Online gambling is perceived as something so ordinary, it’s hard to imagine what was before. Online casino history is notable for its explosive growth at the very beginning combined with gambling legislation still straddling the fence across the world.
How it all began
Online gambling became available in mid-1990 when the internet entered the public domain. Immediately the business got interested in the new model.
But no one was overly enthusiastic about paying the taxes. So the gambling websites started out their legal operations from Antigua and Barbuda.
The reason why this Caribbean state became the cradle of modern online gambling was their Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. That piece of legislature changed the gambling landscape once and for all.
Antigua and Barbuda was happy to issue gambling licenses, unlike the rest at the time. But other nations and states could not stay away from what looked like a very lucrative endeavor. Not for too long, anyway.
The Caribbean legislature was followed by the formation of Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Quebec. More jurisdictions joined the ranks over the years.
The quick growth
In mid-1990s you already had a dozen or so gambling websites to visit, and new ones were popping up like mushrooms after rain. Before 1998 there were over two hundred poker rooms, online casinos and sports betting venues out there.
There only were a handful of online casinos at the beginning. InterCasino became the first one in 1996 and still online.
It’s difficult to say which was the first slot machine to go online, but there were barely over a dozen of those at the dawn of online gambling.
Microgaming became the first company to jump on that gravy train in 1994. The company then started shaping its ideas into what is known today as the online casino, resulting in over 700 games developed over the years.
Poker rooms featured a great choice of tables, often becoming training grounds for rising poker stars. Another trend was the migration of already popular poker players to the online realm.
That was a fight of platforms, some of which could fit more players, while others fell into oblivion if they didn’t measure up. The most famous poker rooms from those times were Party Poker and Poker Stars. The latter quickly rose to prominence thanks to the satellites that offered everyone a shot at something grand.
At the end of the 1990s top bookmakers whose names are familiar to everyone appeared – William Hill among them. A few years later Betfair revolutionized the industry by suggesting a new format of P2P betting.
Back then vs. right now
As a gambler today you can count on many things that weren’t available over two decades ago. Here is what it looked like back then:
– the number of venues and pokies wasn’t as great;
– the ratings all mentioned the same websites, only in a different order;
– the bonuses offered were much more impressive to get players interested;
– verification was limited to confirming your email address;
– in-play betting was out of the question;
– it wasn’t uncommon for your games to freeze or for some glitch to impair the website altogether.
At Televega casino, which is very popular with Aussie players, you can enjoy a loyalty program, a choice of bonuses, and a great variety of payment options. Players from the 1990s had no idea this is that it would be like in the future.
Legality remains ambiguous to this day
These days the opinion remains split on the legality of gambling. It’s illegal in many countries and yet perfectly legal in most of Europe, a few Canadian provinces, and some US states.
Aussies love to gamble just like most other nations out there. The first land-based casino opened in 1973 in the state of Tasmania. Surely enough that’s not when gambling started on the continent, as this country’s history of gambling goes centuries back.
The way things are now, it’s perfectly legal for Australian gamblers to play online. The irony is that local companies can only offer gambling services overseas. You won’t find a local gambling provider offering online casino services to Aussie players.
It’s legal for Australian companies to accept bets on sports online. However, live betting is not allowed. No wonder Aussie punters often have to go look for that elsewhere.
The future of online gambling
Even though it’s been over two decades since the online gambling bud blossomed, the status of online gambling in Australia remains unclear to this day.
Even so, online gambling will remain as popular, offering the freedom of getting that unique thrill without leaving the comfort of your home.