The History of Online Mines Games Tips Gambling
Online sportsbooks and casinos have become commonplace in recent years, but this was not always the case. Even in the early days of the Internet, online betting was seen as taboo and faced many legal battles.
But despite the hurdles placed in its way, the online betting industry has continued to grow. Keep reading to see a brief history of online gambling. I will cover everything from the early days of betting online, the growth of popularity in the early 2000s, and the current state of gambling online.
Early Days of Gambling Online
The 1990s were a time of rapid change in many parts of the world. That change was aided, in part, by the Internet, which was just starting to become popular in homes. This allowed millions of people to access the online world, which would soon include online betting.
When Did Online Gambling Start?
The first forms of online betting became available in 1995. Early versions of encryption software allowed for relatively safe online transactions. Caribbean countries with favorable gambling laws allowed bookmakers and casinos to circumvent established anti-gambling laws.
Game developers, such as Microgaming, were quick to act on this new opportunity. Within a few years, you could place sports wagers and play your favorite casino games online.
Online betting became a new revenue source for Caribbean nations that were willing to allow it. Countries such as Antigua, Netherland Antilles, and Turks and Caicos were among the early adopters of gambling-friendly policies.
Early Legal Challenges to Online Betting
Countries like the US had gambling regulations on the books long before the Internet made betting readily available in our homes. In theory, using offshore casinos and sportsbooks would allow you to bypass your county’s betting laws.
Many countries attempted to block this loophole. For example, the first anti-online gambling legislation in the US was introduced in 1999. While the original Internet Gambling Prohibition Act failed, it did lay the groundwork for future regulations.
The US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. It focused on restricting casinos’ and sportsbooks’ ability to offer betting opportunities. The law does not specifically prevent bettors from using offshore betting sites, though.
Other countries also made attempts to restrict access to online betting opportunities. Some examples include Australia’s Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act (2000). The UK updated its gambling laws and created the UK Gambling Commission to oversee new online gambling laws.
Growth of Online Gambling in the 2000s
Online gambling faced many legal challenges in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The industry was able to grow in spite of these legal challenges. But betting sites continued to make money and became increasingly popular.
According to the New York Times, there were up to 1,400 betting sites available in 2001. This was a huge increase from the 15 betting sites available in the mid-1990s. The rapid growth in betting options was necessary to accommodate the 8 million people betting online that year.
Online sports betting, the World Series of Poker, and the increasing popularity of gambling all helped the industry stay afloat.
Online Sports Betting
Sports have always been a major part of pop culture, so it should come as no surprise that people like to gamble on them. But many countries have strict limitations on when and where you are allowed to gamble on sports.
In the US, for instance, sports betting was largely limited to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, Nevada. That was until countries in the Caribbean started to allow bettors to wager by phone. Sportsbooks provided a toll-free number that you could call and place wagers on popular sporting events.
Betting by phone predated online betting. Once sports wagers were available online, the option of wagering by phone largely went away.
Online sports betting benefited from the advancements of casino sites, too. For instance, both betting options benefited from improved encryption software. Also, software upgrades made the user interface of sportsbooks easier to use.
World Series of Poker Online
Another major reason that online gambling was able to attract millions of people worldwide is because of poker. Specifically, tournaments like the World Series of Poker (WSOP) promised players the chance at stardom and huge prizes.
Online poker first became available in the late 1990s, and the WSOP was quick to take advantage. The poker giant began to allow players to win entry into the WSOP with online events. This opened up the game of poker to a larger audience and allowed more plates a chance to prove their skills.
Online poker took off thanks to the success of Chris Moneymaker. He won a chance to enter the 2003 WSOP from an online tournament. Moneymaker went on to win the WSOP that year, proving the legitimacy of online poker players.
Following Moneymaker’s win, which was televised, the world of online poker exploded. In 2003, only 839 players participated in the WSOP Main Event. By 2006, participation had increased more than tenfold, with a record-setting 8,773 players participating.
Participation in the WSOP grew exponentially until 2006 when the US passed the UIGEA. This restricted access to poker online in many parts of the US. Participation dipped, and the 2006 record still stands today.
Creation of New Gambling Options
The WSOP was not the only beneficiary of online gambling. Many other brands – especially poker brands – also benefited from the growing popularity of betting online.
New types of betting also emerged during the late 2000s and 2010s. For instance, daily fantasy sports (DFS) became popular among sports fans. DFS betting options are even available in many states that otherwise restrict betting.
Game creators also stepped up and started to make new versions of classic casino games. Lightning roulette and other unique games that are only available online help casinos attract players to their platforms.
Casinos also started offering live dealer games online. These games help to recreate the experience of betting in a casino by allowing players to gamble with a real dealer.
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Online Gambling
After the UIGEA was passed in the US, access to online betting was heavily restricted. It would take more than a decade for another major change in gambling regulations in the US. The Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic also had a major effect on the current state of online betting. Many states were slow to act on changing sports betting laws until the pandemic limited their other income options. The lack of brick-and-mortar betting options and changing gambling laws allowed online betting to experience unprecedented growth.
Limited Land-Based Betting Options
Land-based casinos are popular all over the world. However, casinos across the globe were forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online gambling offered a secure alternative to millions of bettors that were suddenly unable to access their favorite casinos and sportsbooks. The technology was finally caught up with player demand, too. Online betting sites in 2020 were far superior to their predecessors from even a decade before.
One of the newest benefits available to players was betting apps. There is no denying the role of mobile devices in our everyday lives. Casino and sports betting apps allow you to gamble using your preferred mobile device.
Popularity of Cryptocurrency
Another factor in the recent online gambling boom is the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency banking options. Cryptos have become extremely popular in recent years. Many online betting sites now allow users to gamble with cryptos.
Sportsbooks and casinos will even encourage users to gamble with Bitcoin and other cryptos. They offer crypto users exclusive bonuses and other rewards that are typically better than what non-crypto users can access. There are other unique benefits of betting with crypto, including increased security.
Land-based casinos were not only closed during the pandemic but many cannot or do not accept crypto payments. So, players who want to bet with Bitcoin are forced to use online betting sites instead.
Changes in Gambling Laws
Last but not least, the was a huge pro-gambling movement among legislators during the pandemic. In the US, for example, states were able to create their own sports betting laws after PASPA was struck down in 2018. It was not until the pandemic created new financial strains, though, that many states took advantage of this and found freedom.
Now, more than half of the states in the US allow some form of regulated sports betting. Also, many legislators took this opportunity to create new regulations for online betting.
Allowing regulated online betting created even more tax revenue for states. Some states even went so far as to create new poker and casino regulations. Michigan, for example, joined the interstate gambling compact which allows players to play poker with people from other states in the compact.
How Will Gambling Online Change in the Future?
The history of online gambling may be relatively short, but the industry has undergone many changes in its nearly three decades of existence. Technological advances and gambling-friendly legislation have helped immensely in the last decade.
Changing views of the gambling industry as a whole almost ensure that online betting will continue to grow in the years to come.