1994: The First Online Casino

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Something important happened in 1994. Something exciting. Something that changed the way we were able to gamble and play casino games and slots forever; the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act was passed and it happened on the island of Antigua and Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean territory. And why was this particular act so important? It was important because it meant that licences could be granted that allowed casinos to finally go online. It meant, in other words, that online casinos could become a reality and no more would they have to be land-based.

And that’s why the world changed in 1994.

Once the Act was passed, the world’s largest gaming provider was setup – it was called Microgaming. Not long afterwards came Cryptologic, and eventually, after a race to the finish, the world’s very first online casino and games site was released by Microgaming (so the story goes). There were just 18 games available to play, and it was only open to players from South Africa, but it was a start, and it was exciting for many people around the world who wanted to play slots and casino games in the comfort of their own homes. It was called casino.co.za. Casino.co.za soon morphed into The Gaming Club, which was Microgaming’s first attempt at a worldwide casino site.

However, there is some debate about exactly when casino.co.za was first incorporated. Microgaming firmly says it was 1994, but other reports and investigations suggest it was later, in 1996 or 1997. If this is in fact the case then Cryptologic may be able to lay claim (and in fact, they do) to the world’s first online casino. They completed their Intercasino Beta 1.00 in July 1996. It really was a photo finish, and the debate still rages today.

But whether it was Microgaming’s casino.co.za or Cryptologic’s Intercasino Beta 1.00 that came first, it paved the way for many thousands more. And with the advancement of technology, it’s exciting to see what might be around the corner.