Online gambling hasn’t been around particularly long – 30-odd years, give or take – but even with its relatively short history, online gambling has changed dramatically. What started off as a niche market has grown into a massive global industry worth billions and billions of dollars.
Indeed, this transformation has largely been fueled by advancements in technology as well as shifting consumer preferences and changing regulations.
But, how exactly has online gambling changed over the last 20 years? Well, to answer that, we’re first going to have a look at where it all began, and then we’ll delve into the ways in which the industry has evolved.
How Did Online Gambling Start?
Online gambling has a relatively recent history in comparison to traditional forms of gambling (unsurprisingly). It was in the 1990s that online casinos were born. In fact, in 1994, the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act – this allowed companies to apply for licenses that would allow them to offer online gambling services.
It was this act that paved the way for the establishment of the first ever online casinos. It wasn’t long after this that the first ever online casino was established. Named “the Gaming Club”, it was launched by Microgaming – a software development company – in 1994, and it offered a limited selection of casinos games. In these early days, users were required to download the software onto their computers to be able to play.
As time went on, the world saw loads of technological advancements and the internet infrastructure also continued to improve. As a result, online gambling platforms became far more accessible and user-friendly, and the establishment of secure online payment methods and encryption technology also helped to establish trust within the community and the industry at large.
It wasn’t long before online gambling expanded far beyond casinos to include sports betting and other types of gambling. Unsurprisingly, this diversification of offerings attracted a broader audience, increasing the industry even more.
But as the online gambling industry continued to get larger and more popular (and more successful), many countries started to raise concerns about regulations. Some nations embraced the industry and introduced regulations to be able to control online gambling. However, others imposed strict bans – some were blanket bans for all online gambling, while others were a little bit more specific. This led to a complicated and fragmented global landscape of online gambling regulations.
While people were battling with regulations, software continued to evolve, providing players with increasingly realistic and engaging experiences. Graphics, animations, and sound effects just got better and better, enhancing the overall game experience. Consequently, the industry gained popularity worldwide, with players from various countries participating in virtual casinos and sports betting events, and the industry’s global revenue grew significantly – and very quickly too.
From there, the online gambling industry diversified and there were loads of new ways in which people could participate. The advent of smartphones and mobile apps further revolutionized online gambling. Live dealer games also become popular in the 2000s, bringing an interactive element to the industry.
Most recently, the online gambling industry has seen the integration of cryptocurrency – indeed, many online gambling platforms have started to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which provides faster transactions as well as a new level of anonymity for players.
These days, online ambling is a massive industry with countless websites and apps that offer a massive range of betting options. It continues to evolve, especially with new technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) promising to further enhance the online gambling experience.
Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of online gambling over the last two decades.
The Evolution of Online Gambling Over the Last Two Decades
As we’ve seen, the online gambling industry has transformed from what used to be a niche market into a global industry that’s worth billions of dollars. This evolution has been fueled by a variety of factors, including things like shifting consumer preferences, changing regulations and, arguably most importantly, technological advancements.
Let’s have a look at the top ways in which online gambling has changed in the last 20 years.
From Dingy Rooms to the Internet
The move of gambling casinos to the internet has resulted in a massive change for the industry, completely altering the social aspect. These days, you can either gamble at a casino, or you can do so online in the comfort of your own home – or just about anywhere else you like!
The Mobile Revolution
Gambling online has gone beyond just desktop computer accessibility. For the last decade or so, it’s been available on mobile phone or tablet at Jumba Bet and other licensed sites. This makes online gambling even easier to enjoy, any time, any place!
The Boom of Sports Betting
It’s not just classic gambling that’s available online either. Sports betting has also boomed over the last 20 years, becoming a major source of revenue for many countries and businesses.
Changes in Regulations
As the online gambling industry has grown significantly in recent years, the necessity of regulations has also increased. Each country or in some case, state, has the opportunity to regulate gambling the ay choose, and this differs across the globe.
The Introduction of Crypto and Blockchain
These days, cryptocurrencies are a valid method of payment on many online gambling platforms, and they allow for fast transactions as well as anonymity – two things that weren’t possible before.
The Rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Technological advancements in things like virtual reality and augmented reality have allowed for the world of online gaming to change quite drastically – the possibilities are endless. These technologies allow for more creativity in the industry.
The advent of online gambling has made gambling more accessible than before. Because it’s more accessible, there’s been an increase in social gambling – that is, gambling that’s far less competitive.
Data Analytics and AI
Businesses can use artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to help ensure that they’re running their operations as effectively and efficiently as possible. Because gambling is happening online, this technology can easily be used to conduct research and improve player experiences.