How Online Gambling Took Over the World

There are few success stories that measure up to the immense growth that the online gambling business has enjoyed since the internet re-shaped our world. Where other industries suffered the consequences of negating the online space before eventually having to forcefully embrace it, the gambling industry immediately identified the internet as the natural new home for its business and wasted no time in conquering the space. Real money slots have become a norm today thanks to the ingenious manoeuvring that online casinos made in the net’s early days.

Read on below as we have a look at how the gambling industry grew into the online behemoth it is today. We’ll follow this industry’s transformation as it rose to new heights and explore what the future holds for online gambling.

Rising to New Heights

Up until the 90’s, gambling activity was limited to land-based establishments and the territorial impositions that came with them. Sure, you might argue that online casinos & betting sites have never been able to replicate the atmosphere of being inside of an actual casino or betting parlour, but the physical limitations surrounding a brick and mortar establishment weighed heavily on the industry’s growth. That all changed in 1994.

With the internet’s inevitable commercialisation, the gambling business looked to this new frontier to grow its operations. Where film and music industries (among others), shunned the new platform and suffered the severe consequences (only recently have they established a proper foothold within the space), the gambling industry saw the internet as a help rather than a hindrance and set about building a new online empire. The minute that safe and secure online transactions were finally implemented, the first online gambling venue was born, and it happened to be the Liechtenstein International Lottery that opened in October of 1994. 

The rest of the 90’s saw online casinos continually grow in size and profit. The internet set new parameters and borders for customers to enjoy these online establishments from all around the world. In 1998, Frost & Sullivan reported that the online gambling industry’s revenue had exceeded $830 million in that year alone. This massive growth eventually led to numerous restrictions being imposed on the online industry, including an attempt to introduce the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act which would have made online gambling illegal for all US citizens. Luckily for the industry, the bill never passed. The industry could continue to flourish and by 2001 the estimated number of online gamblers rose to an astounding 8 million players.


This growth continued across the next decade, with H2 Gambling Capital estimating the industry’s worth at $21 billion in 2008. Within a span of 10 years, the online gambling sector had grown to unimaginable heights. The online gambling phenomena had travelled all around the world and increased everywhere it went. In the UK alone, 45% of the entire population had bet online between 2009 and 2010, with the industry reaching a worth of £1.9 billion in 2010. Over in the EU, the gambling market took home a value of 22.2 billion in 2018, having increased by an impressive 11% from the previous year. This accounted for 49.2% of the entire global gambling market.

Looking to the Future

The entire online gambling industry currently holds a worth of $66.7 billion and the impressive growth within the sector doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The key lies within the bigger shift towards smartphone use, which increases the opportunity to acquire new customers and creates an easier, more efficient way for users to engage in gambling activities. The growing popularity for the sector paired with modern models like freemium create new opportunities to drive the market higher and higher. According to Grand View Research Inc, by 2027 the global market will reach a stunning amount of $127.3 billion

The increase in digitization means that more people will turn to the online space for their gambling needs, with more and more companies shifting their main priorities heading that way too. The COVID-19 situation has also shown a rise in online gambling, with the circumstances bringing in more and more players from other gambling sectors to the online market. As the world continues to push through the digital age, the online gambling market continues to grow with it.

The Adaptable Industry

The online gambling industry’s ability to pre-empt new trends and adapt to the times have proven to be invaluable in its climb to the top. With an impressive increase in growth percentages every year, the industry doesn’t look to be losing any ground and the more our world shifts towards an always online, digital space, the online gambling world will continue to flourish. It’s one of the largest internet success stories and one which steadily maintains its tight grip on the online world.