Casino gaming is everywhere in the 21st century. From slot machines in bars, clubs and casinos to the multitude of mobile casino games available at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to roll the dice. However, it hasn’t always been like this; casinos were nowhere near as prevalent a century or so ago, and the online casino industry has only been around properly since the early 2000s. Despite their relatively short time on the scene, casinos have enjoyed a nearly unstoppable rise over the last couple of decades.
Era-defining games such as roulette and slots have certainly helped the popularity of casino gaming over the years. Still, these are the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the options available. New inventions such as virtual reality casinos and increasingly complex slots only create more variety. It remains to be seen whether casino gaming’s unstoppable ascent can be sustained endlessly, but the signs are all there for a continued rise. Keep reading for a dive into the history of casino gaming and what’s in store for the future.
A whistle-stop tour through the history of casino gaming
The history of gambling stretches back millennia, with recent archaeological evidence suggesting civilizations dating back to 3000 BC were playing with six-sided dice. More recently, the early Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes wrote of an early form of blackjack in the 16th century, and by the late 1800s, roulette had taken the gambling world by storm.
While casino games have been around for thousands of years, the establishments themselves took a lot longer to arrive. In fact, the first proper casino only opened in 17th century Venice, so genuine brick-and-mortar casino gaming is younger than you may have thought.
Casinos became increasingly popular among the affluent families of Europe in the 1800s. However, they didn’t hit the heights of today until the 1960s, when Las Vegas changed the blueprint, resulting in unbelievably decadent and grandiose casinos such as Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio. Online casino gaming was the next significant evolution, gaining momentum in the early 2000s. Nowadays, platforms such as SkyCity offer an abundance of online slots, table games, live casino games and more.
Online gambling in the 21st century
The development of a commercial-friendly internet changed many things during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Here at We-Heart, we’ve explored online phenomena from e-commerce to online horoscopes, but it’s tricky to think of anything that has had as much success as the online casino industry.
Starting from relatively humble beginnings in the early 2000s, online casino platforms had to wait for technology to catch up in the early days. However, by the early 2010s, online casino games such as online slots were rapidly gaining popularity. Buoyed by the evolution of mobile casinos alongside bigger and better games powered by mechanics such as Big Time Gaming’s Megaways and the like, the casino gaming industry has hit heights nobody thought would be possible before.
The startling evolution of slots
Although there are several factors behind the rip-roaring success of online casino gaming, online slots are by far the most integral piece of the puzzle. A Californian mechanical engineer named Charles D. Fey is credited as the first person to design a commercially friendly slot machine in the late 1800s. The Liberty Bell slot was a simple 3-reel machine with one pay line, but it set the standard for what was to follow.
During the 1960s, slot machines became more complex with the introduction of electro-magnetic technology that enabled bonus features such as free spins for the first time. Afterwards, video slots became the norm in the 1980s, paving the way for online slots to emerge in the early 2000s. Since then, slots have evolved at an outstanding rate, with technology such as Megaways offering a ludicrous 117,649 ways to win.
Can casino gaming’s popularity last?
Statista has estimated the global market size of the online casino industry alone at $59bn in 2022, with this expected to increase to $92.9bn in 2023. Add in the presence of real-life casinos as they continue to bounce back from the events of the last few years, and the market value increases even more. But here’s the thing: can casino gaming’s popularity last?
Some people argue that this level of growth is simply unsustainable, but we’re not so sure. The continued development of new gambling technology only makes it more fun and easily accessible, while jackpots continue to climb. As a result, it’s difficult to see the appetite for casino gaming ever slowing down. Only time will tell, of course, but we’re confident that gambling at online and real-life casinos will be a vital fixture in everyday life for a while yet.