblers and by trading on the London Stock Exchange, where PartyGaming enters FTSE 100.
England becomes a more important market and the industry looks to get the action going in the United Kingdom and in other European countries. Several of the major companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange, with PartyGaming starting with a market value estimated at around £4.6 billion. It is only four years after the company launched its online poker business and its value shows just how much online poker grew in a short period of time.
Other operators follow with similar figures and with Isle of Man and Gibraltar now being the top online gambling jurisdictions, the United Kingdom becomes the best place to be. European players also benefit from an increase in local options and improved services, although some of the Western countries are not on board with online gambling and present their own set of restrictions and regulations.
Playtech Goes Publich
Playtech officially goes public and is listed on the London AIM. The company opens offices in Bulgaria and expands into the regulated markets of Estonia, Italy, Serbia, and Spain. Launches sports betting.
Playtech is floated on the London Stock Exchange at a value of almost £550 million and looks to open new offices in other online gambling regulated markets, with Estonia, Serbia, Italy and Spain being at the top of the list. The software developer also takes a stab at online sports betting and reaches partnerships with bookmakers located in the United Kingdom. New games and improved features make Playtech a close competitor to Microgaming, not to mention the creation of its poker platform called iPoker.
It would continue to see the United States as the main market but significantly increase its presence in Europe. As a result of the UIGEA passing later the same year, the stock value will plummet by over 40% in only one day.
Over 2,300 Online Casinos Worldwide
Tens of millions of gamblers around the world need a choice of online casinos. A choice is given them indeed. 2,300 gambling sites operate in a count conducted this year.
The size of the online gambling industry can be determined by many factors but the number of online casinos available around the world is arguably the best indicator. Over 2,300 gambling websites are now meeting the huge demand for online casino games in different markets and players certainly have a lot of options to consider, each one of them better than the last.
To stand out among thousands of casinos, some websites look to offer bigger bonuses, more promotions, the latest games and so on; thus the need for a reliable online gambling hub reaches new ground and online casino reviews become essential for users looking for the best online casinos. Millions of gamblers frequent the virtual games on a regular basis and the amount of money played each year is nothing short of amazing.
No BetOnSports in US
In a turn of events, the US authorities arrest BetOnSports CEO David Carruthers upon arrival in the US, shutting off the site's services to Americans. This causes a stir in the industry and its largest market.
The United States Department of Justice makes its first major arrest in the gambling industry by taking the CEO of BetOnSports into custody as soon as he arrived in the country. David Carruthers is arrested and the popular website is forced to shut down its operations in the United States. The Wire Act does not allow sports betting by telephone or the internet but despite this fact, several big online bookmakers have been doing very well here.
By arresting the CEO of a major player in the industry and shutting the website down in the largest market, a message was sent and the other operators received it loud and clear – the hammer was about to come down on online gambling in the United States.
US Shuts Down
By way of the Safe Port Act, the US Senate also includes and passes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Finally, for the opponents, success on the Hill. In one of the most critical days in online gambling history, US President Bush signs the bill into law and effectively bans Americans from gambling online.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is passed by the US Senate and as the President of the United States George W. Bush sings the piece of paper, the online gambling industry receives a devastating blow. Americans are prohibited by law to take part in online gambling and any operator which will continue to accept players from the United States will have to face the Department of Justice.
Despite the fact that UIGEA was added to the SAFE Port Act on the last day before Congress adjourned, it passed the House of Representatives with an almost unanimous vote as only two of the 411 representatives were against it. It then received a unanimous consent from the Senate and the bill was passed. A major market in a multi-billion industry is closed overnight and share prices plunge.
Mega Moolah and Live Dealers
Microgaming introduces Live Dealers for their table games and launches Mega Moolah, one of the most popular slots.
Microgaming continues to expand its already impressive portfolio by launching its very own list of Live Dealer casino games and a new progressive slot called Mega Moolah. The games have the same style for which Microgaming is known for and are gradually made available by all online casinos powered by the popular software developer.
