Online Gambling as an entertainment pastime can probably be traced back to the dawn of time when man first learned how to communicate, however the actual act of doing so on the internet began not many years ago. Within the greater picture of online gambling, the United States has played an important part in the development of this form of entertainment. At present, the US is going through challenging times with its own industry due to complicated legislation, but many feel that this is simply a blip on the screen and the US will soon be back to become a world leader in online gambling once more.
The Beginnings of Online Gambling
The true roots of online gambling can probably be traced back to the early 1990’s. In 1994, the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda declared itself a legal gambling jurisdiction and issued gambling licenses. Software companies began using the jurisdiction as a launching pad for their products, even before the first online casino was even created. In 1995, the first online casino, Inter Casino, was launched by Cryptologic, opening the flood gates for the thousands of online gaming sites like casinos that accept USA players that exist in the world today.
Online Gambling in the US
From the beginning, the US was seen as the central hub of online casino sites. Most of the new software developed was in English and targeted the US player and the first internet site offered 18 different games and access the Indian National Lottery. However, not everyone was pleased about the fast development of this new industry, and the history of online gambling in the US was fraught with difficulties from the start.
Politicians, especially Senator Jon Kyle of Arizona, tried to put obstacles in the industry’s way from the very beginning, pushing for law after law in order to ban the industry completely.
Nevertheless, there was no stopping US gamblers who could finally enjoy quality gaming from the comfort of their own homes, enjoying a wide variety of games and software that improved from year to year.
Global online gambling revenues for 1997 were $1 billion, with $600 million contributed by the US alone. By 2001, these numbers had tripled and reached $15 billion in 2006.
2003 marked an explosion in the popularity of online poker, after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker event and millions of poker players, especially from the US, rushed to try out their luck and skills online.
Online gambling opponents were finally successful in their mission to torpedo the industry, when President George Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, making it illegal for US banks to honor transactions to and from online gambling sites. The move saw many of the top names such as Party Gaming move from the US market in search of other markets in fear of US authority reprisals. While it took a while for the US market to recover from the jolt of the UIGEA, today it can be said that millions of US players still play online, with most sites making accommodation for these players through unique USA casino deposit methods, bonuses and so forth.
The US remains one of the leading online gambling markets in the world, and many expect that when new legislation passes to legalize and regulate the industry, the market will become even more powerful.
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