Online gambling began to grow significantly in the late 1990s, as more people gained access to the internet and having home computers connected to the internet became more widespread. As early as 1994, Antigua and Barbuda passed an act that made it possible for this country to issue gambling licenses for online casinos. Another pioneer in the field of online gambling is Microgaming, who developed one of the first comprehensive gambling software packages for online gambling.
Today, a multitude of gambling types are available online, including casino games, bingo, keno and other lotteries, poker, backgammon, puzzle games and sports betting.
An online casino tends to be chiefly filled with slots and table games such as blackjack and roulette, but other game types also exist, such as video poker, digital scratch cards, single-player bingo and single-player keno.
The old-fashioned slot machine – invented in the 19th century – was a mechanical contraption where the player pulled a lever to spin three or five physical reels. Today, these machines are very rare. Instead, casinos – both online and offline – display animated reels on a screen instead of utilizing actual physical reels.
Since no physical reels are required for modern slots, some game developers have started to experiment with the format and replace the animated reels with other images, while still retaining that classic slot-feel.
One example of a non-reel slot game that is present in wide range of online casinos is Gonzo´s Quest from the Swedish game developer NetEntertainment (NetEnt). Gonzo is a Spanish explorer in the jungles of South America, and when you have made your wager, animated stones will come tumbling down. The stones neatly position themselves in five columns and each stone features a carved symbol. This way, you get a five-reel feel without actually having any reels on the screen.
Pretty much every video poker game that you can come across in online casinos is based on five-card poker with one (voluntary) change of cards.
- You make your wager.
- You get a start-hand consisting of five cards, dealt face up.
- You are allowed to discard anywhere from 0 to 5 cards, and get them replaced with new cards from the deck.
- Your hand is now final. If it is good enough, you get paid.
When you play video poker, you do not compete against other players or against any dealer-hand. Instead, you know in advance how great your hand needs to be for you to get paid. If you are playing Tens or Better video poker, only a pair of tens or better get paid. If you are playing Jacks or Better, the minimum requirement is a pair of jacks.
Live casinos online
The fast internet connections of the 21st century have made it possible to set-up casino studios around the world and live stream the gambling to punters who access the studio live feed through their home computers, smartphones or tablets.
In a live casino, real dealers and croupiers work in front of high-quality cameras and you – the player – can follow the action in real-time, make wagers and use the chat feature to chat with the casino staff and fellow players.
Examples of commonly available games in live casinos online are Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat. Various types of casino poker are also popular, such as Caribbean Stud Poker and Three Card Poker. If you are into dice games, you´d be happy to know that the number of live casinos online that feature Craps and Sic Bo has increased a lot during the last three years.