While Live Dealer games have been around for quite a while, Microgaming sees a lot of success over time with these new additions to the list of games. Mega Moolah on the other hand becomes an instant hit. The African theme and the smiling wild animals attract a lot of players as the slot game is filled with nice animations and great features to help improve the winnings. In addition, the progressive jackpot which starts from one million dollars is not to be ignored.
Shifting Markets: US to UK
The UK capitalizes on this shift of focus from the US to Europe, introducing and setting in place its Gambling Act, which legalizes and takes to regulate the online gambling industry. Ads appear on television for casinos and online gambling.
After online gambling was prohibited in the United States, most of the operators switched their focus to Europe and the United Kingdom became the most important market in the industry. It quickly capitalized on the change and introduced its own new legislation called the Gambling Act. However, this did not prevent online gambling but actually encouraged it by allowing television ads about online casinos to air across the country. It also helped regulate the market and aimed to diminish the impact of the black market in online gambling.
Other European countries hope to achieve the same freedom for iGaming but the regulations needed to legalize it across Europe will take more than expected and will face a lot of opposition in some markets.
Online Casino Reports Globetrots
Online Casino Reports spreads to over 30 countries and markets in foreign languages. In addition, the OCR homepage undergoes another face lift. The news portal adds perks such as interactive videos and personalized functions such as a gambling forum.
Online Casino Reports is now a huge online gambling portal, spreading over 30 countries and offering information for players of different languages. In order to keep up with the growing industry, the website receives another major facelift which helps bring the important elements to the top. Key features become available to viewers and they can now easily find the top promotions across different categories, enjoy interactive videos and stay up to date with the latest industry changes as well as share their thoughts and opinions with other gamblers on the forums.
The best websites in the business are presented in detail here and they can be grouped by type, payment methods, currency, language, software provider and other characteristics so that interested players can easily find the ideal online casino, poker room or sportsbook.
South Africa Legalizes Online Gambling
And while a promise of change entered the White House with the election of Barack Obama, actual regulation was successfully implemented in South Africa as the country legalized online gambling.
Efforts to bring back online gambling to the United States are present, but the opposition is too strong. However, South Africa makes a huge step forward for the industry and announces that online gambling is now legal in the country, mostly due to the success sports betting has shown in Europe.
A new market means new possibilities and operators are quick to take advantage of the opportunity and offer their services to a new customer base. The regulations are fairly loose and while licensing takes a while, the market quickly develops and the boost in traffic only means good news for the industry as a whole. South Africa will go on to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and see a major increase in sports betting activity as a result of it.
Rise of Sports Betting
Record sports betting action surrounded the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
With the 2008 EUFA European Football Championship attracting millions of viewers and online sports betting already well-established in Europe, it becomes the perfect storm for online bookmakers which see a significant boost in their figures throughout the major championship. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games only add gas to the sports betting fire and thousands of new users turn to the internet in order to place bets on their favorite countries. Records are shattered as a result and online sports betting becomes even bigger across Europe, but especially in the United Kingdom, where most of the top sportsbooks are located.
Special incentives make starting fresh even sweeter and everybody seems to be talking about football or about the Olympic Games and how much money they placed on which contestant
Exploding Progressive Jackpots
Progressive jackpots continue to grow to huge proportions. $5.5 million and $4 million progressive jackpots won at Jackpot Ballroom Casino and Joyland Casino, respectively.
The size of progressive jackpots reaches new records and a couple of big ones are hit over the internet, with a total of almost $10 million being won in just two steps. The first one was a $5.5 million jackpot won at Jackpot Ballroom Casino and the other was a slightly smaller but still impressive $4 million prize won by a player at Joyland Casino. The big wins drive more traffic to the online casinos as the multi-million prizes make headlines across the industry. While the amounts reset after being won, it doesn’t take long for them to reach similar levels given the popularity of the progressive slots.
