Online Casino History
Online casinos have a short but rich history. While some people had never played a casino game until online casinos came along, and therefore feel like online casinos have been around forever, the reality is it has only been about 15 years since the first online casino emerged.
Although the technology to create online casinos has probably been around since the Internet's inception, it really all started in 1994, when Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean passed the Free Trade & Processing Act.
This gave companies from all over the world free reign to set up online casinos legally.
Online gambling software providers wasted no time filling the need. The first, Microgaming, offered a variety of online casino games that could be played by anyone with an Internet connection just by downloading the software. Microgaming software, and software from similar companies like Cryptologic, were quickly snapped up by entrepreneurs looking to get in on this potentially lucrative enterprise.
The Online Casinos
The first online casinos were The Gaming Club and InterCasino, which opened in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Although the numbers started small, they quickly exploded, and soon there were any number of online casinos out there on the market.
To protect consumers, commissions and watchdog groups governing online casino fairness were developed, most notably the Canadian Kahnawake Gaming Commission, established in the year 1996.
The software and graphics capabilities for online casinos grew and grew, until the players at the various online casinos numbered in the millions.
In 2006, however, things changed. The United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which stated that no American financial institution could do business with online gaming sites. This made it effectively impossible for Americans to play, as there was no way to get money in and out.
The rationale was that online gambling leads too easily to addiction and underage gambling. Talk of legalizing and regulating online casinos to try to prevent this behavior was quickly dismissed.
Although there is some movement to protect online poker in the United States, other online casino games do not seem to have much in the way of advocates. However, online casino gaming still remains regulated and going strong in many other countries around the world.
Several online casinos still take on American players.
Since the UIGEA does not aim at criminalizing the individual players, these casinos can still target the USA online casinos. We list the best of them here at CasinoToplist, and we only include casinos that we know run a fair and legit operation.