Microgaming and the History of Online Gambling

Online gambling first appeared on the internet in the mid 1990s. In 1994 Microgaming software was founded and still has the corner market today in many of the online casinos. Microgaming is chip software that runs the various machines found in land and online casinos. There is some debate as to who was the first casino to pop up on the internet and most would say InterCasino first appeared in 1996. However; there are others who claim that Microgaming’s Gaming Club was the first online in 1995.

From the first casino to go live on the internet, casinos continue to improve their operations online and tweak the software, servers and connections that cater to the players on the World Wide Web. Regardless of slow bandwidth causing connection problems for the players, the industry still raked in an estimated $834 million in 1998.

Intertops was the first online sports-book to appear in 1996; however they have been in operation long before that by taking phone bets since 1983. Intertops is still going strong today and is satisfying over 180 countries with their service.

Online poker first sprang up at the start of 1998 and was facilitated by Planet Poker. Following suit was Paradise Poker in 1999, Party Poker and Poker Stars in 2001. Planet Poker is still in operation; however they no longer allow real money to exchange hands. By 2008 Party Poker had lost the lead in the industry to Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker, estimated by the number of players online.

The popularity of online gambling does not seem to be decreasing since its birth. With state of the art technology, online casinos have the ability of offering real time play and instant spin capability, thus satisfying all sectors of the gambling industry and increasing revenue. The casino software available today is not only advanced for the players utmost enjoyment but is completely secure.

In 2010 the online gambling industry grew by 12.5% with gross revenues of close to $29.95 billion, regardless of the perceived recession. The online casino sector grew an estimated 13.3% in 2010 and brought in an estimated $2.67 billion. The most money contributing to the gambling revenue online is generated by sports betting at about $12 billion.

Online bingo stole the lead in being the fastest growing sector for 2010, estimated at 28.4% growth and to the tune of $2.67 billion. Although poker is the most talked about, it was deemed the slowest growing online gambling sector which generated about $5 million.

In 2006 many of the online gambling companies decided not to allow USA players spend money in their establishments anymore due to the uncertainty regarding laws of offshore gambling, following the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. There was a great debate regarding different states that were legally able to gamble and those who were not. Many of the casinos revised their policies regarding USA play since that time and now the majority of online gambling establishments will again accept USA players.

Online Gambling in Atlantic City

For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.

In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.

Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.

Here are the basics of the bill:

- Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.

- Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.

- Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.

- The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.

The Attraction Of Online Gambling

Although the USA has taken a hard line on internet gambling, outlawing it completely in October 2006, most European governments have adopted the totally opposite approach and are continuing to liberalise online gambling legislation; making it a lucrative market for online gambling operators.

Even though Britain has one-fifth of the population of the USA, it spends as much as Americans on gambling, according to figures issued by the Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC). And much of that UK spend is now taking place online. So, what attracts online gamblers and are there are any dangers involved?

The basis of America’s ban on online gambling stems from a report issued by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in 1999. The major finding in that study highlighted the fact that ‘the presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers’. Obviously, with the rise of online gambling that ‘gambling facility’ is sited within the home. So – the argument goes – that gives rise to more gambling opportunities and therefore the possibility that more people will become compulsive gamblers. They are obsessed with gambling, and winning doesn’t minimize that compulsion; the more they win, the more they play. Worse still, the more they lose the more they play to try to recover their losses until the point where their habit becomes unaffordable, and they go under financially.

But, despite the dire warnings from the USA, the vast majority of people who participate online can control their gambling and play comfortably within their means. For most, online gambling is a form of entertainment from which they get a buzz and occasionally a win. The fact that games can be played in the comfort of the home obviously adds to the attraction. Sophisticated software can now replicate the casino experience; full-colour graphics and convincing sound putting the player in the heart of the action, even if in reality they are in front of their computer screen. And because of the rapid uptake in online gambling, revenues are increasing allowing a percentage of it to be returned to players as bigger jackpots and prizes, which in turn attracts even more players.

Online Gambling 2008

The popularity of online gambling has increased two fold every year for the past several years. Despite government efforts to ban or control it online gambling continues to grow, total revenue estimates are hard to come by but some projections show that by 2010 total online gambling revenue will exceed 10 billion U.S dollars.

There are many reasons for continued growth just the increasing ease of access, the ability to transfer funds in different currency, the public interest in poker and tournaments that are televised have exploded the number of online poker sites and online casinos. The games have evolved into downloadable and flash games with great graphics plenty features and you can control denominations and types of games with ease. They are even available to Blackberrys and other remote hand held devices and will soon be available on cell phones. With the added benefit of playing just for fun if you want allows for hours of play and practice without risk of losing. Almost every online casino offers some sort of bonus or comps benefits some even offer hours of free play where you can keep the winnings.With out the overhead of land based casino most of the online gambling casino can offer higher percentage payouts, and will continue to flourish in the future with new technology evolving.

The online gambling industry have made great gains in becoming reputable and weeding out unscrupulous operators most of the good online gambling casinos are regulated by gaming commissions and certified RNGs (random number generators). They have a complaints departments and take player and affiliate complaints serious which they investigate, post bad operators on blacklisted web sites for people to see and avoid those sites.

Online Gambling May Be Cut Off By New Legislation

There is a new law waiting to be signed by President Bush which was presented to Congress that is holding the $12 billion online gambling industry by a thread. It appears that Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, introduced the bill on Saturday by joining it to the Safe Port Act before Congress took its election recess in November.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that is expected to be signed by President Bush, will practically finish off all online gambling sites by making it illegal for any bank, credit card company or online payment system to process any payments being made to online gambling companies.

The new law states that Online Gambling sites are now banned from accepting any type of check, credit card or electronic transfer payments for internet gaming in the US and seriously puts the industry in chaos.

Surprised at the passing of this new debilitating law, the leaders in the online gambling industry took drastic measures and started to trade off stock on the London Stock Exchange which erased $8 billion from the industry. PartyGaming, the world’s biggest online gambling site said that they would cease their ties with the 920,000 active US customers they currently have only when Bush actually signs the new act.

Although the new law hasn’t yet been signed, the industry is already being drastically affected. PartyGaming’s stocks alone have dropped 60% ending up at a measly .81 cents a share. Other sites like SportingBet and 888 Holding were also affected by the change and have since lost a lot of money on their shares. 888 Holding, for example, had a 48% decrease on their shares dropping them down to $1.42 on the British Market and announced that it was going to no longer continue its online gambling business in the United States.

This isn’t the first Act, however, that has given the federal government power to break down the online gambling industry. Under the 1961 Wire Act, the federal government has the right to brake down online betting in sports, poker and other casino games that are considered to be illegal under the law.

This is seriously debilitating the industries economy because the US consumer market is responsible for 50-60% of the online gambling revenue. These critical laws against the online gambling site owners are forcing companies to shut down or move out but what’s clear is that they are no longer welcome in the United States.

The Madam Chairman of the Interactive Gaming Council, Sue Schneider, has predicted that over 500 companies running around 2,300 online gambling sites around the world will be facing extinction and will most likely be wiped out of the industry all together. The small number of companies that manage to live through this incredible crisis will have to live with a huge cut back on their revenue and figure out new ways of growing again. The idea of opening up in the Asian market has become a favored idea for many.