For the younger generation, it is hard to relate to a time when you couldn’t do almost anything on the Internet, much less have to go to a brick and mortar casino to play some games.

But our older readers will probably remember a time before online casinos existed, and a time when they were much less secure than they are today.

The ‘Wild West’ Days

The early days of the Internet are often referred to as its ‘Wild West’ era. Much like its namesake, the Internet in those days had little regulation, meaning that a lot of lawless behaviour went under the radar. Of course, today we have very advanced hackers committing crimes on the Internet, but it was a lot easier in the past. Today, if you are smart enough you are likely to be able to avoid being the victim of such crimes. Online casinos in the early 1990s were not secure places, although they did exist. There were no official bodies providing regulation, so it was impossible to know whether the site you wanted to use was a trustworthy one. Before 1994, there were no officially legal online casinos.

The Beginning

In 1994 the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed a Free Trade and Processing Act. This act stipulated that licenses could be granted to companies who wanted to offer gambling services over the Internet. In the same year, a software company called Microgaming was born, and they created the first fully functioning, completely legal real money online casino, with the name ‘The Gaming Club’. Very soon after this, other online casinos began to appear on the scene.

Online Casino Security

One early online casino worth mentioning is InterCasino, launched by the company CryptoLogic. This was the first online casino to use encrypted communication protocols to ensure safety in financial transactions, increasing the security of online casinos. In 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established, which operated from the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, and issued gambling licenses to reputable online casinos, further increasing the safety of gambling online.

Popularity And Competition

As the years went by, more and more online casinos began popping up and more and more individuals began to play on them. They were in such demand that the competition between sites was intense, and they had to keep on their toes with regards to games and features. This competition is what has led to the great variety and cool visual and other features available on online casinos today.

More And More Choice

The first online casinos did not offer a great deal of choice. But as popularity grew and competition intensified, online casinos had to start coming up with new ways to grab the public’s attention. The first online sports betting website, Intertops, was launched in 1996/ The first online poker site, Poker Planet, began in 1998. As the years went on, variety of online casinos and games increased, and the sites themselves became more and more enjoyable. In addition, safety has greatly improved in the interim years, with more official regulatory bodies issuing licenses to online casinos, and improved encryption software being used. Today, over 85 countries have legalized online gambling, and there are countless online casinos. The future of online casinos is mobile: today, you can gamble any time anywhere, on your smartphone or tablet.