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The First Online Casino: Who, What, When, Where, and Most Importantly, Why?

18 January 2010 by Devon Chappell
portrait of old man

Is being the first and oldest all that it's cracked up to be?

Here’s a history lesson for you:

I remember back at the turn of the Century (Oh Lord, I say that way too much…and yes, I’m getting way too old), when it was a big deal to be the “first online casino”. You know, being the first online casino to go live on the Web, and thus earning the connotation that “first” equates to being ahead of the pack? Obviously, this is true to a certain extent. I mean, with age also comes a certain amount of respect, should it not?

In this business, it is hard to stay in business if you’re cheating players. Indeed, it does happen. Some of the smallest trees in the online gambling industry cast the deepest shade, if you know what I mean. Information travels fast online, and when enough players get swindled and enough blacklists get published, rogue online casinos have no choice but to shut down. The only problem is that they often rebrand themselves only to begin the process all over again :(. For those online casinos that have endured the test of time without going rogue, however, respect is earned and respect is given.

So the question remains, does first necessarily mean better, or even, best? And, who was the first online casino anyways?

Surprisingly, verifying who was actually the “first”, and consequently, the oldest online casino, poses more difficulty than gauging the benefits of being first. You see, the title of “first” is highly contested, and everybody wants to be first for bragging rights and the prestige and reputation that comes from the title. Of course, for the online casino that is no longer in business, the title of first absolutely doesn’t mean a thing. Nor does it mean a thing when the title has been self-endowed – and there are plenty of online casinos self-endowing themselves with the title of first or best or largest etc.

What does mean a thing and is actually more important than being the first online casino, in my opinion, is the history of the operator. For example, these days, the best online casinos are usually apart of a network of sites, often growing in sync with the successes of the network itself. The longer a network has stayed in business, without having earned a tarnished reputation mind you, the more trustworthy and dependable it’s casino’s ought to be.

So, instead of trying to pin who was the actual first online casino, which really could be any number of sites launched in the mid-nineties (Inter Casino, First Web Casino, Lasseters etc.), pay mind to who are the more established online casino networks. A good place to get started would be the English Harbour Gaming Ventures (EHGV) Network (for U.S. players) and the Jackpot Factory (for UK and Euro players). EHGV has been in business since 1997/98 and indeed launched one of the first online casinos – flagship property, English Harbour Casino. EHGV now operates a medium sized network of eight thriving online casinos, including OCS favorites, Super Slots and Millionaire Casino.

As for the Jackpot Factory, they have been in business since the mid-nineties, launching what could actually be the first online casino. Are you ready for it? You’ll never guess the name. First Web Casino. The Jackpot Factory now maintains a network of seven online casinos, including OCS top picks, All Slots Casino and All Jackpots Casino.

What is most important about EHGV and the Jackpot Factory is that they have been in business for many years, all the while earning a solid reputation and continually expanding their reach on the internet. That is the value of history, people! It should stand for something, and in my opinion, carries much more weight than simply launching the first online casino. Don’t be fooled by titles. Learn your history!

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