The Evolution of Online Casinos
Online casinos have now been around for more than two decades. In 1996 there were just 15 online gambling sites – by 2018, there were approximately 2,800 online casinos. The rise of online casinos seems unstoppable with more players than ever taking advantage of the ability to gamble from the comfort of their own homes.
This means that there’s no better time than 2020 to start using online casinos – with the coronavirus pandemic leading to a further rise in the options available out there.
Where it all started
It is largely agreed that the year of 1994 was pivotal for the creation of online casinos. The first online casino was created by a company on the Isle of Mann. This casino was called The Gaming Club and was an instant hit at the time. Also in 1994, Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act which allowed organisations to apply for licences to open online casinos.
These two events sparked a new wave of popularity for casinos with players flocking to use the newly accessible world of online casinos.
Online casinos in the 1990s
Another key development of the 1990s was the introduction of secure online financial transactions. This came from the creation of CryptoLogic Limited, a company that was the brainchild of two brothers from Canada in 1995. This software meant that online casinos were not just a convenient place to gamble but also a safe place to invest money.
It has been argued that from this time online casinos became even more secure than brick and mortar casinos as it became possible to gamble with large sums of money without have to carry the cash around in public.
From 1994 the popularity of online casinos went from strength to strength – a testament to their popularity even at the very early days of the internet. By 1996 the number of online casinos had risen to 15 and then on to 200 by 1997. It was clear by the end of the 1990s that online gambling was hugely popular – and here to stay.
The skyrocketing number of sites was driven by the competition in the market. As popularity and profits grew, online casinos began striving to provide the most variety, highest rewards and to be the best in the market. Competition increased as brick and mortar casinos realised that they needed a presence on the internet to keep their edge on the market.
These early days of online casinos are where the idea of welcome bonuses came from. Casinos knew they needed to offer something that others wouldn’t to entice new players to their site.
Live Dealer Games
The variety of games and game styles available in online casinos grew and with that came better graphics, sound quality and seamless gameplay. As online casinos continued to develop, consumers became hungry for different experiences. There was also a significant contingent of gamblers who preferred the old ways of playing face to face against a person they could see and speak to.
As video streaming gained popularity in the 2000s online casinos started to introduce live dealer games. This was truly instrumental in merging the best experiences of online and brick and mortar casinos. As technologies advanced the ability of online casinos to imitate the experience of a brick and mortar casino grew too.
The invention and prevalence of mobile phones again brought fresh innovation to the online gambling experience. Their portability meant that online casinos could be accessed wherever there was the internet.
Following hotly on the heels of mobile phones came the rise of mobile apps which became as widely used as the internet. Brick and mortar casinos and online casinos alike rushed to make their websites mobile-friendly and launch their own apps, ushering in an age of gambling on the go.
Online casinos in 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown up new challenges but also new opportunities for the gambling industry. While brick and mortar casinos are on the decline, the popularity of online casinos has skyrocketed. New casino sites are opening every day catering to every style and niche.
Slots games have particularly benefited from the rise in new players that coronavirus has lead to. With their ease of play they make the ideal starter game for new gamblers. Their popularity with veteran gamblers also shows no signs of waning. The simplicity of the game is timeless, as evidence by their popularity for well over 100 years.
New slots games are being released daily with variety for players to choose from never better. If you feel like the time is right for you to get into online casinos, try looking at new online slots to get started.
As the internet brought the gambling experience directly to people’s living rooms, the huge popularity has kept online gaming technology on the cutting edge. From payment methods to gameplay itself, online casinos have become innovative, quality places to spend time.
Anyone who has played at an online casino over the past decade will know that the quality of graphics, animation, usability and interactivity has skyrocketed, whether you are playing on mobile or browser.
With the sheer level of competition amongst online casinos, this trend for quality online gambling is only set to continue.
The future of online casinos
Online gambling has been one way that the nation has coped with coronavirus, and the amount of free time many of us have on our hands as we continue to socially distance and work from home.
Online casinos are uniquely placed in the gambling industry to weather the coronavirus pandemic. Whether this popularity will endure in the years to come is unsure. As the recession caused by the pandemic deepens, we may start to see a more tangible impact on the online gambling industry, with gamblers able to spare less money for casinos.
What is sure is that online casinos aren’t going anywhere. They endured the 2008 recession and are very likely to continue for years to come.