A Brief History of Internet Gambling

While casino expansion seems to be exploding a rounding the country, there is a another place where gambling is growing at an unexpected rate – online.  The first online casino began operation in 1995 with an offering of eighteen online games, and since then the industry has boomed.  This phenomena has truly revolutionized gambling, allowing gamblers to place wagers on all sorts of games and events from the comfort of their home.  And while it has been unlawful to bet online, Americans have still found ways to participate in online gambling.

Almost every single internet gambling site is physically located offshore. These sites offer all types of gambling games, from traditional card games to lotteries to sports wagering.

However, there have been some events that have changed the way online gambling is funded.  To start to regulate, and eventually end online gambling, most major American credit companies now prohibit payments to online gambling services. These policies are mostly self-implemented due to the high risk of fraud and bad debt in the online gaming industry.

After credit card companies banned online gambling credit, gamblers began to use online payment providers such as Paypal with increasing frequency.  However, more pressure was exerted on the ability for Americans to use such services and gamble online with real money, so most foreign online casinos refused American gamblers.  Government wins, momentarily.

Recently, the European Union has ruled in favor of online gambling companies according to their restraint of trade rules, permitting European companies to continue offering online gambling to all member states of the EU. And many jurisdictions within Europe, such as the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man offer online gambling licensing services, along with the long standing licensing locations of Canada and the Caribbean.  In 2008, South Africa and Italy joined the long list of countries to introduce legislation to regulate and endorse online gambling as a perfectly legal form of adult entertainment.

Mobile gambling inside the casinos is also an option being looked at.  At Borgata, in Atlantic City, you can gamble from your hotel room.  While the offerings are limited, you could basically gamble on blackjack in your hotel room much like states have Keno available.

My next post will take a look at where online gambling may be headed, and a specific look at how it includes and may impact New England “brick-and-mortar” casinos.

That’s all for now.




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