It’s always a humbling experience when we stop for a while and look around us. Half of the things we take for granted today were just the stuff of dreams and ambitions just a few decades ago. Take online casinos, for example. How many people wake up, open their computers, log into an online casino, and proceed to play the day away?
Back then, people had to go to Las Vegas just so they could play at a casino. They would travel for miles and miles just to play a single game of blackjack or baccarat. You really have to appreciate how people succeeded in making this happen.
In the Beginning…
Online Casinos started cropping up during the mid 1990’s, although there’s much debate as to who exactly opened the first one. Many believe it to be ‘InterCasino’, an online gambling site which opened in 1996. However, there are some that believe that it was actually ‘Gaming Club’, which opened in October 1995.
It is not unlikely that this is the truth, considering how Microgaming, the owner of the said site, is also the first online gambling software provider to be established. Either way, these new online casinos only received their go signal when Antigua and Barbuda passed an act called the “Free Trade and Processing Act”. This allowed online casinos to open at the said country without fear of litigation.
Of course, though the online casinos were based in the Caribbean, the bulk of their users resided elsewhere in the world. And, due to the very nature of the internet itself, this made all the users prone to exploitation.
This prompted the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to be established in 1996. They regulated the online gaming activity of people and casinos and also issue gaming licenses to the online gambling sites. They aim to keep the online gambling industry transparent and fair. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is based in Canada and, up still provide excellent service to casinos and the users alike.
By the late 1990’s, online casinos were already very much established. However, connectivity issues were rampant and the action in general was rather slow due to the lack of bandwidth. It was only until after the new millennium that this issue was solved. But by then, online casinos had new problems.
It is impossible to talk about the history of online casinos without talking about the legal fiasco that happened in 2005. Antigua and the US were in a dispute over cross border online gambling.
The World Trade Organization decided to side with Antigua and, as a result, the US passed the UIGEA. This was a last minute addition to their Safe Port Act. The act made it incredibly hard for online gambling sites to cater to the US, so a lot of them just decided to close their doors to US citizens altogether.
Even until now, this piece of legislation is still under debate, especially since it hurt not only the online casinos but the US players as well. There’s a change in the legal climate these days, though, since the European Union seems to be rather supportive of the online gambling industry.
There’s even talk that the US is considering some concessions. Either way, it seems that Online Casinos not only have a colorful past, but a great future ahead too.