The History of Online Gaming Part 1
Online gambling began in the year of 1994 with the establishment of a company known as Microgaming. The first developer of online casino software, Microgaming began programming a range of popular casino games for play on the internet. A short time later, a small piece of free trade gambling legislation on the miniscule island nation of Antigua and Barbuda was introduced. Suddenly it was possible for online casinos to base their operations in the Caribbean nation and proffer their services to the world via the internet.
For the next year, Microgaming continued to cultivate its gaming systems, but the internet was not yet ready for the inevitable future of online gambling. There were strong concerns regarding the security of placing wagers with real money over the world wide web.
Enter stage left, CryptoLogic. Founded as a company to oversee the security of online software, CryptoLogic was able to develop technologies that would safely encrypt the processing of electronic financial transactions. Now it was possible to safely send and receive funds online.
The only thing left was to launch the very first real-money online casino; a task that was proudly undertaken by InterCasino.com. In 1996, InterCasino made history by accepting the very first real-money wager over the internet. Since then, InterCasino has paid out more than $3 billion in online casino winnings to its hundreds of thousands of members.
The industry progressed, little by until, over the next two years. Microgaming broke the mold once more in 1998 by launching Cash Splash, the first online progressive jackpot slot machine. At the same time, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl made an attempt to criminalize online gambling in the USA with his introduction of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, but the measure failed miserably.
In 1999, Senator Kyl flopped in his second attempt to ban internet gambling in the US while the online casino industry continued to soar, reaching the landmark of 700 real-money gambling sites actively orbiting cyberspace.
Another incredibly important milestone in the history of online gambling occurred in 1999 when Boss Media released the very first multi-play gaming platform. Thus it was possible for players to compete at a table, as opposed to wagering only against the house. Thanks to Boss Media’s bold endeavor, the online poker industry was born.
Over the next few years, more online gambling sites were launched, more jurisdictions became havens for licensing and regulation, more progressive jackpots were installed. In 2002, Microgaming’s Major Millions Progressive Slot surpassed the $1 million mark and was soon-after awarded to one extremely fortuitous member of Captain Cook’s Casino at a staggering payout of $1.5 million. That same year, the online gambling industry grew to astronomical heights, valued globally at $4.5 billion.
Although the first online poker sites had been established several years prior, internet poker took quite some time to catch on. The current popularity of online poker is attributed to Chris Moneymaker’s phenomenal win of the 2003 World Series of Poker Championship. Moneymaker didn’t just win the WSOP that year, he did so by first winning his seat in the Main Event by taking down a satellite tournament at the online poker site, PokerStars. Suddenly, the online poker community was abuzz with new memberships as everyone wanted to become the next Chris Moneymaker. That event also instigated the rise of PokerStars to the world’s largest online poker site ““ a title PokerStars proudly boasts to this day.
Microgaming continued to lead the online gaming software industry that year, but it gained a strong rival when fellow software brand PlayTech introduced the first live gaming platform. Although the software would need a lot of tweaking to become the powerhouse that it is today, PlayTech had given players the ability to play casino games with a real live dealer over the internet in a true casino setting via real-time streaming video.
A non-profit organization, e-Commerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (aka eCOGRA), also emerged in 2003. The founders of eCOGRA felt that the online gambling industry lacked proper regulation, establishing itself as a way to protect players from the potential harms of unfettered operators. The eCOGRA seal of approval is highly respected to this day, and can be found on all internet casinos powered by Microgaming.
Continue to The History of Online Gaming Part 2