The history of gambling online in the USA
The act of gambling online relates to placing bets on a particular event of an activity. The bet relates to the outcome of the game. Placing bets over the internet is known as online gambling. It is also referred to as internet gambling. A significant portion of the population is engaged in online gaming in the US and it is considered to be one the most popular forms of entertainment.
It all started in 1994 when Antigua and Barbuda passed an act called the Free Trade and Processing act for people setting up online gaming sites. Licenses were issued to operate the sites and remain in the business of gambling online. The terms and conditions of the act were favorable. This resulted in responses from many interested entrepreneurs. People with sharp business acumen saw a huge untapped market ready to be captured.
Some important points related to internet gambling in the United States
- First casino
The first ever online gambling casino to be introduced to the public was basin in the Isle of Man, which was backed by Microgaming software solutions. The site was secured by security solutions from CryptoLogic, which was known to be one of the leading security solution providers on the web during that time. Customers were impressed by the security standards maintained by the Isle of Man.
- Kahnawake Commission
The year 1996 was an iconic year as the Kahnawake Commission was established to regulate gambling on the internet. This commission was from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. It was responsible for verifying the business proposals submitted by entrepreneurs. They were responsible for authenticating these proposals and granting them the license to operate gambling online activities. The Commission was liberal enough to grant licenses to several gambling organizations in a fair and transparent manner. This initiative was the first of its kind.
- Rise in the number of sites
Much later, online gambling activity gained popularity during the late 1990’s. There was a steady growth in the number of online gambling halls. The number rose from 15 websites in 1996 to close to 200 websites by 1997. A research report submitted by Frost and Sullivan depicted that the overall revenues from online gambling activities had increased in leaps and bounds. It had shot up to $830 million in 1998. This was the first time digitized poker rooms were introduced to the public.
All this soon came to a sudden halt when the Federal Authorities decided to ban online gambling activities altogether. The market landscape underwent a drastic change after the introduction of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act in 1999. This act took a back seat as it was not passed. The industry came back with a bang after this. Multiplayer gambling online games were introduced in the same year. This was the beginning of a whole new era of interactive online games. Players could interact with each other through interesting chat games.
- Gambling Moratorium Act, 2000
The Americans were enthusiastic about gambling online. The Australian Federal Government was the first to illegalize online gambling activities by passing the Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act in the year 2000. This new legislation meant that nobody had the authority to go against this mandate and any activity related to gambling would be termed illegal if caught. American casinos started playing safe by not accepting players from Australia to avoid any legal hassle. This development in the industry came as a rude shock but didn’t really have much impact on the American gambling sector.
The industry witnessed unprecedented growth in gambling online in the beginning of 2001. Close to 8 million people were engaged in online gaming activities. This was one of the biggest benchmarks in the industry. They had managed to achieve this tremendous growth in their user base despite legislative issues and lawsuits filed against such activities, which were termed nefarious by many.
This was the time for the introduction of new reforms on gambling online activities. Technological changes led to the roll out of newer forms of online gambling activities like scratch cards, video lotteries, terminal keno etc. These changes marked the beginning of the early 20th century. As a result, gambling on the web turned out to be one of the most popular forms of digital entertainment.
Online poker was one of the iconic games that received a tremendous response from the patrons. Some of the most popular variants of poker included Texas Holdem, Omaha, horse, seven card, razz etc. Several tournaments and cash games got the maximum support from their players.
- Sports betting
Sports’ betting was not a new concept but digitization completely transformed it. All human biases and errors got eliminated, which paved the way for the establishment of a fair playing ground for players from around the world.
- Digitized bingo:
Bingo is another popular game that is known for keeping players engaged to gambling online. Sites supporting online bingo were flooded with traffic comprising of unique visitors. Private entrepreneurs got the first advantage as they were the pioneers to foresee the tremendous potential of this game. Later, many groups entered the industry and the rest as they say is history.
- Online lotteries
Online lotteries received protection from the government. This was the only segment to receive positive attention from the feds. Cash flow from these lotteries were taxable. Licenses were issued eventually to operate online lotteries. These activities were carefully guarded by the government. Lotteries have now become an integral part of the gambling online industry
The latest buzz word of the industry is mobile gambling online. Most gambling sites are now compatible with a handheld device like mobile phones. This is done to attract untapped customers. In play gambling is an interesting feature available on online sports betting. Advanced wagering options have also been made easily accessible. Transferring funds online has got safer and easier. There have been certain issues pertaining to money laundering but this doesn’t stop players from playing online casino games