Mega Moolah remains responsible for the biggest jackpot and the game will continue to be the driving title for Microgaming-powered online casinos.
Big Poker Wins
At just 21 years of age, Joe Cada won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). His lot - $8.55 million. Cada is a familiar face online, playing under the name JCada99 at online poker room Full Tilt Poker.
The World Series of Poker breaks new records as it features a long list of tournaments across its action-packed summer season in Las Vegas for its 40th anniversary. A total of 57 bracelet events take place, culminating of course with the $10,000 Main Event. The concept of the “November Nine” is brought back to the major tournament for the second year and from a field of 6,494 players, 21-year-old Joe Cada emerges victorious. He wins over $8.5 million to go along with the title of WSOP Champion.
This season of the WSOP is so big that on the fourth and last day of entry for the Main Event, around 500 players are denied entry because the capacity was maxed out, and this included well-known poker pros.
Slow Economy, Big Prizes
In spite of the economic hard-times that the world has faced as a whole, some of the biggest prizes were won this year at online casinos, including $5 million at Party Casino, €4 million at Casino Euro, $1.3 million playing on King Casino, €6.37 Million Won at Mega Moolah Slots (Microgaming) at River Belle Casino.
Although the economic crisis takes its toll on the online gambling industry, major progressive jackpots are won throughout the year. These include a $5 million jackpot hit at Party Casino, a €4 million won by a player at Casino Euro, a $1.3 million jackpot on King Casino and another record-breaking top prize on Mega Moolah worth €6.37 million on River Belle Casino. The life-changing wins during a time where the economy is not doing so well gives players a glimpse into the potential that online casinos offer.
The Microgaming title continues to set the tone for progressive jackpots and its amusing theme fuels another huge amount. And these are just the top prizes won online but there are millions of dollars being claimed in smaller prizes by regular players every day.
First Slot Tournament Millionaire
Microgaming's Grand Slam of Slots produces the first euro millionaire from a online slot tournament.
Online slot tournaments become very popular and the biggest of them all is the Grand Slam of Slots, developed by Microgaming. As a result, the first euro millionaire is made from online slot tournaments and more similar events follow. Slot tournaments allow players to compete among themselves for a big share of the prizepool while also enjoying their favorite slot games. Users are required to pay an entry fee and they then earn points by winning at the featured slot. The leaderboard keeps track of all the results and when the tournament period is over, the top players get to claim the biggest prizes. Given enough players, the amounts can reach seven figures and this represents another example of how big the online gambling industry is getting.
Online Gambling Growth
Another good year for online gambling: Data released by H2 Gambling Capital shows a 12.5% growth in the online gambling industry in 2010, and players spend 10% more hours each week in online gaming, according to Online Gaming 2010, the report from leading market research company The NPD Group.
After getting over a few bumps with the economic issues, online gambling is now back on its previous path, with figures showing significant growth. H2 Gambling Capital presents its data and it shows that the industry grew by 12.5% from the previous year, which makes it one of the fastest growing segments in the world. Reports also indicate the fact that players spend more time playing casino games on the internet, with an average increase of 10% from the same period last year. A significant portion of this growth comes from mobile gaming which has been taking off and allows players to access their favorite gaming options more often, and thus spend more time online. Similar rates are expected for upcoming years.
LOTR, Thunderstruck II, Hellboy
Microgaming releases mega flagship games: Lord of the Rings, Thunderstruck II, and Hellboy.
Microgaming makes deals with major entertainment companies and acquires the right to create and distribute slot games themed after certain popular movies or comic books. As a result, the software developer unveils its flagship games to an eager player base which can now enjoy Lord of the Rings, Thunderstruck II and Hellboy at their favorite Microgaming-powered online casino. The titles become instant hits due to the popularity of the franchises and the sleek implementations of features within the games.
