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Casinos Before and After the Internet

As one of the most significant innovations in human history, the Internet transformed almost every segment of our lives in the recent past, and the thriving gambling industry is not lagging behind.

Modern technologies have brought massive changes to the industry, and the way people gamble nowadays. This overview will help you understand how casinos worked before and after the Internet.

Casinos Before the Internet

Land-based betting venues have existed for centuries. Let’s go over the exciting and colorful history of their development:

How It All Started

The oldest venue in the world is the Casinó di Venezia, located in Venice, Italy. It has been operating since the 17th century, and it is considered one of the most opulent venues in the world.

The popularity of land-based facilities fully took off in the 1950s and 1960s in some of the gaming hotspots such as Monte Carlo, Reno, and the legendary Las Vegas. As early as 1931, right after the Great Depression, Nevada was the only US state where casinos were legal.

What Were Casinos Like in the Past?

Even the most passionate gamblers might be surprised by the look and feel of historical land-based betting houses. The venues of the past radiated glamour and luxury and were much different from today’s flashy, spacious resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

For example, the famous Casino de Monte Carlo’s architect was Charles Garnier - the man who designed the Paris Opera House, and this venue resonates with style and glam.

The gambling venues of the past were places that offered a luxurious escape from everyday life, offering spectacular sights and sounds.

The Story of Las Vegas

In the 1950s, Vegas reached a population of 50,000 and saw an incredible boom in the growth of hospitality and entertainment. The rise of gambling venues continued in 1960, too.

During the 1970s, the venues were full of well-dressed men and women, trying their luck on old-fashioned slot machines. However, in 1976, gambling was also legalized in Atlantic City, and, because of a new competitor, the popularity of Vegas soon started to decline.

The Vegas of the ‘80s brought some new venues such as the iconic Mirage, which helped the city restore its popularity and glam.

Today’s Vegas casinos replaced the old-fashioned machines with electronic devices, and many of them now maintain a family-friendly vibe that attracts vacationers looking for entertainment.

Nowadays, all the Vegas facilities are also fully equipped with modern technologies. The venues use smart systems such as face recognition that help them protect their profits by fighting fraud.

Casinos in the Internet Era

Modern times left no industry intact, and the internet and digitization brought many changes to the known world. Let’s see how the Internet changed the gambling landscape:

The History of Online Gambling

The first online gambling websites appeared in the mid-90s, and some of the best early operators originated from Antigua and Barbuda. The island’s Free Trade and Processing Act allowed its nation to grant licenses to businesses looking to launch online casinos. This is how the new industry was born and started spreading across the world.

Another big step in the development of the industry occurred in 1996, after the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was formed. It was owned and operated by an Indian tribe located in Canada, with the purpose of issuing gaming licenses.

The creation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission happened more or less at the same time as the launch of the first gambling websites. There were around 15 online such websites by the end of 1996, and the number grew to more than 200 by the end of 1997, with the global revenue reaching $1 billion.

The Biggest Online Gambling Markets

The industry currently spans across the globe, and there are three markets that stand out in size - the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.

However, online gambling is not only popular in countries with the most powerful economies. The African continent doesn't lag behind when it comes to wagering. Known to have some of the most popular establishments in countries like South Africa, the continent has been having a good share of profits from the gambling industry.

The story is not a lot different when it comes to internet gambling. For example, South Africa is one of the countries in the world where online gambling is highly present and incredibly popular, despite lower tech availability and somewhat restrictive laws that are in place - operators are not allowed to run an online casino within the borders, while local players are free from prosecution when they play on foreign websites.

That being said, players from South Africa are eligible to sign for some of the best online casinos on the market - to help them in the process, online gambling guides made a shortlist with all the details to pay attention to.

Kelvin Jones from stated: the best online casino in South Africa would satisfy the following criteria - having a valid license; being whitelisted; having reliable customer support; providing competitive bonuses and promotions; including reliable payment methods and acceptance of the local currency; offering a great selection of games; and ensuring exquisite mobile gaming experience. With that in mind, players can have a safe gaming environment.

The Games Available

One thing is certain about the online operators - there is no way you can run out of games to play. Modern websites hold a large variety of games available, and new games are being launched all the time.

Each website will list their games differently, but here are some of the main categories:

  • Slots
  • Video Poker
  • Table games (blackjack, baccarat, and more)
  • Specialty games (scratch tickets, lottery games, etc.)

There is also the category of sports betting which has seen a huge rise in recent years. Once it was launched, sports fans around the world rapidly accepted the option to wager on their favorite teams online.


Starting from glamorous venues and switching to flashy Vegas entertainment spots, casinos have gone through a turbulent history. Today, they entered the homes of passionate gamblers who can access their favorite games online.

Online casinos may have less glitz than the glamorous land-based venues from the past, but their popularity is constantly on the rise.