The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act of 1994 passed by Antigua Barbuda is where online gambling started. This law enabled gaming operators to apply for licences. Many online casinos around the world are still operating under this license.
The Developing Years
Microgaming was founded in 1994 and is considered the first developer of online casino games. Microgaming is credited with the development of revolutionary software for online casinos and continues to develop new software to this day.
In 1995 Cryptologic is founded by two Canadian brothers, Mark and Andrew Rivkin and they developed a set of encryption protocols which would allow online casino’s to process transactions in a safe, reliable and secure environment and in the fastest possible way.
In 1996 the Kahnawake Gaming Commission is founded in order to regulate the Kahnawake licensed casino sites which they hosted. Microgaming begins to concentrate on the development of online casino technology and they sell off their casino operations. The first Ecash and gaming application is developed by Cryptologic and it was in 1996 that the first online casino, Intercasino, went online and was the first casino to accept real money bets.
In 1997 a network of gaming sites, PartyGaming is established, offering online casino games and operated in the Caribbean. This company did so well that in 2005 they were listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 1998 Microgaming launches the very first progressive jackpot, Cash Splash Slot. In 1998 a problem arises for the online casino industry when Senator Jon Kyl introduces the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act which would have made online casinos illegal for US citizens, but the act was not passed.
In 1999 Boss Media released gaming software which allows for multiple players to interact and play at the virtual gaming table.
New Games, Problem and Big Wins
In 2000 Microgaming releases four progressive slot games, Lots a Loot, WowPot, Fruit Siesta and SupaJax. Gibraltar and the Isle of Man begin offering online sports betting licenses and many betting outlets in the UK buy these in order to avoid the betting tax. The first online casino, Casino Sur, is licensed in Argentina.
In a survey done in 2001 there was said to be about 8 million online casino players who had played for real money. Online casinos are given the go ahead to operate from Nevada and after a few years they would be able to grant licenses. The largest progressive jackpot win is recorded in 2001 from the Caribbean online casino where a player won $414 119 while playing Rags to Riches. In the following year a player wins over 1 million playing Major Millions slot.
In 2003 eCOGRA is founded and their objective was and is today to provide an operating framework with regard to compliance in online casino industry. In 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is passed in the US which made it illegal for any financial institution to facilitate payments between US citizens and offshore online casinos.
In 2008 another big win of over 5 million is recorded when an online casino player from Finland wins the jackpot while playing Megah Moolah and later in 2009 another player wins 6.3 million euros playing the same real money online slots in Canada.
There are many events recorded in the history of online casinos and these are a few highlights throughout the colourful history of this popular and ever growing pastime.