Lord of the Rings presents the main characters from the movie trilogy and offers nice animations when getting big combinations. Thunderstruck II rides the popularity of the first slot to become one of the most popular slots on the internet. Hellboy presents the comic book superhero in an exciting way on the reels and offers a different style to the other flagship titles.
Payment Options Increase
Players meanwhile benefit from a growth in localized payment methods choice: Dankort (Denmark), Postepay (Italy), Abaqoos (Hungary), Lobanet (Latin America),eKonto (Czech Republic), iDEAL (Netherlands) and Nordea (Sweden and Finland) and more.
The online gambling industry expands across Europe and operators reach deals with new payment processing companies in order to offer players more options in regulated markets. The addition of extra banking options makes it easier for users to fund their accounts and cash out their winnings, without having to worry about the security of each transaction. Some of the top methods added to the list include iDEAL, Postpay, Dankort, eKonto, Nordea and Abaqoos; each of them being very popular in certain countries.
More payment options also show the size of the online casino and this often times translates into better offers. Players are more inclined to choose an online gambling site for its banking methods rather than other key features in order to prevent any hassle when making financial transactions.
Mega Fortune Progressive Explodes
Net Entertainment's progressive jackpot Mega Fortune was won by a Norwegian student. The player pocketed €11.7 million at Betsson Casino.
Another year and another incredible progressive jackpot is won. This time it is on the highly popular Mega Fortune slot game as a Norwegian student pockets €11.7 million, setting a new record in the process. He was simply playing his favorite game at Betsson Casino when he got the very rare combination and the message for winning the top prize pops up. Since it wasn’t won in quite a while, the amount reached incredible figures.
Mega Fortune is a progressive slot developed by Net Entertainment and as the name would suggest, it features elements which many players dream of; such as golden watches, yachts, expensive champagne, limousines and more. The progressive jackpot is won during the bonus round where the player has to spin the wheel to see if he lands the mega fortune.
Mobile Catches Up
The iPad is not only the biggest trend in Christmas gift sales, but also in mobile gambling. This includes better gaming platforms from such casinos as All Slots mobile, more games from Microgaming and others, and iPad 2s featuring in casino promotions.
Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad become hugely popular and the online gambling industry capitalizes on the growth of mobile gaming by offering more options for players. With more users using tablets and smartphones, online casinos add mobile gambling platforms to support the demand. Mobile-only casinos get launched with great success and leading software developers like Microgaming and Playtech add more games designed for the smaller screens. Promotions giving away iPads have great success around the end of the year and more and more operators realize that mobile is the future of the industry.
The games need to maintain the features which made them popular in the first place and be easy to use on smartphones and tablets. Special progressive slots for mobile use are added into the mix.
US Online Poker Crackdown
US authorities crack down on online poker sites in what was termed Black Friday, setting Full Tilt Poker into downward spiral. The US continues to make headlines even though its ban on online gambling remains in place.
The United States Department of Justice comes down on the three major online poker rooms operating in the country and closes Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker, with charges of money laundering and breaking federal laws being filed against them and several other companies. While online gambling was stopped with the passage of the UIGEA, several online poker rooms remained in the market with the argument that this act doesn’t apply to poker. However, the government made it very clear that this was not the case when it shut down the major websites, forcing Full Tilt Poker to close its virtual doors completely since it didn’t have the funds to pay the fines. The day becomes known in the poker industry as “Black Friday”.
PokerStars on the other hand pays its dues and leaves the United States with the goal to focus on Europe and expand there.
Dark Knight & Battlestar Galactica
Microgaming launches its blockbuster slots the Dark Knight and Battlestar Galactica.
Microgaming continues its big title launches with the release of Dark Knight and Battlestar Galactica slots. The former is themed after the popular movie The Dark Knight and it features characters from the film, with Batman, Joker, Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent getting most of the attention. The slot game also comes with improved animations and great graphics. Combined with the Batman frenzy the movie created, the Microgaming title becomes and instant hit and more games from the franchise will follow.
