Online casino industry: The past and the future

Online casino industry
Credit: Sashkin
As with any other innovation, online gambling had its fair share of ups and downs. More so, given society’s general attitude towards gambling. The technological development that hit the world in the last 30 years took every aspect of quotidian life in a whirlwind of change where there were only two choices: adapt or perish. Then there were few who managed to recognize business opportunity and lunge ahead regardless of the risks. These pioneers of online gambling managed to take this industry towards the high-profit margins it makes today and to a competitiveness point where free online slots with bonus rounds are required to get noticed, but not enough to get ahead.

Although browsing through the whole history of gambling might be a tedious assignment, there are a couple of pointers in the past that show us how it all developed, could clarify at which point we find ourselves today and maybe give a small glimpse of what there is to come for this particular domain.

The Past

You might find it hard to believe, but the innovators that first saw the benefits of online gambling come from some of the most interesting and unexpected places on Earth:

  • In Antigua and Barbuda was registered the first law in the world, that gave the right to emit licenses for online gambling, thus giving birth to the industry
  • Kahnawake Indian tribe in Canada issued the first gaming licenses
  • Microgaming’s GamingClub raced InterCasino to become the first virtual platform for online gambling. Microgaming still remains one of the top online casinos’ software providers to this day

The sites managed to spread like wildfire growing to 15 in the first year, to 200 in the second year and this was still before the third millennium. Shortly after, live sports betting occurred and then the star of the online gambling expansion, virtual poker games. PokerStars is the name to hold accountable for the massive expanse worldwide of online poker as well as the growing renown of Texas Hold’em, as a poker style of play.

This uncontrolled expansion, with a market quoted at over 5 billion USD revenue per year, couldn’t have gone unnoticed and in 2006, the US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This was a clever move on behalf of regulators as they didn’t make online gambling illegal, but money transfers with connections in the wagering domain. It created enough confusion to make most websites think twice before going through all the commotion, and they simply disallowed access to all US citizens to their sites. But this meant cutting back a large portion of their customers, so it made them turn towards other unexplored markets, making the phenomenon truly global.

The Present

Nowadays, Europe has already regulated a set of laws making online gambling a right to choose, for every citizen. The US Supreme Court clearly stated in 2018 that it’s not a federal crime to gamble online, but every state’s right to decide upon its own laws on the matter. And then providers like best RTG casino software provider raised and many off-shore online casinos started to allow US gamblers.

Fact is that the industry kept on growing regardless of the opposition and it holds revenues close to 1 trillion USD. A major contribution had the development of ways to access these websites via mobile phone. The year 2018 saw more than 150 million people using these devices to play casino games. And with regulations going towards an easement in restrictions, surely the numbers are going to grow exponentially.

The Future

Besides being a booming industry that is going to continue its impressive growth over the years, it’s also a domain with high sensitivity to technological advancements, as well as fashion trends and people’s expectations.

The graphic elements and animations are more lifelike, recreating with high accuracy the atmosphere from a real-life casino. Also, the latest trend sets the whole action in a virtual reality game, making the player much more involved in the experience.

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