Top 3 of the Very First Online Casino Providers

Known by other names like virtual casinos or internet casinos, online casinos took over the world by storm at their incipient stages. Antigua and Barbuda was the first country to pass legislation that allowed licensing of online casinos; this was in 1994. Since then, a great appreciation of online gaming has surmised a greater audience and in turn a wider market.

  1. Bally

The Bally name has been around for quite some time. Founded on 10th January 1932 by Raymond Moloney, Bally Manufacturing Corporation first manufactured pinball tables. In the 40s, the company expanded into the business of creating slot machines and cabinets. In just a short while, the company became one of the best slot manufacturers in America. It experienced a bit of a slow phase in the 50s owing to a restructuring of the company’s ownership but soon resumed its peak position in 1963 with the release of “Money Honey” slot.

Success has followed this game developer all the way to the days of online casinos. A familiar name in gambling communities, Bally offers a wide range of free to play slot games and also the chance to play real money games. The list of 100+ Bally slot machines includes a number of popular titles which any gambler has either played or has wanted to play. These include Michael Jackson: King of Pop, Rocket Returns, Cash Wizards, Titanic and many others.

  1. Microgaming 

Microgaming is considered by many of the gambling folk to be the pioneer of online gaming. It was the first provider to come up with a working online system that is akin to what online casinos manifest today.

The foundations of Microgaming can be traced back to 1994. Their headquarters is located in the Isle of Man, but there are speculations that it might have roots in South Africa as well. In 1996, the company released its first product, casino management tools, which immediately took to the market securing a number of licensees for the product in the same year.

The year 1998 marks another first for Microgaming as they were the first to unveil the progressive jackpot slot machine in online casinos- Cash Splash. Today, progressive jackpot slots have been something sort of a staple in a large number of online casinos. The idea of progressive jackpots was so revolutionary that it exponentially increased Microgaming’s clientele boosting it further into unchartered echelons.

As a founder member of the Interactive Gaming Council, Microgaming along with its compatriots paved the way for fair gaming practices in the online gaming community to build confidence and trust among players and clients alike. Microgaming would also become a founder member of e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) which is now considering at championing fair practices and better transactions for online gaming.

In 2001, Microgaming received Casino Player Magazine accolade for being the best casino of the year. This reward was followed by many more that saw to the continued growth of the Microgaming brand. Around the same period, Microgaming released Major Millions, another progressive jackpot slot machine that long held the record for largest payout until 2015 when it was ousted by yet another Microgaming brainchild, Mega Moolah.

Microgaming currently boasts of more than 1200 slot machine games with different designs, themes, and quality graphics. They have ventured further into other games like blackjack, roulette, bingo just but to name a few. Live Casinos have also featured on Microgaming’s impressive portfolio. Recently, they took a brisk walk with technology in introducing their new version of Virtual Reality Roulette employing Oculus Rift VR technology. 

Today, you can find many of Microgaming’s games at many online casinos with popular titles like Hell Boy, Tomb Raider, The Dark Knight Rises, Mega Moolah and many others. Microgaming still remains among the best casino providers to ever grace the gaming industry.

  1. Net Entertainment

Net Entertainment, or NetEnt as popularly known, has been on the online scene since 1996. It was not entirely new to the casino market since its roots can be traced back to a Scandinavian casino - Cherry was founded back in the 70’s.

From a struggling background, NetEnt has clamored its way up to the top owing its success to a growing internet market and evolving ways for online payment of goods and services. On the outset, NetEnt was intent on developing software for sports betting and their own gaming software.

In 2002, fortune fell on the company with the launch of a virtual casino called Casino Module, powered by its own software. NetEnt’s software was a marketable choice since it was cheaper and easier to integrate into the already existing online casino websites. What was so prominent about Casino Module was that it was developed entirely using Java platform, which had not been done by any person before then. The software earned them many awards and put them on the map as the next big thing.

In 2005, Net Ent was licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority giving it a much-needed legitimacy and level of trust. It sold its casino business to focus on software development only. The company grew over the years and in 2009 listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.

Another milestone for them came in 2011 when they developed NetEnt Touch to optimize gaming for mobile devices across all platforms. In 2014, the developer signed more than 30 contracts extending licenses to a similar number of clients. It was still in 2014 that NetEnt developed their first game entirely in HTML5 format that was suitable for both desktop and mobile devices. By this time the company was valued at 1 billion Euros.

Over the years, NetEnt has brought to us games like Gonzo Quest, Jack Hammer, Divine Fortune, Tiki Wonders among many other titles.

Even as online gaming continues to evolve, we can expect these providers to marvel us with new and exciting titles. Microgaming, Bally, and Net Ent continue holding a torch.


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