Online Gambling has seen a phenomenal increase in popularity, and profits over the last few years and it is showing no signs of slowing down at all. In fact I have a feeling it’s only just beginning.
The Mid 1990’s saw the introduction of online gaming, albeit in a very primitive form to what we see today. The major floodgates for online gambling were opened in 1994 when the government of Antigua and Barbuda, which is a small island in the Caribbean, passed a law which would allow companies to be granted licenses to operate online casinos. With this law passed there was immediate influx of online gaming sites popping up all over the internet.
Microgaming, the first internet gaming software provider was also founded in 1994 and to this day, is still one of the biggest providers of gaming software. Rumours have it that Microgaming was the first online casino, as they opened their Microgaming gaming club in October 1995, however as this is not official there is also another contender for the first online casino accolade and that is in the shape of Intercasino who introduced their first online casino in 1996. The point is still argued about today, and you will find references to both in different reviews.
1997 and 1998 saw a lot of the newly opened, online casinos refining the software that they used. Internet speeds were becoming faster, and online security was also being tightened up all of which gave customers a lot more confidence to spend online, and faster more efficient games. In 1998 although still a fairly young industry, the internet gambling industry generated a staggering $834.5 millions dollars, and that was before its 5th birthday.
Ever since the arrival of online gambling there has always been complications over restrictions within certain countries. A good example of this was in 2006 where a debate over licensing rules saw the whole of the USA cut off from taking part in online gambling until the implications were smoothed out. As it is today all but a few of the states within America legally have online gambling sites.
Online gambling is still in its early stages and it is not yet legal the world over, there are several legislations that prevent certain countries from taking part in all or part of the activities. In certain parts of America online gambling is still not legal, as with other countries. Utah and Hawaii still have not passed legislation and they don’t seem to have any plans in the future to do so. Online gambling as large and as profitable it may be is still subject to the age old arguments as to whether gambling is good or bad for your health, many countries simply do not allow gambling based on the fact that it ‘isn’t good for you’, religion also plays a part in come countries.
In 2005 Gambling regulations were set up to bring a sense of unity and regulate the process of online gaming. The commission has been working hard since 2007 to help protect underage gambling and online gambling in general.
There are currently estimated around 20,000 online gambling sites to visit which include casinos, sports betting, poker rooms, lottery sites, horse racing, bingo, scratch cards to name but a few. To give an exact figure of the industry has proved very difficult; however, experts estimate it at around $30 billion.
Online gambling sites tend to be clustered round certain countries where the licensing laws on wagers are more relaxed, some of the most popular destinations being Canada, Gibraltar, Panama, Belize and Costa Rica. Online gambling for some of these smaller countries has generated lots of jobs and opportunities, and in some areas has become the number one employer.
Although the online gambling industry is still in its growth stages, some companies have benefited immensely from the ease of the internet. Companies such as betfair.com are now listed on the London stock exchange, and the well known betting shops such as Ladbrokes are now developing a very strong online presence.
According to recent figures online sports betting is still considered the biggest of all the online betting activities, and it is followed closely by casinos and online poker. Online sports betting sees players placing wagers on horse racing, or football results, anything sports related. Casinos automate lots of different games, so that players can play against the server or against other opponents.
Online Poker has seen a massive increase in popularity, with Texas Hold’em Poker still being the most popular. The popularity of poker has risen due to other gaming sites offering running the game on a no betting format, where players can play for real with pretend money. This game, once added to the social networks rocketed in popularity attracting millions of players.
Online bingo is another immensely popular online game which is now attracting millions of followers. Industry giants such as Virgin have now opened bingo sites which are taking the internet by storm. Bingo gives players the ability to win both big and small amounts of cash for little wagers, players can pay as little as 1p to join in the games. The bingo industry as with many of the online sites is staffed 24 hours per day, and they also employ moderators to continually chat to the players, creating a community type environment. This method of gaming is generating lots of work within the industry and also attracting lots of customers.
Online Gaming is a huge business, but it is only the beginning this industry has a steady and predicted growth however as more licensing laws are relaxed there is sure to be further development within this industry. The software that is used to power the games is constantly being updated, and everyday there are thousands of new games, or variations added to the sites. With improving software, better and faster connections, and watertight security, the online gaming industry is set to probably be one of the largest industries the world has ever seen.Online Gambling,