Every day, a good number of people become a part of the exciting world of online casinos. Brought by the power of the internet, this breakthrough shift in the gambling industry has not only made this game more popular but has helped to turn it into a legitimate industry. According to a report published by Zion Market Research, “the global online gambling & betting market accounted for USD 45.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 94.4 billion globally by 2024, growing at a CAGR of around 10.9% between 2018 and 2024.” Amidst all these developments, have you ever thought how did the online gambling industry come into existence and where it is headed? Well! A genuine player knows his game inside out. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned online casino player, these facts about the evolution and the future growth of online casino games will surely be a matter of fascination for you. So, let us get started.
The online casino industry started in the mid-1990s. By 1994, the internet was completely commercialized and that’s when the Caribbean nation of Barbuda and Antigua first began regulating online gambling. The Free Trade and Processing Act was enacted and passed, followed by licensing provisions for companies that wished to offer gambling services via the internet casinos online. The official start of the online casino was with the first-ever online casino – InterCasino. Established in 1996, it accepted its first real money wager that year and has since then paid approximately $3 billion to the winners. The software used for InterCasino was Cryptologic, a secure financial transaction software provider.
Today, NetEnt is one of the most renowned software providers of the online gaming industry. This Swedish company came into the online gambling scene in 1996 and has been creating some of the most innovative and top-performing casino games along with additional real-world features such as jackpots, slots, a wide variety of table and card games, live dealer games etc. Within a year, the number of online casino websites rose from 15 to more than 200. In 1997, the first internet game server system was installed in Antigua-Barbuda and this growth was followed by multi-player gaming which was launched in 1999. It changed the virtual world of gambling for good by making the sessions fully interactive.
By 2002, online gambling companies’ stocks reached a value of $4.5 billion. This led to the creation of eCogra in the UK. Established in 2003, it was meant to further regulate online gambling and specialise in the certification of the online gaming software and systems.
Among several nations which contributed to the growth of the online gambling industry, Canada’s liberal approach is noteworthy. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which licenses online casinos and Poker sites, originated in Canada and is an aggregator for a number of online casino operators and game developers.
The Present Scenario
With better technology and payment security options, the size of this industry is expected to be more than double in the coming years. As per the latest figures by Statista, the current size of the online casino market is almost 46 billion US dollars in 2019.
These figures may look massive, but that is no surprise when you consider the enormous progress online casinos have made in the last 20 years. Unlike the yesteryears, when the choices were limited, quality of graphics was not up to the mark, and there was virtual minimal setting; today, online casinos have made their offerings as true-to-life as possible, along with the user-friendly interface, and robust security features.
What is Next?
The advent of Bitcoin in 2014 and the launch of Omnia Casino, an AI-based online casino launched in 2018 are two significant events that indicate the future of online casinos. Blockchain Technology has now become a key component of the online gambling industry as most online casinos now support Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments. With its airtight security system, developments in Blockchain Technology make online casinos transparent and safe for both operators and the players.
Graphically too, the story of the evolution of casinos is indeed magnificent. Now live casinos are here to make the players get the feel of being in a land-based casino and creatively designed slots are full of captivating graphics, storytelling and narration that engrosses the players like never before. The cross-device compatibility feature of the casino games makes for a convenient multi-gaming experience wherein players connected through different devices, such as desktops or handheld devices can play together.
Moreover, virtual reality casino games that can detect player actions to continue enhancing their product and services are also becoming a hit among casino players. The first virtual reality casino, SlotsMillion, was launched in 2016, and more innovation is on the way as the technology becomes more sophisticated and demand goes up.
Looks like the online casino industry has a promising future! Are you ready to join in and prosper?