From offline to online – The history of casino games


As an integral part of human culture, games have been played as far back as ancient times where the Ancient Greeks would host Olympics, Mesoamericans would play ball games and the Ancient Chinese would play board games such as Weiqi. But from these ancient games to today’s virtual reality, double screening and on the go games, the way that we play these games has fundamentally changed.

Thanks to today’s technological innovations where 96% of the Canadian population now have access to the internet and 72% of the population make online purchases, the way we game has become more convenient, more accessible and more encompassing than ever before.

While casino games used to be limited to licensed venues and green velvet tables, it’s now easier than ever for players to access games from their portable devices while on the go, from almost any location in the world.

Let’s take a look at how casino games have changed over time.

The digital shakeup

Board games vs. digital games is becoming a popular debate and one that’s been on the minds of parents, businesses and consumers alike for some time now. However, some games such as sports just can’t be replaced by a screen and a remote control (although the likes of Nintendo Wii, FIFA and Nintendo Switch are coming close). Nothing quite beats having the wind in your hair, mud on your shoes and a physical ball in your hand while being surrounded by a team. There are also traditional games like scrabble, snakes and ladders and Ludo that never seem to grow old through family generations.

Despite traditional games still being a large part of the market, the global online gambling market is expected to reach $127.3 billion US dollars by 2027, with casino games becoming more popular with different demographics than that of traditional casinos.

Research also shows that mobile gaming is now the largest online gaming segment, making up 45% of the total market. As online gaming continues to grow, so too do the products and while PC gaming may have been the most popular type of digital gaming in the 90’s today’s gamers are all about console gaming, with Sony PlayStation holding a 63% share in the market and 64% of gamers opting to stream games rather than buy/download a copy.

The digital shakeup

Mobile gaming currently holds the biggest market share of online gaming.

The transition from physical to online casinos

  • From physical betting shops, to live poker rooms and online bingo, the industry has come a long way since it was first legalised. The below demonstrates a timeline of gaming succession.
  • The first profitable gaming happened in 1790 when Harry Odgen made a profit from bookmaking by studying the winners of a horse race, then laying down odds on each horse.
  • Two centuries later in 1961, the first betting shops were legalised, meaning that people from all walks of life were now able to place bets in Highstreet venues. At the point of legalisation, more than 10,000 shops were established in the first 6 months alone.
  • Gaming technology began to develop in 1986 when betting terminals, TV screens and computer-generated racecourses were permitted in such venues.
  • By 1998, the internet had taken a hold of society and the betting and gambling industries began to see the benefit of online betting and providers began to appear offering games like online bingo and poker.
  • By 2015, the online gambling industry was estimated to be worth more than $41 billion US dollars and the use of online technology was integrated into the very foundations of the market.

What traditional casino games can be played online?

Slot Games

As one of the most popular types of online casino game, over 90% of today’s online casino games fall into the slot game category. While the early versions of online slot games were quite basic, today’s online slots are intelligent and entertaining, featuring a number of themes from popular culture and second to none graphics.

Table Games

Some of the most popular table casinos games are becoming more popular online than they are in brick and mortar casinos today. With the likes of online blackjack Canada, players are able to play a game of blackjack at their own convenience. Other table games like poker and roulette are also growing in popularity online as well. With larger jackpots, more gaming options and the ability to play from the comfort of your own home, it seems that digital casino games are a big win for the industry.

Table Games

Despite being online, casino table based games are very popular showing the physical table has no influence on popularity.

The future of online casino gaming

While sometimes you can’t beat a visit to a traditional casino venue, the vast majority of casino players are now opting for online options, thanks to ever- evolving technology that’s enabling more immersive play. VR technology is now bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, while online poker rooms and bingo chat rooms allow players to maintain the social aspects of visiting a physical venue.

As we continue to see the industry grow YoY, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the online casino world.



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