Developments in Online Gaming
For centuries, perhaps even millennia, the face of human gaming and gambling hasn’t changed appreciably. Gamblers have bet on outcomes of battles, games of chance, and personal skills for as long as human history has been recorded: And, for just as long, people have gathered at establishments created for (or at least catering to) this purpose. Twentieth century America saw the boom of the Las Vegas casino phenomenon, when the widespread saloon culture of the Old West suffered the setback of legislation banning gambling, which was followed shortly by the Nevada legislation which allowed gambling in that single state. With a single location in the United States as a haven for gamers and gamblers, Las Vegas rapidly grew into an opulent Destination Location, drawing vacationers interested in the unique experience of the fancifully themed casinos, as well as serious gamers and high-rollers whose business at the gaming tables truly has been business. For decades, the Las Vegas phenomenon seemed to be the peak and epitome of American gambling—until the 1990s advent of the online casino. Everything changed from there.
The Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda can be credited with having the foresight to create a legalized form of online casino gambling, which became instantly accessible to gamers the world over from the moment it went online. Suddenly, instead of having to travel to a hot spot location to enjoy the games of gambling, players could participate any time at all, and from any place with an internet connection. Rather than the expense of a drive or a flight to another city—and the associated costs of staying there to play—a gamer could sit back in the comfort of home, at no additional cost whatsoever, and log into an online game of poker, or blackjack, or roulette, or slots, or progressive jackpot, or any number of the long list of games available in the online casinos. It was a revolutionary new model of gaming, opening up the field to millions of skilled and serious gamers who didn’t previously have the ongoing access to gaming avenues. One famous example, now, is Chris Moneymaker, who blew away his competition in the World Poker Championships of 2003, having risen to the final round from the ranks of “anonymous” online players. No one in the poker world had ever heard of him until he rose from the anonymity of online players to swipe away the established players. Millions of players have made the same realization that Moneymaker apparently had; namely, that they can now play seriously and at relatively low cost, play continuously to hone their skills, and take their gaming to the big time. It’s no longer a small circle accessible only to those who have the money to get in the door in the first place; it’s now an open door through which any person can enter based on merit and playing skills.
Online gaming has not only increased the accessibility and popularity of online casino gambling, but has pushed technological developments to support the gaming industry and the burgeoning interest in online games. New software supports the gaming platforms themselves, and new games and upgrades appear on the scene almost continuously. The interactivity and graphical capabilities of newly introduced games are truly mind-blowing, and add to the casino experience in ways that can make Vegas seem a little shabby and worn out by comparison. If a person imagined they’d be “missing out” on the total experience of a Vegas vacation and its whimsical casino themes, that same player might make a quick change of mind once they’ve experienced some of the amazing graphical and interactive elements of the currently available online games. They have the entire “wow” factor of Las Vegas, and without the jet lag.
Support systems have also rapidly developed for the online gaming industry, including specific systems designed to enable players to move their money efficiently, privately, and securely. These services protect the player from wide distribution of credit card information or bank account numbers, and they employ extraordinary safety measures of encryption and online security. With the online services like Neteller or Click2Pay, players can move money instantaneously among their online casino accounts, withdrawing money after wins, or adding money to an ongoing game, all with the mere touch of a button online, or the entry of a username and passcode.
Additional developments in sync with the advances in the gaming and money management services would include the mobile capabilities which are now available to gamers with the simple use of a smart phone or similar mobile device. While it seemed incredible just a short time ago to realize that casino play could be accessible to people from home computers, the next generation of online play has taken it a step further. Players now can access the internet from mobile phones and play their favorite games online from any location where they get a cell phone signal. Individual casinos, online games, and money management services have developed downloadable apps which can be added to a handheld device, providing direct access to instant gaming or money management.
All in all, these new developments in online gaming have opened the field to gamers from all backgrounds and walks of life. A player can focus resources at the gaming table itself, rather than on the expense of transportation to a gaming table, and with the ability to play regularly and constantly, players can sharpen their skills and instincts and start making a real business of winning. Even the VIP and high-roller clubs have become more easily accessible to the online players, as online casinos can offer cash incentives rather than travel-related ones. Just like Chris Moneymaker, who made it to the World Poker Championships from the springboard of an original forty dollar online poker game, the opportunity is open to anyone who wants to shoot for it. And practically anyone CAN shoot for it these days; all they need is an internet connection and a few bucks to get started.