How Online Casino Gambling Started in the USA
The online casino gambling took some interesting turns in the history, especially in the US. Though it may sound surprising, the world of online gambling was not born in the US. In fact, the US is the 5th country to ever legalize this form of gambling. Its popularity continued to surge with the presence of the Intenet.
The birth of the on-line casino gambling industry was first recorded in 1994 in the Carribean nations Antigua and Barbuda. These two countries were the first to issue certificates and permits to allow online casinos to operate. The first online casinos operated 20 years after the first set of gambling software was developed. However, 1994 Microgaming was able to produce the technology primarily used by many successful online gambling websites of today.
The Online Casino Gambling Industry in the US
By the turn of the new millennium, a growing number of Internet poker gaming sites experienced a a big legal roadblock. The immense popularity of poker in the US was one of the reasons that the Congressional lawmakers had to find ways to regulate the game better. However, these lawmakers passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The enactment of this policy has brought about the confusions to many active players and operators on online casino gambling site in the US. To avoid any potential legal problems, some of the Internet gambling sites chose to shut down their operation. While others chose to stay active, they were forced to exclude gamers based in the US.
The confusion escalated when public information on UIGEA resurfaced highlighting its objective to block any payment processing for players living in the US. Although it was clearly to regulate the companies that regular payments, there was still inevitable impact on the overall operation of these online casino gambling sites which led to enormous losses in revenue.
Although the policy was put in place, there were still a few sites that continued to operate and accommodate US-based players. Some of these sites are Absolute Poker, Poker Stars, and Full Tilt Poker. However, the ‘operation’ did not long for a long time as they were eventually cracked down. The US government had ordered for complete shut down of the websites. In the online gaming community, the event was dubbed ‘ Black Friday’. The same term is now associated with any underground poker games.
On July 2006, the US government ordered the arrest of Mr. David Caruthers, the CEO of BetOnSports. The website was one of the fastest growing online gambling sites then and its CEO’s arrest has sent a clear message to the entire gambling community in the US. Mr. Caruthers faced a number of legal charges, including a big lawsuit on tax evasion. This has led to more crackdowns and lawsuits involving other pertinent figures in the world of online gaming.
The government also responded to the critics of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) after several sites had completely shut down. The US government also reiterated that the Act was significant as it can ultimately prevent any terrorist organization to use these online gaming platforms to launder money. This was also an important step following the infamous 9/11 attack.
On the 13th of October in 2006, the UIGEA was finally signed and became a law. All financial institutions in the US were then prohibited to process payments or transfer money on behalf of any US-based players. This resulted in a huge problem prompting my US players to withdraw their online accounts. The US government also made some exceptions. The law does not apply to state-run lotteries, fantasy sports, and horse-racing.
The online casino gambling, particularly with poker, continued to prosper in some parts of the US. However, these sites have to continue accommodating players in other parts of the North Ameica., Europe, and even in the Carribean. There are now some on-going attempts to reinterpret and amend the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Certain states are also now rethinking of ways on how making online poker completely legal so as to attract for revenues for the locality. It is also important to highlight that US-based players are the biggest contributors to this industry. They represent almost two-thirds of the players in the whole world and their contribution has reached over $2.2 billion by the year 2000 alone.
Apart from the roadblocks experienced by the online casino gambling sites in the US, there were also legal issues faced by other countries.
The Online Casino Gambling Industry and Technology
The growing numbers of online casino gambling sites and players also stem from the ubiquity of technology. The influence of technology in the industry can be seen in three different facets. Firstly, the development and continuous improvement of gaming software provide an ameliorated gambling experience. Secondly, technology has also strengthened the connectivity of people, making these gaming platforms highly accessible. The third aspect is the presence of an encryption facility which tightens the security of the players, making them more at ease with playing on-line.
Trends in the Online Gaming Today in North America
At present, there are about 85 countries worldwide that legalized online gaming. In the US and in some parts of the globe, online gambling has become more just as a form of entertainment or hobby. In countries like the US and Canada, their governments have also put up watchdog groups and commissions to keep an eye on the online casino gambling industry.
In the US, the profile of the players is now changing. In the first 7-8 years of the online casino gambling surge, the players were predominantly men between the ages of 25 and 35. However, this has radically changed. With the presence of the Internet and all technological devices, people of different age groups have started to gain more access and interest in online gaming.
As per a research conducted by GP Bullhound, the number of female players has grown by as much as 43% since 2009. Female players demonstrate a different kind of gaming behavior which has made the online gambling even more interesting. With these changes, one can expect the online casino gambling industry to grow further.