The concept of taking risks for fun or monetary gain –commonly known as gambling- has been a staple of human society as far back as histories go. Writings and artifacts show that mankind began its fascination with gambling by attempting to predict the choices of the gods through throwing marked sticks and interpreting their outcome. The look of gambling has changed throughout the decades and with varying laws and decrees. The days of throwing sticks into the dirt are long gone, gambling has since adapted to the tech-driven world of the 21st century.
Online gambling and casinos began to take shape in the early to mid-1990s. In 1994, Antigua and Barbudo passed the Free Trade and Processing Act. This act opened the door for companies to acquire licenses to start online casinos. Microgaming created the very first online casino software. This software made it possible to securely play in online casinos, and the first online casino was launched later in 1994.
In 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was created and began granting licenses to many online casinos and poker rooms. From that point forward, online gambling began to boom. The market grew at a rapid pace —from only 15 websites in 1996 to over 200 websites by 1997. By 1998 online gambling revenue had reached over $830 million.
More and more games kept popping up throughout the 1990s once everyone saw how successful online gambling was. Internet poker and Texas Hold ‘Em were introduced in 1998 and in 1999 multiplayer gaming began. This ushered in a new level of gaming where players could not only bet, but also interact with others from around the world.
As popularity of online gambling grew, the need for regulations grew as well. In the United States, the two main pieces of legislation are the Federal Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The Federal Wire Act, which was passed in 2002, prohibits transactions of money or information on sports betting, but does not plainly state that betting on chance games is illegal. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, passed in 2006, restricts gambling businesses from participating in “restricted transaction.” The act defines a restricted transaction as knowingly accepting payment from another person based on a bet or wager over the internet. The passing of this act led to multiple online gaming companies to stop accepting players from the U.S. Federal law has since gone on to allow states decide whether or not they choose to make online gambling legal or illegal. There are already several states that have legal online gambling. The laws and future of online gambling in the U.S. is still a bit murky, but as more states begin to see the profits of online gaming regulations will hopefully become clearer, and looser.
The regulations in Europe are not exactly cut and dry either. With its ever-growing popularity and success, online gambling is a difficult market to regulate and control. The United Kingdom has taken a more free approach to online gambling. Private operators are able to obtain licenses and provide every form of gambling to residents within the United Kingdom. However, this is not the same for all countries. In Poland for example, everything with the exception of sports betting is banned. Italy just recently allowed online gambling in 2010, and Germany has a ban on most forms of online gambling. Spain seems to be having the most success with their online gambling regulation. Online gambling has been legal for over 30 years, but in 2011, the Spanish Gambling Act streamlined everything. Up until 2011, the different communities within Spain acted completely autonomously in regards to how they dealt with online gambling. The Spanish Gambling Act coordinated all of these regulations on a national level. These communities are still able to retain the majority of the decision making power. Allowing gambling and regulating it seems to be the safest and smartest route to go, because even if a country bans online gambling, citizens can still find a way to play on websites outside of their country’s jurisdiction.
With so much hype surrounding the online gambling market, it’s important to know who the major players are. There are hundreds of companies out there cranking out new software, and determining the great from the mediocre is crucial. As mentioned earlier, Microgaming has been in the online casino game since the beginning. They were the ones who launched the very first online casino, and they’ve continued to impress with their myriad of popular casino games. Another heavy-hitter is Playtech. This company also got their start in the 1990s, and they now claim to be the world’s largest online casino software supplier. The Novomatic Group has been around for quite some time. Since the 1950s, their successful company has branched out to 50 different locations and has over 20,000 employees. When talking about the giants of online gaming software, you’d be remiss to not mention NetEnt. They’ve made over 200 unique casino games and handled over $21.4 billion in transactions in 2014 alone. These companies have been around since the beginning of the online gambling boom, and they continued to turn out top notch software that enhances experience of gaming.
Although it has been a relatively short amount of time, online gambling has already made a huge impact not just monetarily, but also within gaming itself. What started out as bingo sites and online poker has morphed into a phenomena called eSports. eSports ascent into popularity follows roughly the same time line as online gambling. 1997 was when the first real eSports competition was held. A few weeks after the Red Annihilation Tournament, the Cyberathlete Professinal League was founded. This was one of the first professional gaming leagues.
Later on in 1997 the CPL held their first tournament. In the beginning, most eSports games were centered on first-person shooters, sports games and arcade games, but by the close of the 1990s real time strategy games began to emerge. First person shooter games are more focused on reflexes and quick skills, but real time strategy games have been deemed a “modern version of chess”. In the year 2000 two major tournaments were launched: the World Cyber Games and the Electronic Sports World Cup. These tournaments are now held every year and proved how popular and lucrative eSports could be. Just two years later Major League Gaming was created and it has now become the most popular eSports league. eSports has become just as popular, if not more popular, than “real” sporting events. The 2012 Spring Championship had over four million viewers!
The world of online gambling and gaming is expanding at a rapid pace. In just a few years, its market value has doubled in size. According to the casino portal, Casinosenligne.be, in 2009 the online casino gambling market was valued at $24 billion and in 2016 it had jumped to over $40 billion, and it’s projected to reach over $56 billion by 2018. Some online gambling markets such as in Belgium are now regulated. The market is even beginning to branch out into untapped market such as Asia and South America. Despite having some of the strictest gambling laws in the world, Asia’s online gaming community is growing. With the popularity of eSports, countries like South Korea have seen an influx of interest in regards to online gaming. In addition to Asia, South America has begun to pass new online gambling legislation.
With profits that sizable and the acquisition of new markets, it’s safe to say that the future of online gambling looks pretty bright. And the money isn’t the only thing that looks brighter for the future of online gambling— the software is also stepping up its “game”. The introduction of the HTML 5 platform now makes gaming easier and better than ever. HTML 5 allows you to play on all different types of platforms —Android and Apple. You can even go to online casinos on your phone or tablet. You are no longer physically bound —you can take your favorite games with you wherever you go! This software also gives you a clearer, faster gaming experience. So, even if you’re playing on a small phone screen, your picture will still be crisp and quick.
It’s an exciting time for the world of gaming and gambling. The internet has given us a new frontier to discover. The fast-pace of the internet gambling community can make it difficult to stay up to date on the latest news and developments. That’s where luckygoldfish.com comes in. We’ve got all the information you need to satisfy your online gaming needs. The future of online casinos and online gaming is important to us and to you. With this website, we will keep you informed on all the exciting new developments. So if you need to brush up on your history, or check when the closest trade shows are happening, you can do that all right here on our website. Luckygoldfish.com consolidates all the news, history and events of the online gambling and online casino worlds in one convenient location.