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2022 compared to 2000 - Twenty years of online casino growth and innovation

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Join us as we do a deep dive into how the online gambling industry has grown and evolved over the past two decades.


The online gambling industry has experienced a lot of change over the past few years. With this in mind, we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the last twenty years to determine where we have excelled and what might still need a little work.

Has the industry attracted more software providers?

For online gambling to thrive, it needs a steady stream of new games and innovation. The challenge will be that software providers reproduce what works, so innovation demands new developers with fresh ideas.

Only a handful of online casino software providers existed in the late nineties. These industry pioneers include the likes of Microgaming, CryptoLogic, WMS Industries, and Playtech. One of the industry's most innovative slot developers, NetEnt was also founded in 1996, but it would be several years before it became a multi-award-winning studio.

Another market innovator, Evolution Gaming, was launched in 2006. The studio would focus on developing niche live dealer games. A gamble that would see them become one of the world's largest and most recognised studios.

By 2022 online gamblers are spoiled for choice, with more than 800 global studios releasing new live casino games, mobile casino games, video slots and crypto games monthly.

See all Top Live Casinos and Top Mobile Casinos where you can enjoy these hot games!

Has there been growth in payment solutions?

Gambling is a hobby built around winning and losing real money. To facilitate faster, cheaper, and more globally accessible deposits and withdrawals, the industry needs to attract fresh new online and locally focused solutions.

In the late nineties, online gambling software was cutting edge, and while the gaming side was receiving a lot of attention, for payment options - banking solutions were limited. Online deposits were restricted to credit cards manually processed by call centre agents using a credit card machine and an override card.

By the early 2000s, online systems handled credit transactions, and e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill joined the marketplace.

By 2022, more than 400 localised and international banking options will be available worldwide, more than 40 focusing on crypto transactions.

Are casinos paying out better jackpots?

Tales abound of the time a player nearly won a jaw-dropping jackpot. However, someone must win a big jackpot for the industry to retain its credibility.

When we investigated the jackpots won by online gamblers, we found that by 1999 the biggest progressive jackpot win at an online casino was $50,000. However, by 2009 the biggest recorded win was an outstanding $8. Million.

While a 2015 $20 million Mega Moolah progressive jackpot win is listed in the Guinness World Records, it is not the industry's largest recorded payout. That honour belongs to the 2021 Mega Moolah Absolootly Mad of $23.6 million!

Jackpots over the years

1999 2009 2015 2021
$50,000 $8 million $20 million $23.6 million

If you want to learn more about gambling and casino games through the years, take a look at our page for the History of online casino games.

What does the business of gambling look like?

While players are looking for that exciting win and the story accompanying it, online casino operators are looking to run a profitable business. To achieve this, they need to generate enough revenue to honour all player wins, pay their licensing fees and taxes, cover all other overheads, and retain a profit margin.

The reason for the growth of online gambling as a business is simple – it is very lucrative. Reports estimate that the US online gambling market in 2000 was worth just over $2 billion. The introduction of online poker saw an additional $2.3 billion in annual revenues added to the equation by 2003.

Fast forward to 2022, and despite the challenges of the past two years, analysts have predicted that the global online gambling market will grow to $81.1 billion by the end of the year.

Where in the world can you gamble online?

While most of modern life is comfortable and predictable, there is that ancient cave dweller within all of us that remembers action and excitement. It is this inherently human desire for entertainment that makes online gambling such a global pastime.

When online casinos first launched in the late 90s, the USA was their focus due to its massive population, propensity to make online deposits, and rich gambling history. While the UK online casinos shared many of these traits, it made up a relatively small portion of the early online gambling market.

The turning point was the enforcement of the UIEGA in 2006, which made it virtually impossible to run an online gambling business focused on the US. This regulation ultimately led to the global expansion of online gambling as operators sought out new markets.

By 2022 players can now legally gamble in the USA and Canada, as well as most of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, and many other countries. Online gambling has become a global pastime.

How has gambling compliance advanced?

Whether you are discussing loaded dice in ancient Egypt, the mafia's influence on the development of Las Vegas or the payouts of online casinos, there is always the chance for a bad actor to try to take advantage of an unwitting player. To combat this, programs for safer gambling and compliance are at the centre of every trusted gambling act.

At its inception, online gambling was a digital Wild West with no oversight or controls beyond those that individual casinos chose to adopt.

The UK led the charge in gambling reformation in 2005 when they launched their new Gambling Act and became the first licensed jurisdiction.

By 2022 gambling regulations and licenses now encompass the support and funding of safer gambling organisations, provide guidelines for when and where gambling ads can be flighted, restrict promotions using imagery and concepts that would appeal to the youth and, in some cases, ban celebrity endorsements.

What a journey!

Despite all the ups and downs that the online gambling industry has endured over the last two decades, there is no doubt that it is stronger for it. While there will always be those who yearn for "the good old days", online casinos are now safer, more entertaining and in a position to offer insane jackpots, legally!

Add to that the advancements in high-speed internet and mobile technology, and the online gambling experience has never been better than it is right now!

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