Battlestar Galactica slot takes the 2004-2009 TV series to a new level in the online gambling industry and offers fans of the show a very entertaining way to play and win big. Similar to the Dark Knight game, this slot also has the main characters as symbols and a captivating style.
Online casino operators expanded their services to new markets, countries and languages, all the while operating in legal fashion after having received local licenses.
The industry continues to grow and is doing very well despite the ban in the United States. Operators get licensed in various jurisdictions and offer their services in new markets, with a big focus on local customers and a great attention to services. The leading online casinos make sure to have several languages available so that players from different countries can easily join. This also covers different currencies and the banking methods to go along with them.
Online casinos no longer focus on just one market and look to be truly international through their services and gaming offer. As a result, more promotions are added in order to attract players from different countries and the variety of online gambling sites becomes incredible.
All Slots Casino in Italy, Tropezia Palace in Sweden, and Grand Reef Casino "Down Under" are examples of localized casinos. Alongside this development, we have seen casinos leave certain jurisdictions ahead of coming regulations and legal changes that have the online gambling industry remain hopeful for 2013 and years to come.
Localized casinos are designed to focus their attention towards only one market. This in turn makes sure that the customers in that country are the main concern and their demands come first. It also helps build communities of players which speak the same language and have the same cultural background, which can enjoy casino games on the internet. All Slots Casino becomes very popular in Italy for this reason and several other casinos show success in other markets, such as Tropezia Palace in Sweden and Grand Reef Casino in Australia.
In addition, there are some changes taking place in major jurisdictions which forces several operators to move their services to other places in order to avoid higher taxes and stricter restrictions.
Sharing the Perks of Social
With the prevalence of social networks, social gaming also took hold in this year. Players can share their game to their network and win various points or perks in exchange. This has proved to be widely popular with players with the Candy Crush game being the model story of success.
Gaming and social networks are now best friends, with some games reaching millions of players on Facebook. Gambling games do their best to claim a piece of the social gaming pie and casinos like DoubleDown Casino have thousands of active users and millions of likes. The model here is that the casino offers popular games which can be played with virtual coins. While every player gets an amount for free on a regular basis, the casino also offers the option to purchase more coins for real money. However, the option to withdraw from the social casino is not available.
Several online gambling operators start marketing campaigns to better their image on social networks and this also means rewards for players taking part in the fun.
Mobile Coming of Age
With the global boom in smartphone and tablet adoption, mobile gaming came of age in 2013. Most of the major casinos have developed mobile casinos to meet the demands of this burgeoning market.
The growth of mobile gaming becomes incredible and some operators even declare that half of their revenue comes from users on mobile devices. Pretty much all of the top companies in the online gambling industry already have a mobile product out or are working on launching one in the near future. Mobile is no longer a niche which casinos can use to get a bit more customers and it has become a key segment of the industry which the players demand.
The main reason for this growth is the smartphone boom and a good portion of the player base now has a smartphone or a tablet, or both, and choose to access some of their favorite gaming options while on the move. Predictions indicate that mobile gambling will continue to grow for at least the next four years.
Largest Gladiator Progressive Won
Playtech announces a player from the UK wins the largest Gladiator progressive jackpot to date - with a win of €2.37 million.
The popular Gladiator slot powered by Playtech and themed after the 2000 movie starring Russell Crowe awards its largest jackpot to date. The progressive slot machine is known for granting top prizes in the seven-figure range and the new record is now set at €2.37 million. A player from the United Kingdom was the one to defeat the gladiator in the Coliseum and claim the glory that comes with it.
Several special features and the well-known theme of the game have made Gladiator very popular across online casinos and players liked it ever since it was released in 2008. Its advanced graphics have made sure that the slot remains one of the best titles on the internet, even after five years of new releases and improvements.
Bitcoins Enter the Market
Bitcoins were introduced in 2009 as an underground currency. Vera&John online casino is the first casino accepting bitcoin deposits.
