The History and Development of Online Casinos
To truly understand the history and development of online casino games we need to go all the way back to the 1970s, when physical slot machines started to integrate computerized components with software in addition to their mechanical components. After slot machines became increasingly digitalized (to the point that they were essentially computers) blackjack was the next to follow as software companies seized on what they viewed as a lucrative opportunity in digital blackjack machines for casinos.
In the 90s, in the early days of the internet, companies that dealt with digitally-based gaming hardware that were used in brick-and-mortar casinos only used the web to send e-mails. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that the greater potential of the internet as it related to gaming was realized.
A crucial factor in the development of online casinos was the signing of the Free Trade and Processing Zone act in Antigua and Barbuda in 1994. This made it possible to issue official licenses. The signing of this legislation also coincided with the formation of the Online Gaming Tribunal and Directorate of Offshore Gaming. To this day, Antigua and Barbuda is the keystone of online gaming in a legal sense.
The same year as the legal breakthrough in Antigua and Barbuda, the company Microgaming was founded on the Isle of Wright. Microgaming was the first company to make casino-style gaming programs that users could download off of the internet.
Another key event in the history and development of online casinos was in 1995, when the Irish company Cryptology put in place the protocols that assured that players’ personal information was secure on the internet and launched Intercasino. Whereas Microgaming was the first company to come up with proper gaming software, Intercasino took it one step further, becoming the first browser-based online casino.
Currently, there are more than 2,300 online casinos and even more support sites with information and marketing. Many online casinos still use software developed by Microgaming.