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Gambling and Blackjack before Cyberspace
It’s hard to imagine a world today without the internet; this year’s high school graduating classes will quickly tell you that they have no idea how we could have possibly survived without iTunes and broadband 4G cellular service. Well, when it comes to the world’s most popular casinos and sportsbooks, they would easily choose to roll us right back to 1991 and avoid cyberspace all together.
In fact, just ten years ago, casinos essentially accepted three payment methods for blackjack players. Cash was always welcome, of course, and so were credit cards since the casino tacked on a hefty convenience fee for swiping it. Some casinos would also accept cashier checks if there was no other option available, so everything remained nice and neat for the house.
The Early Internet Casinos
Once cyber-casinos started showing up in the mid 1990’s, it placed an enormous amount of pressure on traditional casinos because there were suddenly so many more payment options that they could not accept. People sitting in their living room could suddenly transfer money from their checking account, set up a wire transfer, use their credit card, or a dozen other convenient options. Since traditional casinos could not compete with this level of service, they initially chose to simply ignore the online industry and act like they did not exist.
This wasn’t the soundest plan, however, because if the modern casinos would have embraced the World Wide Web back in the 1990’s then online gambling may not have ended up a $20 billion dollar worldwide industry like it is today.
Crossing the Millennium
By the time the year 2000 rolled around, the online gaming industry had taken approximately 25% of the business from traditional casinos. The smart move for the land-based blackjack providers would have been to hop into the internet fray with their own software clients, but instead they approached their governments demanding that online gambling should be outlawed entirely. Some regions bought into these requests, some did not, but overall things became very difficult for blackjack players in cyberspace.
Now, the laws in most regions did not ban online gambling; the governments were way too slick for that since even a decade ago they saw the industry’s true potential. Instead, governments around the world either regulated the industry themselves or they blocked most financial payment options; making it very hard for overseas providers to service their clients.
The New Age of Online Blackjack
The problem with most of these laws was that they banned financial transactions between banks and online casinos. There are now hundreds of ways to transfer the money over the internet without directly using a bank account, and all of a sudden there were third party money transfer sites popping up all over cyberspace. For a mere 1-2% (which is usually paid by the casino), these businesses could deliver funds instantly without breaking any laws.
So here we are, twenty years later. In order to keep up with cyberspace, blackjack casinos eventually opened up their payment options as well; now most establishments accept debit cards, PayPal (and similar sites), bank transfers, and just about every other option that you can find online. Overall, these changes helped shape the industry (both on land and online) because of the healthy competition and forced compliances.