Bitcoins enter the online gambling industry. While the virtual currency was launched in 2009, its growth is significant over the last couple of years and online casinos look to make sure they have all the popular options available. Vera & John is the first online casino to accept payments in Bitcoins and other websites follow in the same footprints. A big part of the drive for Bitcoin for online gambling is the fact that the virtual currency is not regulated by a central bank and this means it can be used to access markets in which payment processing companies are not allowed to make financial transactions for internet gambling. The quick rise of the value is also something to consider when looking to use Bitcoins for betting on online casino games.
New Online Casino Reports Website
OCR unveils its new look, which has an easier interface for both your PC and mobile device.
Online Casino Reports gets a major update to help make the website easier to use and also better looking. The new interface gives users a cleaner and smoother browsing experience, while focusing on what really matters – the quality content. Players can easily get all the information they need on an online casino, sportsbook or poker room and save a lot of time and money by choosing the best right from the start.
The gambling hub continues to grow and it also makes sure that the new interface can be accessed with ease from mobile devices using different operating systems. Up-to-date news articles are available on the website and the latest promotions are presented in detail so that users don’t miss out on any great opportunities.
OCR Adds 11 New Sites
2014 was a busy year for Online Casino Reports as our international versions of our website grew to a whopping 60!
Online Casino Reports had a successful year! In 2014, we added 11 new websites to our already large section. This year we expanded to Bosnia, China, Columbia, the EU (English), Georgia, Luxembourg (French), Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Now we have a grand total of 60 websites!
No matter where you are located in the world, we are almost guaranteed to have a website in your language. Our localized sites include only licensed casinos and the most updated reviews, news, bonuses/promotions, and more. Look out for even more sites in 2015, and have a happy new year from the OCR team!
OCR Launches Seal of Approval
Online Casino Reports launches the Seal of Approval section, to help players identify the most trustworthy and solid online casinos on the net.
Online Casino Reports launched the Seal of Approval section, dedicated to helping players in finding the most trustworthy online gambling brands operating on the net nowadays. In order to receive the OCR Seal of Approval, operators are required to meet strict requirements including seniority, security, ease of use, software, player experience and more. Only brands that have been on OCR for at least 8 months with a review of at least four stars are able to apply for receiving the Seal of Approval.
Once an application was received, the OCR staff conducts meticulous tests to see that the brand does indeed stand up to the requirements, and after the Seal of Approval was granted, OCR staff audit the brand on a tri-monthly basis in order to see that it still meets the requirements.
OCR Freshens Up with New Design and Forum
OCR introduces a new website design with a more hands-on approach, as well as a new and advanced forum.
September 2015 saw Online Casino Reports freshening up with a new website design that gives players a hands-on approach, allowing them to quickly and easily find the most recommended online casinos. A table featured on the main OCR site as well as on all international sites provides players with all details that are imperative to their experience, from features such as mobile compatibility, live dealers and VIP schemes, to ratings, scores and exclusive bonuses.
Apart from the new design, OCR also introduced a new advanced forum where players can discuss a great variety of online gambling topics including online casinos, promotions, lotteries and skill games and more. Players can also use the Complaints forum to report about problems they ran into with online casinos. The new forums are optimized to give players a smooth and comfortable experience, meant to engage players in discussions and expand the sense of community at Online Casino Reports.
Biggest Online Slot Win - €17.9 Million Jackpot in Mega Moolah
Microgaming's Mega Moolah breaks records with an historic €17.9 million win for a meager wager of 25p.
Jon Heywood, a 26 year old soldier from England, won the biggest recorded online video slot jackpot in online casino history. Heywood was playing the Microgaming millionaire-maker Mega Moolah when he hit the mega jackpot. Heywood won £13,213,838.68, which converts to €17,879,645.12. The lucky winner said the he will use his newfound riches to provide medical care for his father, to buy his dream car and go on a cruise in the Mediterranean. The jackpot winning spin was landed for a small wager of 25p.