In 1994 the island of Antigua and Barbuda issued the first online gaming licenses and started a new industry. At the time not many people noticed since the industry was in its infancy and did not attract the attention of regulators until the 21st century. Microgaming is widely credited with creating the first online casino software which powered many online gaming sites. Microgaming remains a leader in the industry to this very day. Many players had concerns about the safety of online transactions at gaming sites. Cryptologic, a company specializing in security software came up with a practical solution that made online transactions safe and secure.
In the beginning online gaming sites faced many challenges some of them legal. In 2006 the United States passed legislation that banned banks and credit card companies in the US from processing deposits and withdrawals from online gaming sites. In the UK a different approach was taken. The government passed the Gambling Act in 2005 which established the gambling commission which is responsible for the regulation of online gaming. Thanks to regulation and a sane approach to online gaming the UK has one of the world’s most lucrative internet gaming markets.
The most popular gambling games online are poker, casinos, sports betting and online bingo. The first online gambling sites were devoted to poker and all of its variants. Texas Hold ‘Em was and still is a big hit with online players. Online poker tournaments are especially popular and many players make a decent living playing online poker.
Online casinos generally offer a selection of games including roulette, video poker, Keno, blackjack, baccarat, pai gow, and slots. Slots are probably the most popular games at online casinos. Online casinos fall into one of three groups; download casinos, flash based casinos and live casinos. At some online casinos players are still required to download game software although most casinos have abandoned downloads in favor of flash and browser based games which offer instant access to players. At some sites players can actually interact with live casino games.
Sports betting is popular in the UK and Europe but if prohibited in the US by the 1961 wire act. Thanks to a justice department decision sports betting will most likely remain illegal in the US for some time to come.
Online bingo is another very popular game. Online bingo is easy to play and is affordable for most people. The games are random so every player has an equal chance of winning. Games are available 24/7 and some sites offer mobile bingo that can be played on smartphones and other mobile devices.