How the Internet Changed the Face of Gambling

For as long as civilization has existed, people have gambled. Gambling goes as far back as the Paleolithic period and it is astonishing how much the landscape has transformed over the centuries. The version of gambling we are most familiar with today – online gambling – is a key part of this transformation. In this post, we look at how the internet was responsible for bringing gambling to our screens and how it continues to shape the iGaming industry.

A Brief History of Gambling

Gambling has existed since long before humans could write. The earliest six-sided dice was found in Mesopotamia and dates back to around 3000 BCE. Gambling houses have been popular in China since the first millennium, and people often bet on animal fights.

Playing cards – the game we most associate with gambling, appeared in China in the 9th century. Poker, in turn, can trace its roots to 17th-century As-Nas – a similar Persian card game. The Ridotto, the world’s first known casino, was opened in 1638 in Venice.

The 20th Century

The 20th century may not have been the period we saw innovations like the betway app but it began the journey toward legalized gambling. The start of the century was marked by negative attitudes and suppressing legislation toward gambling – actions that saw illegal gambling and organized crime take root in US society. However, by the late 20th century, attitudes were improving, and laws were relaxing.

Gambling in the United States was legalized in the early 1930s to provide an economic activity amidst the devastation of the Great Depression and the Wall Street Crash. Over the decades, different states have instituted laws to govern gambling and online gambling within their jurisdictions.

The Internet and the Rise of Online Gambling

Online gambling began to take root near the turn of the century, specifically in 1994, when Microgaming launched the world’s first virtual casinos. While a pioneer of the industry, and rightfully so, Microgaming did not have the technological capabilities to deliver online gambling as we know it today. The growth was slow but rapid, and five years later, the industry was worth $1 billion. Playtech launched the first live dealer casinos in 2003, creating the physical-digital casino hybrid.      

From PCs to Mobile Gaming

Early versions of online casinos were only accessible through PCs and desktops. Rather than go to Las Vegas for a game of poker, players had a repository of their favorite games on their screens – as long as they had a screen and access to the internet. This period saw many providers arise to meet this need, creating online casino platforms like Betway.

In 2007, Apple launched the earliest version of the iPhone, opening up a whole new world of capabilities for the industry. Players could now access casino games whenever and from wherever. Current market research shows that 80 percent of online gamblers use their phone to access casino sites. This demand has led to the introduction of mobile-optimized casino games and apps that continue to drive growth.

Wrapping Up

The gambling industry is a multi-billion-dollar economic powerhouse that continues to grow astronomically every year. While traditional casinos have always been popular, it is hard to imagine that the industry would have achieved this level of growth without the Internet and online gambling. The expansion of the industry into the digital space opened up gambling to more than die-hard fans who could afford to go to Las Vegas. With providers like Betway, all you need is a phone and the internet.

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