History of Online Casinos

history of online casinos

Gambling for More than 2,000 Years

Evidence of gambling can be found dating all the way back to the Roman Empire, but its popularity as a modern day form of entertainment has been accelerated by the creation of the internet which removes physical barriers to allow millions of ardent gamblers to play without the need to leave their sofas.


Internet gambling came to prominence in the mid-90s when Microgaming created the first online casino software. Their dominance of the marketplace continued for many years, breaking many records along the way including the ‘largest jackpot payout for an online slot machine’ when in 2015, a former soldier won a whopping $16m on the progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah, from a bet of just 30c.


Hot on the heels of Microgaming’s early success, a Swedish start up by the name of NetEnt were determined to stake their claim in this now burgeoning and extremely lucrative industry. During its formative years, NetEnt made no significant impact on the iGaming industry until the 2012 launch of what has become one of the most successful online slot games of all time, Starburst, that they truly became a global player.

The success of Starburst propelled NetEnt onto creating an impressive catalog of games and a highly-praised live dealer casino, all of which would eventually be acquired by the even more successful Evolution Gaming.

2010s Expansion

As the online gambling industry matured, opportunities arose for independent studios to distribute their games through content aggregators (much like how songwriters deal with Universal or Sony) which inevitably created extra competition for the likes of Microgaming and NetEnt. These younger studios brought a fresh perspective with exciting game mechanics with unique themes that offered the online casino player more choices than ever before.

Live Dealer Casinos

Meanwhile, as technology and high speed broadband penetration improved, casino games and slots became more and more sophisticated – particularly with the birth of Live Dealer Casino where games such as roulette and blackjack can be played against a real dealer, streamed in HD from a studio that hosts hundreds of tables or straight from the gaming floor of iconic land-based casinos.

Along with NetEnt, Evolution Gaming were one of the earliest pioneers of the live dealer casino – starting out with a handful of classic roulette and blackjack games before planting their flag in the sand with non-stop releases of many innovative games including those based on popular TV game shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and the family favorite board game, MONOPOLY.

The largest and most costliest live casino production to date is Evolution’s Crazy Time where upwards of 40,000 players can be found playing at any one time.

Gambling In The United States

The US has always experienced a tumultuous relationship with online gambling while many other countries accepted that the earlier regulation is adopted and enforced, the more protected players will be. New Jersey and Delaware were the first states to legalize online casinos in America in 2013, followed by Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia. You can read more about each state below:

NJ Online Casinos
PA Online Casinos
Michigan Online Casinos
WV Online Casinos


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.