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A Little History
Always a good place to start - the beginning. A break from banking advice and casino game overviews.
The history of online gambling is relatively short and dates back to 1994, when the Antigua Barbuda government passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. This law made the issuing of gambling licenses legal, and fueled the establishment of online gambling as an industry.
That same year, the world's first online gambling software,Microgaming was founded, and followed up by a safe online transactions system by Cryptologic in 1995. These technological developments gave way to the debut of the world's first ever, online casino - Intercasino - on August 18 that year. Intercasino offered 18 different casino games, and access to the National Indian lottery draw, yet a real money bet wasn't placed until 1996.
Despite much legal opposition to online gambling as a whole, many significant industry leaps and bounds were made. Only three months after the release of Intercasino, Cassava Enterprises launched 888.com - an online casino and Pacific Poker website center and database. Owned by Israeli partners Avi and Aaron Shaked, and Shai and Ron Ben-Yitzchak, this parent company was to become what is termed today as "the largest casino website on the Internet". Other major developments included the establishment of e-gaming software company Boss Media AB, and Microgaming's "The Cash Splash" - the Internet's first progressive jackpot slot machine. Additionally, the growing success of the Internet was providing to an increasing number of people access to this exciting new gambling experience.
The year 2000 saw many countries begin realizing the economic and social value of online gambling, and slowly introducing the legalization of online gambling websites. Such countries included the Caribbean, the USA, Asia, Australia, Europe, and some British territories such as Isle of Man, which brought the online gambling industry to international distinction. As a result, online gambling standards were rapidly raised, and many new features were launched, including live dealers, multiple game play, increasingly larger jackpots, and televised gambling tournaments.
By 2005, popularity of the online gambling industry had reached a peak and was already accepted as a basic feature of the Internet. Millions of people from around the world were getting on board to share in the millions of dollars worth of jackpot prizes, and discover this exhilarating new gambling technology for themselves. US residents constituted more than half of the regular online gambling audience. As popularity increased, so did the number of online casinos, poker rooms, gambling related websites, and gambling software providers, and many had become listed as part of the stock exchange.
In 2006, the online gambling industry experienced a major setback, when the ongoing legal battles against online gambling in the United States finally triumphed. The Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, signed by Bush on October 13, prohibits online gambling in all its forms for US residents and US based gambling companies. However, valued at over US$100 billion, with more than 450 gambling related sites and several thousand online casinos, it will take significantly more to abolish what is today a high-powered, highly popular industry.
Industry experts predict that the online gambling experience will only improve. The unassailable odds, user-friendly graphics and multi-player features being constantly developed are attracting more and more people to join in. The online gambling industry is yet to take the world by storm!
In later lessons you will learn about the specifics of the gambling experience, from the games offered, through the banking options available and all the way to playing for real.
If you wish to re-visit a past year later on, visit our industry timeline where we break up the history of online gambling in a fun and engaging way.