Historical Facts about Real Money Casinos You Never Knew

Can you guess which Emperor of Europe was a gambling addict? Or how did the ban on real cash betting appear in America? Find the answer to this in my review of not-so-brief real cash online casinos history full of interesting facts! Let’s get started.

Online Casino Path from 1994 to 2023

Gambling has been existing for several thousand years! Chinese nomads made betting on horse races, Egyptians, except the pyramids, had time to build real gaming houses. Napoleon Bonaparte was a very compulsive player; he honed his skills in exile on Elba. The first slot machine, established in 1899, Charles Fey invented not for profit. It has been created simply to entertain the visitors of his garage.

And since the first appearance of gambling, we’ve seen nothing but progress with new solutions, games, and services. Thus, the industry evolved, evolves, and keeps evolving. In line with the forecast, the value of the worldwide market is expected to reach $94.4 billion by 2024. Yes, the rapid growth of online casinos is evident. Below there is the gambling timeline from the very beginning to the latest days.

Online Casinos for Real Money History


A lot of online gambling milestones have happened that year:

  • The appearance of the first-ever online casino license after passing of the Free Trade & Processing Act.
  • The initiation of the first public venue by the Liechtenstein International Lottery.
  • The creation of the full-fledged software by the pioneer of the field Microgaming.


Microgaming launched the very first online casino — the Gaming Club. Also, in that year, the player of another operator — InterCasino that was powered by CryptoLogic — made the first monetary transaction.


The history begins in 1996 on Antigua, the island situated in the Caribbean Sea. Those days, users could try 18 entertainments, though, just a few thousand people worldwide had the Internet.

Besides that, that year was memorable by such events:

  • The KGC (Kahnawake Gaming Commission) — a legal body that enacts operating licenses — was founded.
  • The first real money wager was made online at InterCasino by CryptoLogic.
  • The real money bet on sports was made online by Jukka Honkavaara at Intertops.


The first web bookmaker was founded, provoking the boom in the field.


Cash Splash by Microgaming was released, becoming the very first progressive jackpot slot machine in history. Along with that, the Plant Poker was launched — the first-ever online poker room.


One of the super important and destiny-changing things that happened that year is the introduction of the multiplayer gaming. Since that players can compete against each other, take part in tournaments, communicate, and so on, creating a lifelike atmosphere.


The first-ever huge progressive jackpot of over $1,000,000 was won at Captain Cooks Casino.


This year was great with 2 milestones:

  • The flotation of eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance);
  • The launch of the first Live Dealer Casino by Playtech. Thanks to CWC (CasinoWebCam) Gaming platform, players can gamble with real dealers in the casino studio in San Jose.

Besides that, the total turnover in the world exceeded $8.5 billion.


Microgaming became a pioneer and innovator of the industry by introducing the first mobile casino. Since the true mobile casino software was designed and launched, players could play on the go.


The UK Gambling Act was passed. Since that, all forms of the activity are under the control of England, Scotland, and Wales.


UIGEA (Unlawful the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed and dramatically reshaped the field in America, forbidding gambling-related transactions for money institutions.


Owners of iOS, Android, and Windows gadgets are welcome to play casino games on the move. Mobile apps started to appear.


Vera & John became the very first casino with crypto payments available. The operator started to accept Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals.


The era of mobile devices kept gaining pace. All the casinos along with the games become mobile-friendly. Mobile optimized websites that run on a browser (that is web-based) were casinos’ implementation of thin client, which is low cost and easy maintenance. So that now wonder that the responsive versions became a mainstream.


The very first VR (Virtual Reality) game was released by Microgaming. Gamblers over the world can dive into the action by using Oculus Rift Technology and playing VR headset games.


Online gambling and casinos have undergone massive changes over the past years. Starting with the Viper download platform, in 2020 gambling houses are accessible in instant play and via any mobile device, keeping up with the modern-player expectations. We’re lucky devils to live in the era of high-technologies and innovations, having an opportunity to get fair and superb gambling sessions in the way we want.

According to multiple researches, the gambling market has grown from $59 billion in 2019 to $67 billion in 2020. It’s mainly attributed to COVID 19, due to which people are confined to home during the lockdowns worldwide.

Thanks to Cloud gaming technology, VR and AR technologies, Blockchain, mobile solutions, Artificial Intelligence (AI), top online casinos have become more sophisticated. Modern casino operators by means of the latest technologies provide clients with more immersive, interactive, personalized, and enjoyable gameplay, enhancing the overall gaming experience. However, this stuff isn’t available everywhere.

