It seems as if the Internet has been around for ever, but really it´s not that long ago that people were marvelling over emails in the office. It was hard to believe in the early days that you could press a button and send a message to anyone in the world almost instantaneously.And how about online casinos and poker sites? When did they first appear? Here is a short history.
In 1994, the government of Antigua passed The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act, which gave the Carribean territories first mover advantage in the online gambling industry. Many casinos and sports books continue to be run with a licenses issued by the islands.Microgaming, one of the online casino industry’s largest software developers is born.
CryptoLogic, a company that specialises in transacting money over the Internet, is born.
Microgaming also claim to be the first casino to offer real play with The Gaming Club that opened in October 1995.
The Gaming Club is still operating (on Microgaming’s casino and poker software) and is licensed by the government of Gibraltar.
Boss Media starts to develop casino games for the internet.
Cryptologic works on the world´s first Ecash and gaming software, and complete its first generation of gaming software later in the year.
CryptoLogic’s wholly owned subsidiary, WagerLogic, acquires its first gambling license.
InterCasino launches in october, also claiming to be the world´s first real money online casino! (See above)
The Kahanawake Gaming Commission was set up in Canada. It regulates online gaming activity from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and issues gambling licenses.
Intertops launches the Internet’s first online sportsbook, with a licence from Antigua.
The first progressive slot is launched by Microgaming: Cash Splash. They now operate a big range of progressive games including one which offers jackpots that start at 1 million: The Mega Moolah Progressive.
The US Senate introduces a bill called the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act- it doesn´t get through.
Planet Poker became the first online poker site.
Paradise Poker launches in 1999.
Party Poker quickly grew to become the world’s largest online poker room, and it’s parent company, Party Gaming was one of the first online gambling companies to go public, listing on the London Stock Exchange in June 2005.Microgaming comes to an agreement with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to audit and report on payout percentages. This helps to build consumer confidence in online casinos and fuels growth.
Gibraltar and the Isle of Man start to market online sports betting licenses.
Cryptologic lists on the Nasdaq.
Microgaming launches 3 more progressive casino games: WowPot, Fruit Fiesta slots, and the SupaJax video poker progressive.
Alderney, a British Channel Island, starts to accept applications for online gambling licences.
PartyPoker launches and goes on to become the world´s biggesy online poker site before it has to pull out of the US.2003
eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance) is set up to self regulate the industry.
Playtech launches its live casinos, a webcam concept where players play with real dealers and make bets on the Internet with a webcam.
The WTO backs Antigua-Barbuda in its case against the United States, arguing that the US is being inconsistent by allowing US companies to operate online horserace-betting sites and land-based casinos.
Online poker takes off.
PartyGaming floats on the London FTSE, and is the biggest float inThe City for over 3 years. Party Gaming shoots into the FTSE 100- the top one hundred companies trading on the footsie by market capitalisation.
PartyGaming buys Empire Poker.
Playtech’s floats on AIM, London´s alternative Investment market.
The Republicans sponsor a bill in the US that would make it illegal for U.S. banks and credit-card companies to accept and make payments to and from online gambing sites.
BetOnSports CEO David Carruthers is arrested for running online gambling operations under the wire act.
The Senate pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA): it is nailed on to other legislation to get it through quickly (the Safe Ports Act).
It is now illegal in the US for American banks and credit card companies to process gambling transactions online.
Partygaming and 888 pull out of the US.
Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre from Neteller are arrested in New york and charged with money laundering. NETeller pulls out of the U.S.
The European Union files a suit with the WTO against the UIGEA.
Yahoo and Google settle with the U.S. government for their role in advertising online gambling in the US.
It is estimated that casino revenue online in the UK will reach £1.6 billion. Mobile casinos and betting is starting to take off and growth across the different channels look set to continue.
This is the year that casinos took off on smartphones like Android & iPhones and tablets like iPads.