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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

History of Online Casinos

Online casinos appeared shortly after the internet became a more mainstream tool for the public to use

The internet has been in full swing for about 30 years. Of course there have been many changes and advancements since the beginning. Believe it or not, online casinos appeared just shortly after the internet became a more mainstream tool for the public to use and offered a range of popular games. In online poker each player is only able to see their own cards, just as in real life poker.

Mexican card players

Two of Clubs

A superstition that in which the presence of this card always indicacted that there were five trumps in the dealer’s hand was surprisingly, in the last century, supported by the experiences of a large number of players in the Reform Club.

Online Casinos came into play only several years after the internet was active. In 1994 there were several companies that designed preliminary software for online casinos as well as payment processing systems that were put in place in order to facilitate monetary transactions for online casinos on the internet. Today, the industry keeps changing and developing, and gamblers can even play on mobile casinos.

Intercasino, which is still a very popular online casino claims to be the first online casino that was available for players on the World Wide Web. Microgaming and Cryptologic were also some of the first masterminds behind gaming software and payment systems.

In 2001 a player was the lucky winner of an amount over $400,000 US dollars after playing on a progressive slot game at a Caribbean online casino making this the largest online casino jackpot to be won to that date.

In 2002 that jackpot is wiped with a player taking home over 1.59 Million dollars. In 2003, the eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (ECOGRA) is created to provide some governing over the online gambling industry.

In 2006 there were over 2600 online casinos or online casino-like websites on the web. That is also the year that UIGEA showed its face and online casinos and any other form of online gambling was banned from the US.

Bee 92 Casino quality by USPCC for Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, 1995

Above: Bee 92 Casino quality playing cards made by USPCC with custom ace and jokers for Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, 1995. The deck has been cancelled by drilling a hole through the centre. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Green Valley Ranch Casino by Carta Mundi c.2005

Above: Green Valley Ranch Casino by Carta Mundi with custom ace of spades and the new joker design, c.2005. The aces have four indices, all other cards have two indices. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Online casinos continue to thrive on an overall global scale and are likely to continue to do so. Live dealer casinos are a recent development in online casino gaming, gaining traction first in SE Asia and then Europe. Try online casinos with real dealers. However, online gambling, casino and poker in the US is illegal. It's also illegal in other major countries like France and South Korea, and it is rumored that soon it'll be the same in Italy. Only the future will tell what is next in store for online casinos and the industry as a whole.

See also:   Playing Cards and Gaming   BBC: Online poker industry in turmoil after US indictments   BBC: 888 and Bwin shares soar as US betting rivals closed   BBC: Can the world of online poker chase out the cheats?.

NOTE: There are hundreds of jurisdictions in the world with Internet access and hundreds of different games and gambling opportunities available on the Internet. YOU are responsible for determining if it is legal for YOU to play any particular games or place any particular wager.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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