The Internet has been around for four decades - it was officially “switched on” on January 1st, 1983. But for it to become widespread among private users, around a decade had to pass. Internet historians consider 1995 the year when the web officially became mainstream - it had 10 million active users. And it was also the year when the first online casinos were born. In the quickly changing landscape of internet companies, online gambling providers have proven to be surprisingly resilient. There are quite a few iGaming companies still active today that were born at the dawn of the internet - true veterans of the online gambling business.
The Wikipedia article about Microgaming claims that it was the first to develop online gambling software in 1994. Others consider another company, the now-defunct CryptoLogic, to be the first casino software developer - but things were in a bit of a turmoil back then, so we’re not sure which one was the first. But it doesn’t really matter - Microgaming is still one of the oldest, if not THE oldest - iGaming company still in business.
Microgaming was a true pioneer in the industry, being the first to release a mobile slot machine, a smartwatch slot, and a virtual reality casino product. At one point, its casino software was the most widely used in the industry. Microgaming is still alive and kicking today, although it’s no longer in the game development business - it sold its game library to Games Global in 2022. Now, the company focuses exclusively on providing B2B platform services to the industry.
Another veteran developer that still maintains its online presence today, however limited it may be, is Realtime Gaming. Founded in 1998, its main focus was the development of Adobe Flash-based casino games, from where it transitioned to HTML5, even venturing into the world of land-based casinos.
RTG’s casino games offer limited payouts and low stakes, so they are not very popular among players. Still, the company is still alive, with a relatively large number of modern-day online casinos featuring its games.
Some of the most popular online slots South Africa has to offer are those built by Playtech. The company is another industry veteran, founded in 1999 by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi. While it came relatively late to the party, it has grown significantly over the years, absorbing several other brands in various branches of the industry.
Today, Playtech is one of the most significant online gambling businesses with revenues that exceeded €1.6 billion in 2022. It covers every branch of the industry, from online bingo and sports betting to land-based slot machines, as well as a popular B2B platform for operators and affiliate programs.
The Internet is an ever-changing landscape of services. In this chaotic environment, online gambling companies have proven to be surprisingly resilient. Companies like Microgaming and Playtech, founded at the dawn of the web, are still alive and kicking today, offering their services to an ever-growing audience.