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History of Online Casinos


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Online casinos became available to gamblers in 1996, but what was required to
facilitate the establishment of such a massive enterprise?

As far as entertainment goes, gambling is one of the oldest forms. So
naturally, with the introduction of the internet, it followed that if we were
able to communicate online, we could surely place a wager or two.

So, how did gambling at location casinos diversify to real time internet
based casinos? The process started with the development of gaming software in
the mid seventies, with electromechanical slots being slowly replaced by more
advanced and more exciting computer software based technology. With enhanced
processing capabilities and never before seen computer graphics, gamblers were
enticed and mesmerised by their new virtual reality. Games such as blackjack and
poker became life-like, and this formed the basis for a world in which gamblers
could entertain themselves in the comfort of their own homes.

However, at this time, there was no device or mechanism in place whereby
gamblers could connect to a server through their computer, and access the
technology housed by that particular server. In the early nineties however, with
the introduction of the internet, it soon became apparent that online gambling
would be a distinct and very real possibility. If real-time communication was
possible, and the sharing of information and stored content was available, it
followed suit that gamblers could access and utilise gaming software and
participate in real-time activity from their computers.

The only predicament at this time was a deficiency in regulatory mechanisms
for the effective monitoring of online gambling operations. In 1994, the island
state of Antigua and Barbuda became the first online gambling jurisdiction when
they enacted the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. The act was established to
generate export-led growth for the state, away from being a one-crop economy in
tourism, into a technology transfer leader. With the introduction of this act,
the Directorate of Offshore Gaming was instituted for the collection, review and
dispatch of online gambling licenses according to rigid criteria. Antigua and
Barbuda remains one of the more popular and esteemed jurisdictions, but other
states such as the Isle of Man, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, amongst
others, have also enacted free trade laws that enable operators to licence
themselves for legal gaming sites.

Also in 1994, a software company called MicroGaming was established in the
Isle of Man, a pioneer in gambling software development. Their software,
developed specifically for the online market,  initiated a surge of
interest amongst operators wanting to participate in this new worldwide venture.
The only obstacle at this point, was the absence of a secure platform with which
gamblers could make safe financial transactions over the internet. This was soon
a concern of the past, when Cryptologic, an online security software company
developed an e-cash solution for internet based gambling. In 1996, Cryptologic
launched the first fully operational online casino, intercasino.com.

Since 1996, it is estimated that there are over 2 500 online gambling
operators, with accumulated earnings of over $15 billion. these gambling sites
include casinos, sports betting sites, bingo sites and poker rooms.

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