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The online casino industry has grown rapidly over the course of the last a decade. While by the end of the 20th century there were only several dozen online casinos available to gamblers, over the final 10 years their numbers have grown exponentially and today gamblers have a choice of over a thousand online casinos.

Land-based casinos, especially in the US, have always promoted themselves as fun-filled places where men, and afterwards also women, can gamble as well as have a good time and if they gamble enough their hotel rooms will be comped through the casino to encourage high rollers to come and wager at their establishment.

In Las Vegas, Nevada the casinos have realized, soon after their establishment that should they want to attract the men to gamble they need to provide entertainment to women. Free drinks were offered to the ladies waiting for their husbands or lovers who were at the tables playing.

When slot machines were introduced the game mainly drew bored women who had nothing better to do in the casino. The casino owners have quickly identified one more source of income and started heavily promoting the game to women.

During the late twentieth century Las Vegas got revamped from a mobsters-run town and turned more corporate. Huge casinos were built and offered non-gambling related entertainment to attract vacationing families as well as started hosting large conventions which turned Las Vegas to the convention capital of the united states.

Tourism flourished, but profits from gambling have slowly started declining and places like Macau have started competing with Las Vegas as the city whose profits most from gambling.

The introduction of online casinos within the late 90's have served as another blow to places such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Monte Carlo. Suddenly people were given the option of gambling from the comfort of their very own homes with a click of a button.

However in those years not everybody had a personal computer and people who did had to surf the web using dial-up connections which were slow and patchy. This proved to be an issue as well as in retrospect we are able to see that both of these factors caused a delay within the burst of professional online gambling casinos.

Over the course of a few short years an increasing number of individuals have gained access to personal computers, as mass production of personal computer have caused prices to decline, this corresponded with vast improvements in internet connections and the increase of internet surfing speed.

At this point it became much easier for a typical Joe to own a computer and surf the net at a reasonable speed. Once this was possible online casinos could not be stopped. It became easier and quicker to download and install casino software, and later on with the development of Flash technology many casinos could offer players to play their favorite casino games directly from their web browsers with no need to download any heavy software on to their computers.

The rapid growth within the gaming industry of software providers and gambling brands has created a welcomed competition between the businesses and have forced online casino to take an alternative approach from land-based casinos to marketing and promotion.

Online casinos were not able to offer their patrons free drinks and hotel rooms therefore they had to put together other means of promotion as a way to attract gamblers. This signaled the birth of online casino bonuses and merchandize promotions.

Online casino have started competing with land-based casinos as well as other online casinos by offering free cash bonuses to new players joining them. They have also developed players' rewards programs that awarded top players with expensive branded merchandize.