The history of iGaming is filled with interesting facts and figures. As an industry, it has come a long way in a relatively short time. While different aspects have been around for centuries, the digital age has brought innovations and ways to play with it.
That’s why in this article, we look at the history of iGaming to discover just how far game technology has come in terms of online casinos and betting sites. From the earliest signs of a lottery in 159 BC to the release of video slot games on desktop computers back in the roaring nineties, there’s a lot to unearth about the world of virtual gambling.
Ancient Rome – The Earliest Lottery
As far as we can tell, the earliest recorded lottery occurred in Ancient Rome. In this lottery, each person put their name in a pot and drew out one word randomly. The person whose name was selected would then have to kill himself as part of a religious ceremony. Regarding gambling, lotteries have been around for hundreds of years and remain popular today.
1991 – The Birth of Video Slots
If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent many nights playing some of your favorite slot games at the casino. You might not know it, but the first ever video slot game was released in 1991. That first game was nothing short of revolutionary.
It paved the way for hundreds of other games and has been included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. However, most modern slot games feature the same format, so you’re sure to have a blast no matter which game you play.
2001 - First Online Casinos and Live Games
The first online casinos and live games weren’t released onto the internet until 2001. To put that into context, “Livin’ la Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin was number one on the music charts. After that, the online gambling industry was relatively small, and most people accessed online casinos from their desktop computers. Then, in 2003, online casinos began to take off.
This year, the number of casino games sites doubled to over 2,000. This was primarily thanks to the rise in popularity of free spins, no-deposit bonuses, and other types of free money that gamblers could use to play online games.
2011 – Responsible Gambling Initiatives
The history of iGaming was largely unregulated until 2011, when various governments began to step in. This resulted in various responsible gambling initiatives being introduced to protect both players and the wider public. These included ID verification processes and attempts to block under-aged players from accessing online casinos.
While these initiatives were designed to protect players, they also resulted in the growth of regulated online gambling. As more countries began to regulate online casinos, more online casinos started to be licensed.
2014 - eSports and Live Streaming
While most people associate eSports with computer games, they’ve been around for quite a while. However, they didn’t become massively popular until the early 2010s, when significant sports websites began to show live streams of eSports events.
This resulted in a massive rise in the popularity of eSports. It also resulted in iGaming providers starting to offer eSports betting. This is because eSports are often played on online gaming software platforms such as online casinos and online poker rooms.
2016 – Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in iGaming
At the start of this decade, iGaming began using blockchain technology. This technology is associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. To this day, most cryptocurrencies are decentralized. This means that any one government or organization does not control them. Because blockchain technology is decentralized, online casinos that use it are not required to be regulated by a government or organization.
As a result, they can offer services to players worldwide without being regulated by local laws. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the rise of what is known as “rogue casinos.” These are casinos that use the blockchain in an attempt to remain unlicensed and outside of government control.
Now that we have discussed the past, maybe we should consider the future too. One thing is clear: online casinos are some of the most popular forms of entertainment today and will become more confident in tapping new markets and promoting products unavailable in brick-and-mortar casinos. With revolutionary technology available to support them, this growing market is just beginning to show us what it can really do.