Internet gambling first became possible at the beginning of 1990s when it became clear that the development of computer graphics and transaction processing has the Internet’s potential for gambling. There were two key innovations enabled the rapid growth of Internet wagering:
- 1994 - development of the first Internet gambling software by Microgaming, a software company now licensed and incorporated in the Isle of Man.
- 1995 - development of encrypted communication protocols by Cryptologic, which provided secure online monetary transactions.
In 1994, the government of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade&Processing Zone Act, which act created a legal jurisdiction for operating online casinos. And already in 1995 the first online casino began to play for fun. The title of first online casino is claimed by both The Gaming Club and Intercasino. Players placed bets by toll-free telephone numbers. The first case of money wagered over the Internet was purchasing of International Lottery tickets for a manual drawing that occurred on October 7, 1995, in Lichtenstein and after that in 1996 the first money wager on casino games is attributed in January 1996 to Intercasino.
1996-97 was a period of rapid online gambling expansion. Other Caribbean islands began hosting first online casino sites. 1997 Microgaming released the first progressive online slot machine, Cash Splash Slots. In 1998 were established fist internet Bingo site with really cash prizes and first poker site.
Total Number of Internet Gambling Sites
During 1997, Internet gambling increases from an 15 sites at the end of 1996 to more than 700 by the end of 1998. There are approximately 700 online casinos, processing real-money operations in several currencies and producing revenues between $835 million to $1 billion ( US players contributing 2/3 of the total revenue!)
In 2006 when revenue was $10.9 billion UIGEA passed in the United States, and forced to leave US market many online brands. The Biggest software provider who on the back of the US market were able to achieve levels of expertise and financial success moved into new markets and invented new online technologies.
As of June 30, 2012, there were 2,848 Internet gambling websites: online casinos, poker rooms, sports- or race-betting sites, online bingo sites, lottery sites owned by 700 different companies.
Many Online gambling companies create multiple websites and brands, affiliates sites and other in exchange for a share of the revenue generated from the marketing of the those sites. As of 2011, the most prevalent of these third-party sites and providers included New Wager Gaming Technology ( 1 site) , Playtech (177 sites), RTG ( 320 sites), Rival ( 170 sites), Microgaming (169 sites), Electracade (115 sites), 24hNetwork (98 sites), Net Entertainment (93 sites), and Cryptologic (105 sites).