It’s always a humbling experience when we pause and take a look at us. Half of the things we take for granted today are just things that were dreamed and ambitions decades ago. Take online casinos, for example. How many people wake up, open their computer, log into an online casino, and continue playing all day?
In the past, people had to go to Las Vegas from in order to play at the casino. They will travel for miles just to play one game of blackjack or baccarat. You really have to appreciate how people manage to make it happen.
Online Casinos started popping up during the mid-1990s, although there is much debate about who actually opened the first. Many believe that it is the ‘InterCasino’, an online gambling site that opened in 1996. However, there are some who believe that it is actually the ‘Gaming Club’ which opened in October 1995.
It is not impossible that this is the truth, considering how Microgaming, the owner of the site, was also the first online gambling software provider to be established. Either way, this new online casino only received an entry signal when Antigua and Barbuda passed a law called the “Free Trade and Processing Act”. This allows online casinos to open in the country without fear of litigation.
Of course, even though online casinos are based in the Caribbean, most of their users live elsewhere in the world. And, due to the nature of the internet itself, this leaves all users vulnerable to exploitation.
This prompted the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to be formed in 1996. They regulate the online gaming activities of people and casinos and also issue gaming licenses to online gambling sites. They aim to keep the online gambling industry transparent and fair. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is based in Canada and, Facebook still provides an excellent service to casinos and users.
By the late 1990s, online casinos were very well established. However, connectivity issues are rampant and actions in general are a bit slow due to lack of bandwidth. It was only until after the new millennium that this problem was solved. But back then, online casinos had a new problem.
It is impossible to talk about the history of online casinos without talking about the legal failure that occurred in 2005. Antigua and the US are 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 is a last minute addition to their Safe Port Act. These actions made it very difficult for online gambling sites to serve the US, so many of them decided to close their doors to US citizens altogether.
Even today, this law is still debated, mainly because it does not only harm online casinos but also US players. However, there has been a change in the legal climate of late, as the European Union seems somewhat supportive of the online gambling industry.
There is even talk that the US is considering some concessions. Either way, it seems that Online Casinos have not only a colorful past, but a bright future as well.