Online casino and gambling history

Online Casino and Gambling History

This article is about online casino and online gambling history. We go back to the 90’s when everything started and have a look at the growth and present situation of online gambling around the world.

Online casinos and gambling have not been around for very long but they have had explosive growth in that time. The first ones began to appear around the 1990s as the Internet was expanding rapidly around the globe. In that time the industry has brought in multiple billions of dollars and these figures are expanding all the time.

Early History of online gambling

In 1994 the Caribbean island, Antigua Barbuda allowed online casinos as it passed a law allowing them to operate. They can still operate there as of now with the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act in place. Two brothers named Andrew and Mark Rivkin started a company called Cryptologic which was designed to provide software with high encryption for financial transactions associated with gambling. The year that Antigua Barbuda passed its gambling law two companies called Microgaming and Starnet Communications were formed.
Canada was one place where there were developments in online gambling. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission formed which was meant to regulate online casinos and set forth fair standards for their operation. Another company called Boss media started around this time but it was Cryptologic that had the first fully functional gaming platform online. There were eCash and money management services available and in 1996 the company released its first software package for gambling online. In 1996 InterCasino which was the first online fully functional casino, started operation.

Growth of online gambling

The Industry began to grow by many millions of dollars and then it was billions shortly after. There was new software developed and casinos began to really take off. One of the first slot machines online was called Cash Splash. At the end of 1998 the revenues were around 835 million dollars from casinos. U.S. player were the bulk of these players and this causes lawmakers to take notice. A bill called the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was the first of several bills to try and ban gambling but they failed. Several gaming licenses were granted and online gambling continued to grow without slowing down.
Raids and More Bills
In Vancouver Canada there were several raids to try and cut the growth of the industry but this did nothing to slow the progress of the industry. The U.S. tried to write more bills but these too failed to pass. Australia granted its first online gambling license which still runs today called Lasseters online. In the early 2000s the Australians had some success with curbing Internet gambling but is an operation that still runs today.


In the early 2000s there were around 700 online casinos in operation in several different currencies. In 2001 it’s estimated that over eight million people have tried online gambling. More online gambling games are released and the industry keeps growing despite some bills trying to limit its growth. More countries open casinos online in the 2000s such as Africa and many UK territories. Nevada in the U.S. receives permits to allow gambling although there are moves to tax and legislate gambling in Nevada online. Despite bills and legislation online gambling continues to grow due to the massive revenues it generates.
In 2006 the US passed the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to watch offshore companies that might be suspected of channeling gambling funds to terrorist groups. This is seen as a harsh bill and in 2007 the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA) is adopted to better regulate the industry.
Online gambling continues to grow despite opposition from governments and other parties as the money generated just can’t be ignored. Problem gambling, fair gambling, and the protection of minors are all problems being addressed to make the industry fair to all parties involved. There will no doubt be more bills, name calling and other problems but online gambling is here to stay in one form or another.