A mesmerizing infographic from Latest Betting Sites has laid bare the incredible growth of the online gambling market – a whopping $56.7 billion industry.
In fact the figure is so big that it exceeds the entire GDP of beautiful Costa Rica. Think about that for a second…
The fun and frolics began way back in 1994 when Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act, which allowed offshore licences for online betting firms.
Two years later the first online sportsbook – intertops.com – burst onto the scene. Finnish punter Jukka Honkavaara made the first-ever online wager in a HUGE (we joke) match between Tottenham Hotsput and Hereford United.
At about the same time, punters stateside were wagering some $60 million in the new online world of betting. And a year later, the first ever betting exchange – World Sport – opened in Antigua.
An attempt by US Senator Jon Kyl to ban internet gambling in the states fell flat on its face in 1998 and the House of Representatives rejected it again two years later.
Meanwhile back in the UK, William Hill became the first British company to launch an online betting platform. That move sparked a flurry of activity from other operators including Ladbrokes and Betfair in 2000 – the latter taking just 36 bets on its first day – and Paddy Power in 2004.
Since then we’ve had betting on the move with mobile, the introduction of in-play and live betting and most recently cash-out features.