The history of online gambling started with the “Free Trade and Processing Zone” act passed in Antigua Barbuda in 1994. Any person or company who wanted to open an internet casino could get a gaming license.
The law was there, but the software didn’t appear until later that year, thanks to Microgaming (and later also CryptoLogic) appearing on the market. They weren’t the giants of the industry that they are now, but thanks to their software and security systems the first online casino ever started operating in 1996.
Between 1996 and 1998 online gambling has been evolving rapidly, along with the Internet itself. The quality of software was improving very fast too, and the number of online casinos was increasing. That’s when the first progressive jackpot, called Cash Splash, was introduced by Microgaming.
Online casinos had opponents right from the beginning, too. Republican senator from Arizona, John Kyl, has tried to push his “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act” since 1998. And that point, after only 2 years, the online gambling industry was worth about $1 billion.