It was in the year 1994 that online casinos became operational and began gaining popularity. With the passage of Free Trade and Processing Zone Act in the year 1994 in the small island of Antigua and Barbuda, the licenses were issued to online operations, allowing them to run casinos on the web. Barbuda and Antigua were made one of the most popular licensing jurisdictions in the online gambling industry. Thanks to innovative software developers and broadband connections which pioneered the growth of online gambling. Online casinos have not only made their place into the homes of millions of online players but also into their lives.
There are almost five hundred official gambling sites and the majority of them are online casinos with many affiliates, subsidiaries and franchises. Offering a wide variety of games including, baccarat, Roulette, Video Poker, Craps, Slots, progressive Jackpot games and many more, online casinos generates a huge amount of revenue every year from online gambling. Several people prefer online casinos than to land based casinos as they provide a better house advantage.
After the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act in the year 1994, the world’s biggest online entertainment software supplier, Microgaming was founded. In 1995, ICI or Inc. was the first online casino in the world to be opened by the Internet Casinos. Boasting eighteen casino games, the casino operated out of Caicos and Turks.
The year 1996 witnessed much new advancement in online gambling. The Intertops casino, also known as Intercasino and the Gaming Club were opened. But where the Gaming Club was unsuccessful, Intercasino flourished and managed to build its reputation synonymous with high security, reliability and fast payouts. The first online Sportsbook was introduced by Intertops. However there were mixed reviews regarding this launch. On one hand where the cynics doubted the honesty of the owners and the safety of the monetary transactions, the enthusiastic gamblers were delighted at this new wave of online gambling.
Also in 1996, the mother company of Boss Media, Boss Specialtidningar AB declared that they were working for the development of full service online entertainment venture. Seeing this, Microgaming also started developing their Internet casino technologies and sold all their casinos existing at that time. On the NASDAQ stock exchange, a publicly traded company known as the Interactive Gaming and Communications Corp. (SBET) launched the second online Sportsbook. The intention was to start an online casino. Offering themed games, Atlantis was the first online casino developed by Sol Kerzner. Atlantis received its license to operate legally from Isle of Man.
The subsequent years witnessed a steady growth in online casino industry and more Sportsbook and online casinos emerged with the promise of improved built-in payment features and software programs. With the launch of online progressive jackpot in the year 1998, Microgaming left everyone astonished. Also in 1998, Sullivan and Frost prepared a report which exposed that online gambling had been able to generate huge revenues of about $834.5 million. The main opponent to online gambling, Sen. Jon Kyl launched the Internet Gambling Prohibition Bill which declared online gambling product illegal for the US citizens. However, both the Act and its amended version which was re-launched in 1999 failed to pass.
Again in 1999, Microgaming set an example when they worked together with Price WaterhouseCoopers to report and review on online casino payment percentages. Also in the same year, the first Australian-government authorized online casino, Lasseters, went live. Further online gambling was revolutionized by the Boss Media when they launched their new multi-player software. The intention was to allow multiple players to participate in the same game and at the same chat with each other. By the end of 1999, Christian Capital Advisors proclaimed that there are nearly seven hundred online casinos that allowed the online casino enthusiasts to play with real money.
The new millennium brought a new phase for online casinos. There was an introduction of more Progressive Jackpots. Online casino licenses were offered by the Isle of Man. The Australian Federal Government passed the Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act which made it illegal for any Sportsbook or online casino based in Australia, which was not in function before May 2000, to operate. Under this new Act, Lasseters was the only online casino in Australia that could function legally.