Gambling is likely as old a pastime as is money, and probably much older still. However, digital technology and the internet have completely revolutionized the industry in just a couple of decades.
The first-ever online casino went live in 1994. What once started as a fringe hobby has now become a massive industry that competes with much older entertainment giants.
Currently, online casinos manage globally a turnover of well over 50 billion dollars, more than the Disney corporation.
The First Casino
The first-ever fully online casino emerged in Antigua and Barbuda as a result of legal reforms and a motivated investor. As the first casino thrived economically very quickly, other tech companies followed suit and started founding online casinos.
The industry flourished in a context of high earning potential and a very lax legal environment. In the early days, online casinos benefited from legal uncertainty.
In fact, online casinos still find it easy to operate their businesses globally, as gambling legislation has been slow to adapt to the digital age. Even in countries where gambling is restricted, consumers can relatively easily access foreign online casinos.
While the first online casino only offered a few different game alternatives, the industry proved its ability to innovate very quickly.
Online casinos allowed game designers to create new versions of old classics and design completely original games with little restriction.
Video technology allowed game designers to implement video game mechanics to alter aesthetics and the structure of casino games, offering entirely new ways for consumers to enjoy gambling.
Currently, online casinos offer card games, casino games, online slots, sports betting, bingo, horse betting, and much, much more. Online casinos even allow betting on professional video games. They often also cooperate with major sports events.
The tech-oriented online gambling industry has been quick to adapt to new realities. As mobile technologies become more popular and more advanced, an increasing amount of casinos offer their services on mobile devices.
Mobile optimized casinos and apps make digital gambling more accessible than ever before. Casinos filled an emerging need for mobile content. Mobile browsers correspond to a significant percentage of internet users, and it was natural for online casinos to be present where the customer already is.
For years, the main drawback of an online casino was its inability to effectively recreate the atmosphere of a traditional brick and mortar casino. This changed from the new millennium, as video technology and streaming became more available in personal computers.
Many online casinos started to offer live video card games, poker in particular. These live competitions brought the upmarket casino experience closer to the consumer than ever before.
Online casinos have become so established that they are competing with traditional casinos, often being just as, if not more, lucrative.
Online casinos are finally being included in gambling legislation, and licensing systems for online casinos are being designed. This will create a clear playing field and provide consumers with increased transparency and safety.