It’s history, but not as we know it: the web’s oldest online casinos

  • If you think casino history is boring, think again
  • Many of the oldest online casinos are still up and running today

When you look at the vast history of mankind and the 4,000-year-old role that gambling has played within that history, it can seem almost laughable to think about the short lifespan of online casinos.

Early online casino
There were online casinos over 20 years ago? Yes, although it’s fair to say that technology has come a little way since then. Remember this anyone…

The internet has been available for public use for just under 30 years, but online casinos have been up and running almost since the dawn of the internet. Considering the major role that the internet plays in our lives nowadays, we can safely say that those of us who remember the very first online casinos have actually seen history in the making, which is definitely not something to scoff about.

Microgaming is king

If you’re a slots fan you’re undoubtedly familiar with Microgaming, and it turns out that the developer is as experienced as it is prolific in terms of its involvement with online slots.

In 1994, Antigua and Barbuda passed a landmark law called the Free Trade and Processing act, which allowed companies to obtain licenses to start online casinos. It was Microgaming, based in the Isle of Man, who developed the first gambling software.

Gaming Club Casino was subsequently the first online casino established under the Caribbean law, making it the oldest casino online today – and you can still play there to this day. In 1998, Microgaming launched the first progressive jackpot slot, called Cash Splash, further cementing its role in slots history.

Cryptologic comes in close second

Launched in 1996, InterCasino was the first online casino to offer real money gambling, which makes it another important online casino in history. InterCasino was powered by Cryptologic, which developed the a safe encryption system for real money transactions online, which also gave Microgaming a healthy dose of competition. InterCasino still enjoys a reputation today as a well-respected place to bet online.

Poker and sportsbetting

Intertops, established in 1996, is another online casino that’s enjoyed a long history and is still up and running to this day. Intertops was also the first online casino to offer sports betting, and in 2002 with the advent of online live betting, the online sports betting world became increasingly competitive, opening the door for the great sign-up features we enjoy today such as free spins or no-deposit welcome and sign-up bonuses. Online poker first appeared in 1998 on a site called Poker Planet, which enjoyed a huge number of players despite the limitations of dial-up.

The online gambling industry is now estimated to be worth approximately $35 billion. Nowadays you can play almost every one of your favourite casino games on your mobile device, and there are hundreds of online casinos to choose from, rather than the fifteen or so that were available in 1996.

Despite a number of legal roadblocks in the USA and other countries, online gambling has been made legal in over 85 countries, and was legalised in the UK in 2001. The online casino world has come an amazingly long way in a short 20 years; who knows what it will bring to the table in the future?

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