You basically can’t open the internet nowadays without stumbling over an online casino. They are everywhere. But they also have changed quite a bit over the past quarter century since their inception. We want to have a look at how they started out and which aspects were added along the way to get where online casinos are today.
From One-Armed Bandits to Sports Betting
The first online casinos cropped up in the mid-90s and around the same time one of the largest providers of gambling software even today, Microgaming started rising to prominence as well.
In the beginning most online casinos operated out of Antigua and Barbados since the island offered the necessary licenses thanks to their Free Trade and Processing Act. Starting out, it is needless to say that the selection of games was nothing compared to what we see today.
Most of the games were replicas of simple slot machines that you would also find in land-based casinos. This obviously wasn’t helped by the fact that the internet itself wasn’t what it is today either. No ultra-fast connection and flat rates left in right in the nineties.
Still, by the end of 1996, there were already around 15 online gambling sites operating and only a year later that number had shot up to more than 200 online casinos and things snowballed from there.
Sports betting on the rise
With more and more online gambling sites operating, they each had to outdo themselves to gain the upper hand in the fierce competition. Therefore, they started to implement new games such as online poker and other table games.
But it was the progression to sports betting that really had casinos taking off into the stratosphere. InterTops was the first platform that offered an online sportsbook in 1996, but they were most certainly not the last.
Within two years, some of the world’s biggest bookmakers went online and implemented online gambling sites. Among them were such big names as William Hill and Ladbrokes. The bonuses that were offered by them in the beginning were insane, but also a great way to get people to try out online sports betting.
In the meantime, the bonus offers have increased a bit and while there was a time where sports betting and online casinos were almost inseparable, nowadays, there are a lot of sites where those two verticals are marketed separately since the operators also know that often a jack of all trades is a master of none.
Mobile Gaming and Gamification pave the way into the new Millennium
When it comes to trends and new developments nowadays, usa online casino are really putting out all the stops.
The bonus offers are getting ever more creative, but players have also noticed that it sometimes can be better to play without a bonus, so the casinos are putting up forfeitable bonuses to accommodate that.
Even more important is the move to mobile devices though. More and more players don’t want to be shackled to their desktop PC or even their laptop. A majority of players now prefer to get their online gambling done on small mobile devices such as their phones and tablets.
For the longest time, online casinos provided native apps that players could download if they wanted to go a round in the casino on the go. But nowadays, casino websites tend to be perfectly optimized for mobile play and touchscreen navigation.
Another aspect that has gained more and more importance over the last years is gamification. Players want to feel valued and sometimes need incentives to stay motivated. If casinos over a level system or experience points that can be collected simply by playing the games for real money and which can then be exchanged for bonuses and other benefits, players tend to stay more engaged.
What does the future bring?
With all the developments online casinos have already gone through, it stands to reason that this is all just the tip of the iceberg.
Things like virtual reality casinos are already in experimental operation and it’s only a matter of time until this feature bringing the real casino experience to players’ homes will become more widespread.
Pay’n Play casinos where players can gamble for real money without having to register are also on the rise and will surely only gain in popularity. We can only imagine what the online casino industry has in store for us in the future, but we sure can’t wait to find out.