Below we’ve compiled a brief, yet informative, chronology of the development of the online gambling industry. Over the past 2-3 years the industry has experience a HUGE upsurge in popularity so events during this time are a bit harder to identify and remark upon (too numerous to adequately identify!! Thing have been happening INCREDIBLY fast!). Nonetheless, the timeline below should provide you with a idea of how the industry began and how it evolved to what it is today.
– The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act, 1994 is passed by gov’t of Antigua Barbuda. Many online casinos and sports books today operate under licenses granted pursuant to this legislation and Antigua Barbuda remains one of the online gambling industries most popular licensing jurisdictions.
– Microgaming, one of the internet casino industry’s first and largest software developers and suppliers, is founded.
– CryptoLogic is founded with the goal of developing a series a software package that can securely and effectively process transactions.
– Boss Specialtidningar AB, Boss Media’s parent company, begins to develop a system for casino operations on the Internet.
– Microgaming sells off existing casino operations and concentrates on developing of internet casino technologies.
– Cryptologic begins developing the first E-cash and gaming application
– InterCasino goes online in October 1996, claiming to be the first internet casino to accept a real money wager online.
– Boss Casinos system development work is transferred to Boss Media AB. The game server system is located in Antigua & Barbuda, in the West Indies, one of the few countries in the world willing to sanction Internet gaming operations at that time.
– Microgaming launches Cash Splash, the Internet’s first progressive jackpot slot.
– Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the US Congress’ primary opponent to online gambling introduces the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, designed to make it illegal for any company to offer an online gambling product to US citizens. The bill eventually fails to pass.
– Frost and Sullivan report that online gambling industry generated $834.5 million in revenue in 1998.
– Boss Media signs its first license agreement with an external customer.
– Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), reintroduces a revised Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, designed to make it illegal for any company to offer an online gambling product to US citizens. The revised bill also fails to pass.
– Microgaming forms a deal with a big five auditing firm (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) to review and report on casino payout percentages.
– The first Australian Government licensed internet casino, Lasseter’s, goes online. Lasseter’s operates under license from the Northern Territory Government, which moved quickly to legislate for and offer licenses to online casinos. .
– As of September 1999, Christian Capital Advisors estimated that there were approximately 700 casinos taking money bets over the Internet
– Boss Media takes the online gambling world by storm with the release of its new gaming software platform with multi-player functionality, allowing multiple players to play the same game at once, and chat to each other while at the virual gaming table.
– The Australian Federal Government passes its Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act, making it illegal for any Australian Based online casino or sports book operators not already licensed and operating prior to May 2000, from operating. Lasseters Online is the only Australian based Internet casino able to operate under the new legislation.
– Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) introduces a new Internet Gambling Prohibition Act to the US House of Representatives. The bill fails to attract the required two thirds majority vote to pass
– Cryptologic’s annual report claims that the number of customers who have used its electronic payment system for online betting has climbed to 680,000 since operations began in 1996.
– The UK sovereign territories of Gibraltar and the Isle of Man offer online sports betting licenses.
– Cryptologic lists on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CRYP.
– Results of a survey published in PRNewswire (22 March 2001) claims that around 8 million people had already gambled with real money online at that time.
– The Nevada legislature passes a bill opening the way for licensed online casinos to operate out of Nevada. It is estimated that it will still be a year or two before the drafting of license regulations and agreement from the US Department of Justice will allow the granting of the first licenses.
– An online casino player wins $414,119 playing a slot game at The Sands of the Caribbean online casino. This is the largest internet progressive jackpot win to date.
– Alderney (British Channel Islands) passes legislation for Interactive Gambling, and the Alderney Commission is now in a position to accept license applications.
– The Gambling Review Report is released in the UK. Subject to rounds of negotiations before its recommendations become law, the review encourages legalizing all forms of online gambling, which would make Britain one of the few OECD countries to allow it.
– A bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va that would update a 40-year-old law banning telephone wagers (the Wire Act) to cover Internet betting, and online casinos in particular, was passed unanimously by the U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on crime. The bill now moves to the full Judiciary Committee for consideration, and if passed there, on to the House and then the Senate for final approval.
– The first ever $1 million+ online casino jackpot was won on 30 May. A lucky player playing the Microgaming progressive slot game Major Millions at Captain Cooks Casino wins a massive $1,594,649.
– Yet another Anti-gambling bill is passed by the US House of Representatives. This Bill makes it illegal for payment processing companies (credit card, bank wire etc) to facilitate online gambling transactions.
– Chris Moneymaker shocks the poker world and takes home $2.5 million as the winner in the 2003 World Series of Poker after having practiced and played exclusively online beforehand.
– The World Trade Organization sides FOR the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda in its WTO case against the US, ruling that US laws concerning online gaming are unlawful.
– Microgaming games portfolio exceeds 250!
– Poker craze takes hold as a result of the online craze (and its popularity increases that of the online variety!) through the emergence of several TV programs and prominently advertised tournaments featuring celebrities and amateurs.
– Microgaming progressive jackpot total exceeds $160,000,000 and has over 5,000 winners.
– PartyGaming (owner of biggest online casino site – PartyPoker.com) floats on the London Stock Exchange and represents biggest flotation in the City in over 4 years and the move eventually propels PartyGaming into the FTSE 100.