Online gambling and gaming in the United States exists in a very complex environment, where both governmental laws and public sentiment play a huge role. Gambling itself was largely practiced in the early U.S., mainly in the form of lotteries, until it was completely banned in the 1890’s. Gambling slowly started to make its way back and was formally legalized in Nevada in 1931.
As technology evolved, naturally the gaming and gambling industry began to explore online avenues for offering their services. Online gaming sites first started to appear in the mid-1990s. In 1998, Planet Poker was established followed by ParadisePoker.com in 1999. Many others followed. The years of 2003 to 2006 were considered the “Poker Boom” due to the number of online poker players each year doubling.
However, as the online gaming industry grew – so did concerns about social impact and legality. Gambling online became more and more taboo – more and more controversial. A major milestone that continues to impact the industry today came on what is now called “Black Friday”. On Friday, April 15, 2011, the poker world was rocked when federal authorities unsealed an indictment against online poker’s big three: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. The charges alleged that the companies used fraudulent methods to circumvent federal law and trick banks into processing payments. It became clear that the government was going to hold banks and all others accountable for any payments related to online gaming and gambling. After this day, organizations steered clear of doing anything in the US.
Although there have been highs and lows in the online gambling industry since its inception, three states – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware – have started to lead the way in legalization. We put together an infographic describing some of the highlights in the history of online gaming and how it has evolved over the years. Click on the below image to view the full infographic.
Also – check out our blog post called “As Online Gaming Continues to Grow…What You Should Know” to find out more about recent online gambling rules and regulations and how to maintain compliance.