Internet gambling is still relatively new. But this industry has solidified its dominance with a current valuation of more than $40 billion in global value.
From sports betting to playing online slots or poker, people across the nation, and across the globe love to gamble. And this sentiment hit an all-time high with the onslaught of the pandemic. Millions of people were stuck at home, looking for ways to have fun without leaving the couch.
But online betting hasn’t had an easy journey. It’s taken a lot of work to get the industry where it is today. And with only a handful of U.S. states allowing online gambling at the moment, there’s still a long road ahead.
Wondering how internet gambling was born, and where we can expect it to go in the future? Read on below for answers to all your gambling questions.
The Limitations of Pre-Internet Gambling
Before the internet rose to prominence, aspiring gamblers had to drive down to the casino to place a legal wager. For many people, this meant driving hours to get to a casino on a Native American reservation.
And for many others, it meant booking flights to Las Vegas or Jersey City, along with hotels, dinner reservations, and a lot of other expenses.
Gambling before the internet was a commitment, and it cost a lot of money just to get into a casino.
But for people who wanted to bypass the traditional casino experience, and instead spend their money gambling, rather than buying expensive cocktails, internet gambling was a must.
When you visit a gambling website, you can stay home and gamble online against the house, or against other real people. You can even bet against friends if you want to.
You can save hours of time by not having to drive to a casino. And you can save tons of money, allowing you to spend more of your cash on bets, rather than all the extra stuff that comes with a physical casino.
This is what led companies like Microgaming and CryptoLogic to get started.
Early Internet Gambling
The internet starts catching on in the late 90s. And at this time, two companies, Microgaming and CryptoLogic, were launched in Antigua and Barbuda.
Gambling was and is extremely regulated in the US. But thanks to the Free Trade and Processing Act, this tiny Caribbean nation birthed what most people consider to be the first online casinos.
While the actual gameplay dynamics were limited, as were the number of different games offered, the casinos were functional, allowing people to wager and win real money.
Soon, more and more companies started jumping in and launching their own online casinos. The fierce competition pushed the industry forward, leading to constant innovation regarding online payment processing and gaming software.
To compete, companies would offer lucrative signup bonuses to create an account and place a bet with their casino. Games and graphics continued developing, and those early casinos started birthing many of the modern companies we see today.
Poker Paves the Way
In the early 2000s, online poker was born, as a handful of websites tried, yet failed to capture the momentum of online poker. But once sites like PokerStars and PartyPoker were launched, everything changed.
These sites began offering online tournaments and experienced reasonable growth. Then, a gentleman by the name of Chris Moneymaker won a tournament on PokerStars and was invited to the World Series of Poker as a result.
He ended up winning the WSOP, nabbing a $2.5 million prize. His success caused millions of people to start playing poker online, to hopefully follow in his footsteps toward big-money success.
The Rise in Sports Betting
Sports gambling is also extremely popular, even though the legality is still somewhat limited in the United States.
Sports betting was illegal in the United States, except for Nevada, for decades thanks to federal law. But in 2018, this law was overturned, instead of giving individual states jurisdiction over gambling, online gambling, and sports betting.
This came as a direct result of the state of New Jersey trying to legalize sports betting in court for years. It wasn’t until the case was escalated to the Supreme Court that sports betting was finally legalized.
And even though New Jersey won the case, Delaware launched its online sports betting just a few weeks before New Jersey. Many other states would soon launch physical sportsbooks in the coming months.
Then, states like Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and a number of others would legalize online sports betting specifically, letting users place a bet online, instead of having to drive to a casino to wager on their favorite team.
A number of companies would soon emerge as the go-to online sportsbook. DraftKings was the first. But many others, including BetMGM, would get into the game as well.
The MGM brand already has such a positive reputation in the world of gambling, making this a reliable place for many people to place their first online wagers. Check out this BetMGM sportsbook review to see if it’s right for you.
The Latest Iterations of Internet Gambling
Internet gambling is constantly evolving. Sports betting was a huge step forward, and many states are currently working on legislation that would allow it for their residents.
We’re also starting to see more gambling websites accepting cryptocurrency as payment, rather than requiring users to pay with a debit card. Since cryptocurrency is become so common and is much more efficient to use online than cash, it makes sense to offer this to users.
And it’s these crypto casinos that are paving the way forward with provably fair gaming algorithms that ensure their players are treated fairly, unlike traditional casinos.
There are even new websites like Sorare, that support fantasy sports using NFTs to help you build your dream team. Online betting and gaming are experiencing a ton of transformation, and the next few years will be very interesting for those who like to wager online.
This Is Just the Beginning
Internet gambling has a fascinating history. And the story isn’t over yet. While a handful of states have essentially legalized all forms of online gambling, many have yet to make progress, still holding their residents back.
Hopefully, more and more states will join in on the online revolution and allow for their residents to gamble and bet on sporting events if they wish to do so.
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