Online gambling has made so many technological improvements from whence it started, as many other things on the internet. Today we’re going to take a look at how the earliest online casinos started, and how technological milestones aided the online casino industry to becoming worth the $60 billion USD industry it is today.
Many technological improvements have been made to all kinds of online casino games, but perhaps most particularly with online slots. Developers have been incorporating a lot of 3D graphics and videogame-like progress into modern online slot machines, which has made online slots literally the most popular form of online gambling. You can check out some of the latest and greatest slot games at Casumo online casino.
The Earliest Online Casinos
It’s quite difficult to say who launched the very first ‘online casino’, as several companies make claim to this. What is known is that there were two major companies that stood out in this time – Microgaming, and CryptoLogic.
Microgaming claims to have created the first real money online casino, called The Gaming Club. CryptoLogic, on the other hand, created InterCasino. Both of these companies utilised secure transaction systems that had been developed in-house. In fact, the founders of CryptoLogic / InterCasino had created their transaction system from within their parent’s house, and decided that an online casino was the perfect testing ground for such a new technology.
In 1996, the same year that the Mohawk Territory Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established for the purpose of licensing and regulating online casinos, Swedish developers NetEnt began launching some of the most innovative online casino games that had been seen so far.
In fact, NetEnt continues to release highly innovative online casino games, incorporating modern technology and graphics into their latest titles. Their focus was mostly on slot machines, as prior to NetEnt being founded as a software company, they sold physical slot machines to land-based casinos throughout the 80s. NetEnt and Microgaming continue to be some of the top developers of online casino games today.
In 1998, the first online poker site was introduced, called Planet Poker. It faced numerous technological hurdles, such as technical disruptions and other problems that mostly stemmed from the unreliability of dial-up modem internet speeds in that era. While Planet Poker was initially a success, their technical issues and an increasing demand for new features from their customers paved the way for new competitors to enter the market.
One of these competitors was Paradise Poker, which launched only a year after Planet Poker. Paradise Poker came out of the gate with attractive features, and quickly established itself as the primary rival to Planet Poker.
Live sports betting and live dealer games
Fast forward a few years, and a plethora of online casino sites had sprung up by 2002. This led to more competition in the market, which spurred more technological advances, as online casino sought to stay ahead of each other. The concept of live betting was introduced in 2002, allowing their customers to bet on sporting events while they were taking place. It’s difficult to determine exactly which online casino introduced this first, as several bookmakers opened this feature around the same time. But it was a significant development and pretty much an overnight success.
In 2006, two companies Microgaming and Evolution launched live dealer platforms, which was an entirely new concept. Live dealer games literally streamed live video feeds of card dealers to the online players, to provide a more realistic experience. Live dealer games have been used in a variety of traditional casino games, such as blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
VR enters the stage
While numerous online casino companies had been experimenting with virtual reality, the first successfully launched VR casino was SlotsMillion. They offered around 40 slots in 3D, entirely in VR, along with a realistic casino environment that allows players to explore various areas of the casino, such as a lounge, bar, gaming tables, and an 80th floor lobby window that overlooks a futuristic city skyline.
Players are able to interact with the slot machines by holding a VR controller in their hand, and making the motion of pulling a slot-lever. Players can also interact with other items in the environment.
Other casinos continue to experiment with VR, perhaps not to the degree of SlotsMillion, but certainly offering plenty of VR-compatible casino games, and VR ties in pretty nicely with live dealer games.
Future technology in online gambling
The next technological milestones in the evolution of online gambling are certainly to be determined, but there’s a lot of hype surrounding the possibilities of augmented reality. AR is a little similar to VR, but it projects graphics into your environment, rather than immersing you into another environment through VR goggles. So it’s not hard to imagine, for example, AR poker games, where the cards are projected onto your table at home, and perhaps even other players seated around you.