After an incredible few years of explosive growth, here in 2024, the global iGaming industry is estimated to be worth as much as $93.26 billion — and could grow even further before the decade ends. According to Mordor Intelligence, current estimates put the total value of the Online Gambling Market at $153.21 billion (which stands for a CAGR of 10.44%).

Given just how technologically innovative and lucrative online gambling is today, it’s easy to forget that it’s still a pretty young industry when compared to other leading forms of entertainment. Video gaming has at least two decades of online casino, poker and sports betting, nevertheless, these markets have proven their dominance.

Today, the iGaming industry is rich with diverse gaming experiences; from immersive casino gaming at platforms like Thunderpick ( to real-time sports betting options, punters are spoilt for choice. In this article, we’ll take a look back at the pivotal moments in the development of the industry, charting the cutting-edge tech and key players that have shaped it into the multibillion-dollar global behemoth that it is today.

A Timeline of Innovation


  • The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act was passed in Antigua and Barbuda, allowing licenses to be granted to operators to open digital casinos, marking the beginning of the online gambling industry.
  • The first online casino, InterCasino, takes to the World Wide Web. Although it provided only a limited choice of games, it set the stage for what would soon follow.
  • In 1998, the infamous Planet Poker launched and introduced the vertical to the online gambling scene.


  • By 2001, online real money gaming markets generated an estimated $2.2 billion in revenue.
  • An amateur player entered the WSOP after qualifying through an online satellite tournament and changed the iGaming scene forever. The ‘Moneymaker Effect’ kickstarted a global poker boom and is still upheld as a significant driver in the development of online gambling even today.
  • A key piece of gaming legislation was set up in the UK with the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, creating a robust framework for digital wagering that prioritizes player protection and provably fair gaming.


  • The US iGaming scene becomes fractured as Black Friday, started by the US Department of Justice at the start of the decade, has a devastating impact on digital poker in the country. At the same time, the door was opened for state regulation of iGaming, promoting Delaware to become the first US state to legalize the industry.
  • In 2018, the US Supreme Court reversed the restrictive PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Protection Act), prompting a “gambling gold rush” with many states legalizing online wagering activities.


  • Online casinos began vastly outperforming their brick-and-mortar counterparts as the world went into lockdown with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More US states have announced legislation for iGaming, with Michigan and WHAT entering the fray.
  • Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are being increasingly integrated into online casinos, poker, and sports betting platforms.
  • More recently, Artificial Intelligence and other extended reality sectors have started to make their mark on iGaming.

Consumer Preferences and Shifting Trends

As the timeline above shows, iGaming has undergone extensive growth and development during the past few decades, particularly on the regulatory and legislative front. But beyond the governmental drivers, what other factors have accelerated the Evolution of online gambling?

One of the biggest catalysts for change in the gambling landscape in general has been the era of the digital age. Pretty much every aspect of human life has shifted online, with consumer entertainment choices reflecting their lifestyles in general. Thanks to a global surge in technological innovation, activities like playing roulette or participating in a poker tournament aren’t confined to brick and mortar venues. iGaming is 24/7, which increases both the accessibility of different sectors and appeals to a far greater array of demographics.


This digitalization has also revolutionized the way in which operators reach, engage, and retain consumers. For instance, targeted marketing is becoming more refined and ever more data-driven with each passing year, especially as consumers prefer more personalized relationships with brands and experiences. The arrival of machine learning processes and AI tools means that operators can provide bespoke recommendations and customer service to digital casino users, improving customer retention in the process.

Finally, the influence that mobile technology has had on iGaming as a whole cannot be overlooked. Mobile tech has not only been responsible for a universal perspective shift on what gambling activities are, transforming them from being “destination” pastimes to activities that are convenient, instantly playable even on the go, and lightweight enough to “pick up and put down” at any time of the day. Moreover, the affordability of smartphones and mobile data packages in underdeveloped regions and emerging markets made iGaming sectors more accessible — and therefore appealing — to new consumer markets at a much faster rate than the default PC/laptop and broadband connection set-up has been able to achieve throughout several decades.

About Author