The first online casino opened in 1996 and is still active today. Unlike the casinos that are available these days, back then there were a very limited number of casino games. For instance, games such as blackjack, roulette, keno, single line slot machines and video poker (Jacks or Better), were about the only gambling games online casinos had on offer. In the first few years of the online gambling industry, players witnessed an explosion of new casinos opening. However, not all of these venues had the intention of operating their casinos in a trustworthy manner; some were looking to make a fast buck, these dodgy casinos gave the gambling industry a bad rap.
Casino Software History
First established itself in 1994, Microgaming™ first offered a highly graphical software suite for commercial production back in 1996. Internet Casino System Version IV was the top of the line casino gambling software suite from Microgaming™, it offered the following:
Casino Games: Standard Blackjack - Single or Double 0 Roulette - Jacks or better Video Poker - Craps - Baccarat
Caribbean Stud Poker - 3 Single Pay-line Slots: 1 - 3 Line Slot Machine; 1 - 5 Line Slot Machine; 1 Progressive Slot.
Casino System Version IV at the time was commanding $180,000US. In comparison to today's pricing of the top of the line Microgaming™ casino platform this was a very good business opportunity for any company wanting to gain access into the online casino industry at that time. Microgaming™ casino software suite is around $2Mil now.
Opened in 1997 and produced an exciting casino software line that presented players with a 3D virtual casino. This was one of the first online casinos that I played on. At the time I remember thinking wow! Although not offering a large number of casino games, Grand Virtual® had in my opinion managed to combine a remarkable player experience for the limited bandwidth; no broadband back then only 28K - 33.3K dial up modems, which also offered extremely fair pay-outs; I epically enjoyed their Jacks or Better Video Poker, now that really paid out!
Grand Virtual® is still active today; although they've updated their casino software suite, now offering over 60 casino gambling games, they are a pro-active gambling company who keep adding new games to their platform.
Andrew and Mark Rivkin were the founders of this company back in 1995. Originally they started a unique Internet idea for communication protocols, to enable a fast and secure process to settle online transactions. With their start up financial CryptoLogic was able to acquire key programmers who assisted in establish their processing arm ECash. They also developed their online gambling application which was released in 1996. In November of 1996 and with CrytoLogic's wholly owned subsidiary, WagerLogic, released its first online casino platform, InterCasino.
Over the years the online casino industry has built its combined self into a 12Billion + $US Industry. Granted some of the smaller operators that first entered the gambling industry pre 2000 have closed. However, since 2002 there has been a growing number of Casino Companies that have acquired other casinos and now have these as part of their casino portfolios. These Gaming Companies are commonalty referred to as super online casino groups.
It's my belief that the online casino industry that you see today is and has forged its reputation on providing trustworthy, integrity driven casinos. Albeit some rogue casinos remain. However, as players become further educated towards gaming companies that are trustworthy, I feel the online casino industry will continue to grow.