Whether it’s winning a bet, striking a jackpot or getting dealt a winning hand, the excitement of gambling with real money has always been an exciting part of human civilization.
Even though most societies in history have shown signs that gambling was part of their culture, the first-ever Western gambling house appeared in 1635, in Venice, Italy. The local government wanted to establish a legal and safe environment for people to gamble, which led to the formation of the Ridotto.
Over the next three centuries, gambling houses would spread throughout many European cities as organized gambling gained popularity. Roulette and Vingt-et (an early version of blackjack) were incredibly popular when European settlers landed in the US. The steamboats of New Orleans became popular venues for wealthy gamblers. In 1931, gambling was legalized in Nevada which paved the way forward for US casinos to flourish and the birth of the Las Vegas Strip.
The rise of online casinos
When the internet started becoming more and more popular in the 90s, it wasn’t long before online casinos were established. The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed a law that allowed licences to be granted to open online casinos. In 1994, The Gaming Room, established in The Isle of Man, was the first known online casino. Soon after, a company called CryptoLogic developed Intercasino (still going strong today), allowing a secure online gambling platform that allowed currency to be exchanged.
It wasn’t long before entrepreneurs and businesses realized the huge potential from internet gambling. This led to casinos trying to gain a footing in the crowded marketplace by offering incentives like welcome bonuses, loyalty schemes and other various casino bonuses. Some casinos have become extremely generous to win new punters, offering free play where you have the chance to win before paying a penny. Other casinos offer a deposit bonus where you receive free money just for depositing money into your casino account. The market is so big today that sites like CasinoRange have popped up to try make sense of the landscape and advise casino players.
Online gambling wasn’t limited to traditional casino games, and Intertops was the first website to launch online sports betting in 1996. In 2002 live sports betting became available, offering gamblers and sports fans the opportunity to bet on football matches and other sporting events during play. This united gamblers and sports fans alike and continues to add a whole dimension to sporting events.
Online poker & progressive jackpots
In 1998, Poker Planet was the first website offering online poker. Despite slow, dial-up internet connections causing a whole host of problems, poker players loved being able to play over the web, and now online poker is more popular than ever with big poker tournaments being held.
Another big milestone occurred during 1998 when Microgaming released a slot called Cash Splash. The very first progressive jackpot was introduced, where the grand prize increases each time the game is played until the jackpot is won.
After the release of iPhones, Android devices and other mobile units, internet users started switching their attention from computers to their mobile phones. Along the way, websites were forced to adapt their design to become more mobile-friendly and offer apps. Online casinos were quick to jump on the trend to get on the screens of mobile users. The mobile boom has led to mobile gaming apps of all different kinds and remains one of the most exciting fields of gambling innovation.
A lot of critics of online gambling have disliked the use of software to determine the outcome of their bets. Even though the industry is highly regulated, some punters feel like their missing out on the “human touch.” This has led to the live phenomenon and began with a company called Playtech introducing a hybrid of brick and mortar casinos with virtual casinos.
Most modern online casinos have become increasingly trustworthy. Even though rogue casinos do appear from time to time, they soon become published on a list of blacklisted casinos. Businesses also have to undergo audits to ensure gambling is giving the customer a fair deal, and they also have to abide by strict data protection laws, with your private information being encrypted. These improved standards mean that you can enjoy gambling online without the fear of being ripped off.
Nowadays, the leading force in live dealer and live online gaming is appropriately called Evolution Gaming. Evolution Gaming casino has been crowned live supplier of the year for 11 years in a row since the award was introduced back in 2010.
Live streaming from a physical casino or a studio is broadcast to the player’s screen, giving a live gaming casino experience. In live roulette, you get to see a croupier spin the wheel rather than relying on a random number generator to choose where the ball lands. With online poker, you have a live dealer who deals your cards.
Live casino games have made a big impact in the industry, allowing punters to have a more “real” gaming experience. Some platforms have gone even further, using live entertainers to create a cross between casino and game show. One such product is Evolution Gaming’s, Lightning Roulette. Not only do you get an entertaining live host spinning the roulette wheel, but you also have lucky numbers that can lead to a multiplied payout of up to 500x.
If you look at the modern, live gaming experience, it seems like we’ve come a long way from the original, primitive gambling house in seventeenth-century Venice. The dynamic, online casino games that companies are creating continue to be more and more innovate. Creating new technology is essential for a casino to gain a foothold in this very competitive market.
Even though it’s uncertain what online gambling will look like in a few years, you can be certain about one thing. The industry will utilize new technology as much as possible to provide customers with a more fun and immersive experience.