There are a huge number of publications in various forms concerning the industrial revolution and how quickly the lives of ordinary people changed as a result, but those of us alive today have also seen a similar revolution in the form of the development of computer technology. You do not need to be very old to have witnessed how computers and the internet have changed almost everything about the way we live our lives. We now shop online, pay many of our bills online, and many of us even manage our bank accounts online, and all this has come about over the last thirty years at most. There is no doubt that computers have changed the way many of us work, but the internet has also changed the way we use our leisure time particularly for those of us who enjoy gambling. Not that long ago the most popular gambling activity in Ireland was undoubtedly gambling on horse racing, followed by greyhound racing and football. All of these sports gambling activities were usually done through the high street betting shops either by actually visiting the nearest shop or by using a telephone account. That all changed when the leading bookmakers decided that they should follow the lead of the big high street retailers and offer their customers the opportunity to place their bets online. Having invested in the technology and software to set up their online sports gambling sites, they then started to look for ways to improve the returns on that investment, which resulted in some of them starting to introduce a few gambling games onto their established sports gambling sites and the idea of what we now call online casino gambling was born. The idea of introducing gambling games onto websites which had been specifically targeted at sports gambling fans must have been a bit of a risk in those early days, particularly when you consider that the software necessary to offer most gambling games online is very specialised and there were not many software suppliers with experience in the online casino gambling field. Looking back to those early days it is relatively easy to see why the idea of being able to play gambling games online proved just as popular as the sport gambling sites had become, because we suddenly saw a massive improvement in our gambling options in all areas. The online sports gambling sites had already provided us with the opportunity to gamble on a much wider range of sports and sporting events from all over the world, but as more and more gambling games were added to the online gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers the choices just got bigger and bigger. Initially of course the gambling games available online were targeted at the existing casino enthusiasts who already enjoyed regular visits to a real casino, but this was then followed up by the introduction of a number of numbers games based on the concept of bingo which clearly again appealed to an existing gambling audience. Targeting these two groups of existing gambling enthusiasts turned out to be a bit of a masterstroke and was undoubtedly one of the main reasons why the idea of playing casino gambling games online proved so successful so quickly. For the regular casino visitors in Ireland who had been mostly restricted to playing casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack because of the lack of floor space in our casinos, the chance to play many other traditional casino gambling games was clearly going to appeal to them. The online casino gambling sites were able to offer them the opportunity to play other traditional casino gambling games such as baccarat, backgammon and even that favourite of American casinos, craps. These are all well-known gambling games played in casinos all over the world, but they were very rarely available at any of our casinos in Ireland.
The appeal of online gambling for bingo fans was slightly different in that it was not necessarily because of an increase in the number of different games they could play online, it was more to do with the convenience of being able to play from home. The bingo clubs had been through a sticky patch following the introduction of the smoking ban, but clearly the popularity of the game of bingo itself was still as strong as ever and the online casino gambling sites benefitted from that enthusiasm for the game. As the idea of playing gambling games online has developed, so the big online gambling sites operated by the big bookmakers have continued to add more and more games to their sites. The vast majority of these new online gambling games are of course slots games in various forms and based on a variety of themes, but we shouldn’t ignore another traditional gambling game which has probably benefitted more than any other game from the introduction of online gambling. We are referring of course to the game of poker. There are now so many people playing poker online that the site operators have established specialised poker platforms which allow poker enthusiasts to play against each other. When it comes to identifying the most serious group of online gambling games enthusiasts, there is no doubt that poker fans are amongst the most committed. The game of Texas Hold’em poker in particular now has a huge following both online and at the big poker tournaments. Poker tournaments such as the Irish Open are now usually so oversubscribed that they need to use qualifying rounds to decide who can play.
As we have already said in this article, the initial stimulus for the introduction of online gambling games came from the leading bookmakers looking to get greater returns on their investments in online sports gambling, but online casino gambling has since developed into a huge gambling sector in its own right and there are now a number of specialist online casino gambling site operators who concentrate solely on providing an exciting and often exclusive range of gambling games.