Legislation of Real Cash Casino Online

Online Casinos for Real Money by Countries
Internet gambling legislating has often resulted in gaps because of the speedy development of the technology. Countries like Belgium and Sweden have their own monopolies and forbid licenses to external providers.

According to their laws, only operators that are approved in these countries can be treated as lawful ones. But they cannot litigate foreign companies, only block their sites. Their inhabitants cannot be punished and can have fun wherever and whenever they want.

So, let’s check out the legality status and aspects of the online casino operators in the biggest countries of the world.


It’s a true grey area of the field. A case that involves a great deal of money is always complex though. There are a lot of confusing aspects that make gambling prohibited and legal at the same time. For example, there are 50 US states and each one can legalize or forbid online/offline gambling, but then the federal laws are to be met. If not, real money casino owners might meet the same fate as Calvin Edward Ayre.

The Trial of Calvin Edward Ayre

Calvin Edward Ayre
He is a Canadian-Antiguan businessman and founder of the Bodog. The gambling company made him billionaire in the mid-2000s before UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) had come in force in 2006. The act prohibits gambling businesses. And in 2012, he and 3 other entrepreneurs were indicted on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering. The court’s decision: $500K fine plus 1 year of unsupervised probation.

A journalist writing for Forbes, Nathan Vardi, conducted his own investigation into the matter and revealed that the men were plead guilty to misdemeanor charge. They also agreed not to make any claim against 66 million dollars seized by federal attorneys in confiscation proceeding connected with the case. Now it all makes sense.

As of 2023, states still don’t allow online gambling at their own online casinos, but it’s quite legal when choosing offshore operators. And if you live in New Jersey or Delaware, then feel free to choose websites of the states to gamble online.

Summarizing all, I can highlight 3 key facts about the gambling business in America.

  • Online gambling activity is strictly forbidden in certain states.
  • Because of the UIGEA, the transactions related to the activity are prohibited.
  • The laws of some states allow citizens to gamble on the foreign sites.

Therefore, thanks to the gaps in the regulation, Americans keep playing for money. However, you always need to check the state laws before wagering real money. Besides, it’s crucial to check if the casino is not blacklisted to avoid fraudsters and scams.

United Kingdom

In 2005 in the UK a Gambling Bill was passed. It allowed the British to play if the website has a necessary licensing level. In 2014 the government assumed amendments to the law of 2005, where it was indicated that even the offshore casinos wishing to take the British are to have a license.

Also, under the new ruling, it was necessary to pay 15% tax that scared so many providers. But thanks to many advantages, Brits are among the most active players online. However, the changes come and the laws become tougher. Among the latest were credit cards ban and a £2 limit on online slots betting, restricting VIP programs. All that might reshape the future of real money casinos in the UK.


The legality of this business in Canada is a tangled issue. The Criminal Code up to here prohibits operators to accept bets or to create a platform for their accommodation if they don’t have the state license. However, there is no regulation that forbids users to make bets. This means that millions of Canadian citizens can play in international betting websites, with almost no risk of being brought to justice.


The market of online casinos in Australia has increased security requirements, which help players to be sure of the validity of the existing sites and compliance with standards. A gambling law («IGA» 2001) helps screen out covert operators for which profit is more important than giving a first-rate service.

Online betting halls are getting more and more coordinates, and countries, increased control of their markets, introducing their own licensing proceeding. Respectively, this ensures that users in the country are less risking to get on the hook of fraudsters. At the same time, the tons of personal info required scare players, because not everyone is ready to share the sensitive data with casino operators.


  • When did gambling start?
  • The evidence of the gambling activity has been discovered in Syria and Iraq, it’s a six-sided dice that are more than 5,000 years old. Besides that, the written documents were found that gambling houses were quite common in China 3,000 years ago. Yet, some sources tell that the gambling started even early — about 12,000 years ago.
  • What tech innovations are trends in 2023 and beyond?
  • Blockchain, AI and AI-based chatbots, big data, VR/AR/MR are reshaping the landscape of the gambling industry. All the emerging technologies integrated help improve the service, enhance customer experience and engagement, make the gameplay more interactive and immersive.
  • What was the first online real money operator the Gaming Club or InterCasino?
  • It’s a chicken-and-egg question. Both casinos were put on the market in 1995 by different suppliers — Microgaming and CrytpoLogic respectively. The Gaming Club was opened earlier. However, the very first fund transaction was made by the customer of the InterCasino.
  • What was the first casino at all?
  • It was the Casino di Venezia that was established in 1638. It’s considered that along with the creation of the house the gambling as we know it today was invented.
  • Is it obligatory to register an account to gamble fore cash?
  • Nope. Currently, the services appeared where no registration is needed. Only when dealing with monetary transactions the verification of certain data is required to submit the operation.