For years, people have spent a considerable amount of time betting on everything they can. Boxing matches; horses; dogs; football; tennis; rugby; political elections; the future career of celebrities’ children. Betting has long been a part of the working-class lifestyle, and with the online industry exploding in the 1990s the advent of new online betting options became open to all.
While many nations have a blanket ban on online betting, many European countries do not. Ever since the first online casino opened in 1994, the world of online gambling and sports betting has steadily grown. With new systems, massive competition and a massive amount of opportunities for high-value deals, not to mention the instant access of placing bets, has seen many people use online betting over traditional offline methods.
The world of betting changed forever, then, in 1994 when Antigua and Barbuda passed what was known as the Free Trade and Processing Act; allowing for the provision of online licenses for casinos to be created. The first online casinos hit the market in 1994, and within a short space of time, online sports betting was making the same move into a brave and very lucrative new world.
The boom never kicked in, though, until the end of the 1990s when the internet began to become more mainstream. In 1996, just 15 online betting and gambling sites existed. This figure grew to 200 online casinos, by 1997. In 1998, revenues hit close to $850m, and it began to create one of the most lucrative industries in the world.
By the year 2001, online gambling was being undertaken by more than 8m people across the world, with revenues growing at an incredible rate. By 2008, it had overstepped the $20bn mark and within an eight-year timescale had exceeded $45bn.
The most common form of betting in the world outside of real casino gambling, though, is sports betting. Major bookmakers such as William Hill began to cash in on the online craze, and today there are hundreds of online sports betting websites with features and promotions to try and compete against one another.
As the web has developed, so has the powers and capabilities of such software. Today, it’s more likely than ever to come across websites which are secure, safe and easy to use. Security and privacy issues have become a thing of the past, as online sports betting and general betting begins to feel safer than it ever has beforehand.
The history of betting online might be relatively new, but it offers such incredible opportunities for those who like a flutter. From promo deals and free bets to money-back offers and even the new cash-out system that allows you to cash out a winning bet for a percentage of your winning stake, people can take their money further than ever.
Far from having to go and stand in a bookmaker to make a bet today on your favourite team or sport, people can now do so from the comfort of their homes or their beds. As technology continues to improve, it’s only likely that online betting will become more accessible and easy to use.