A Brief History of Online Casinos
Online casinos are a huge industry today, with an indefinite range of game options available at the touch of a button. Players can choose from variations of Poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, Keno, Roulette, Sic Bo, Video Poker and different Slots games, from the comfort of their own homes whenever it is most convenient. The history of online casinos reveals the beginnings of industry trends and directions that are seen in full swing today.
The history of online casinos began in 1994, with the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act in Antigua and Barbuda. This allowed online operators who wanted to run digital casinos to obtain licenses, making it a legal enterprise, and these first authorities are still a popular licensing district today.
From here, the industry took off. Several casino software and game developers were founded, starting with the Microgaming studio that has grown into an industry giant. The world’s first online casino, called Internet Casinos, Inc., was founded in 1995. Operations were conducted out of Turks and Caicos, with 18 casino games and access to the National Indian Lottery. Sportsbooks and other online casinos soon followed. Themed games were introduced with Sol Kerzner’s Atlantis casinos, operated from South Africa but licensed in the Isle of Man. Online versions of all popular casino games were created as quickly as possible, and new entertainments such as the first Progressive Slots Jackpots launched by Microgaming in 1998, were also designed.
To protect player information and funds, Cryptologic introduced online monetary transaction processing and other measures in 1995. Online and telephonic Customer Support was introduced around the same time, to keep gameplay smooth and keep money flowing. For more transparency, Microgaming reported on casino payout percentages in collaboration with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 1999, a practice that is now common all over the world.
Development and Legacy in Online Casinos
Early online casino technologies are constantly refined and revised by engineers and designers, and are always evolving and moving forward. The functionality, navigability, security and service of online casinos and other gambling sites are all much better today than they have ever been in the history of online casinos, and new games are being rolled out by a myriad of developers all the time. These include unique formats of Poker, Slots and other games as well as improved versions of old classics.
Maintaining legal casino operations by holding licenses from other geographical locations, such as licensing South Africa’s Atlantis sites from the Isle of Man, is a practice that continues today. Customer Support is now almost always offered 24 hours a day through various channels, and usually includes Live Chat communication. Protection of player privacy and funds also continues to tighten, with online casino transactions being conducted with the latest SSL data encryption technology today. All of these measures, as well as general fairness, are more carefully watched than ever before by independent auditing companies such as eCOGRA.
Lastly, mobile developments have had a significant impact on digital casino players. It is now possible to get games, support, security and functionality that equal what is found online, on a handheld device. Being able to fit gameplay in whenever and wherever is most convenient makes it easier for players to fit the entertainments into their lives. As online casinos continue to introduce new developments and keep the best of what worked in the past, players should benefit more and more.