When the first Internet casino opened its virtual doors, the world of gambling was irrevocably changed forever. There is some debate as to which casino was the first, and Gaming Club claims to have taken the title, as they were established in 1994. InterCasino contests this, and says that they too were in operation, but it seems as if Gaming Club were, if anything, better known and therefor considered by most to be the first true internet casino.
Within a few years, the prevalence of internet casino sites had grow from one or two to five or six, and then, into the dozens. Today, they are hundreds of casinos and gaming sites online and players can enjoy anything from Pachinko to Poker, Blackjack to Baccarat and everything in between.
The industry grew even more when the first Internet bingo site went live in 1998, followed by the first official online poker site. PlanetPoker maintains they were the first official Poker site online, but there were plenty of other online poker games played previously. After the World Series of Poker was televised in 2003, the number of online poker sites grew dramatically as the game had been promoted hugely.
A Multi Billion Dollar Industry
Almost from day one, online casinos generated not only a lot of interest, but also a lot of income. Its rare that an online casino that’s established and reputable doesn’t make money, but every now and again a site may close its doors.
Internet casinos are the biggest, most profitable entities in the online entertainment industry. They rake in millions of dollars annually, and profits are generally incredibly high. Being able to reach a far greater audience and having far lower overheads than their land-based counterparts assures them of increased revenue and also allows for bigger and better bonuses to be on offer. As the industry is so lucrative, competition is also at an all time high and Internet casinos constantly vie for attention and attempt to attract players.
It’s estimated that total revenue from online casinos in 2010 exceeded 29.3 billion, but it is hard to pinpoint the exact revenue due to various operating factors. With the development and increasing popularity of mobile casinos, this figure is sure to have soared even higher by now.
Tie in with Land Based Casinos
As a general rule, an Internet casino isn’t affiliated with a land based casino, unless it’s in New Jersey. New Jersey law states that any casino that operates online must have its servers in a land-based casino, so there are several tie ins with famous Atlantic City establishments.
Initially its thought that land based casinos didn’t want to get involved in the online industry as they saw it as a way of taking away from a more traditional source of revenue. In some cases, opinion has changed and land based casinos have launched online sites, capitalizing on their already known brand names, but mostly, there’s a distinct separation between online and land based gaming venues. The UK’s famous Hippodrome casino is one that’s successfully taken its business model online, and has proven that a land based and online brand can co exist and benefit from both internet and foot traffic.
The Internet casino industry continues to grow and evolve and it’s a fascinating market to watch.