iGaming is a term you hear more and more often, but what exactly is it and how did it come to be? iGaming is the umbrella term used for all forms of online betting, whether it’s online casinos with their variety of games, betting on sports matches or on the outcome of other events such as elections or the Eurovision Song Contest. Although we don’t have this category of games (yet) Review, we want to guide you through this growing genre.
In the meantime, this industry is almost bigger worldwide than the film and music industry combined and this form of entertainment is also becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands now that you can also play legally here at one of the more than twenty Dutch online casinos and bookmakers.
Although online gambling has only been fully legal in the Netherlands since 2021, online gambling has been around since the last century. In the mid-90s, when the internet was still in its infancy, Microgaming was the first to develop online casino software. Around the same time, from the basement of their family home, Cryptologic was launched by brothers Andrew and Mark Rivkin. With this service, it became possible for the first time to make secure online financial transactions.
The combination of these two services was the basis for the very first online casino: Intercasino, which was founded in 1996. The company was based in Antigua, where, based on the “Free Trade and Processing Zone Act” of 1994, the government was the first country in the world to issue licenses for online gambling.
Microgaming started with a small team and a small budget, but now, almost 30 years later, it is still a leader and one of the market leaders in the iGaming industry. Who looks at their timeline sees that they have written numerous firsts and records over the years. They have helped online gambling grow into a full-fledged alternative to brick-and-mortar casinos
Ten years after their online casino software in 2004, they were the first to come up with casino software that was completely focused on mobile use. Even though that seems like an obvious choice now, this was the time of the Nokia’s and Blackberry’s and years before the first Android and iPhones came out with their app stores.
In the same year, the first ‘online slot’ based on an existing franchise was released: “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”. This set a trend that would be followed by many other providers and continues to this day. Movies, series and even musicals lend their names to casino games. Some names that everyone will know are Terminator, Jurassic Park, Games of Thrones and Phantom of the Opera.
With the increasing computing power of computers and mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, and ever faster (mobile) internet connections, more and more became possible in terms of Play for real money. Not only did this make games look better and better through better graphics and the addition of 3D elements, it also paved the way for a whole new category of games, namely ‘live casino’.
In ‘live casino’ games, a player makes a video connection to a real casino or a studio where real dealers offer table games such as Roulette and Blackjack. By interacting with the dealer and other players, the experience is much closer to a visit to a real casino.
Another type of live games are the so-called game shows, which can best be described as a combination of a Wheel of Fortune with the phone-in games that were shown on television until 2007. The big difference with phone games is that here it is immediately clear that it is a game of chance, and as a player you have a fair chance of winning. Just like with any other online casino game, you can easily look up the exact odds of winning because providers are required to mention them.
Finally, the last category of games is ‘online betting’, of which by far the best known and most popular bets on sports matches are made. Here, too, the providers know how to make optimal use of the possibilities offered by powerful computers and fast internet connections.
Both players and providers can use advanced tools and extensive statistics to determine their bets and odds much better. Again, the online aspect has completely changed the experience, with many providers offering features such as live chat, forum and social media integration so that players can share their experiences and advice with each other quickly and easily.
Besides There is also a ‘live’ element built in here, no longer can you only place a bet in advance, with ‘live betting’ there is the possibility to place bets, change bets, or even take your winnings before the match is over, even while the match is being played.
What the future will bring is anyone’s guess, but it’s not obvious that innovations will stop or slow down. In the gambling industry, billions are even involved in the Netherlands alone, and with technological developments such as VR and AR Slowly but surely maturing, the possibilities seem limitless.