25 Years in the Aussie Digital Entertainment Scene

These days, we often take our ease of access to entertainment for granted. With the click of a mouse button or swipe of a finger, the whole world is practically our oyster. But it wasn’t always that way and everything has to start somewhere.

Here in Australia, there are four major segments of the wider entertainment industry, all of which thrive on digital connectivity. Much has changed over the last 25 years or so, forever changing how people gamble online, play video games, and watch TV and movies. Let’s take a look at how they evolved in order of achieving widespread popularity.

Online Casino

Lasseter’s Online was the first to offer interactive casino gaming to Aussies via the internet, launched in early 1999. By the end of that year there were hundreds of sites, but quickly established licensing legislation in 2000 shut most of them down. Still, the genie was out of the bottle and ever since, the industry has continued to grow and thrive.

These days, online gambling for real money is widely available, whether via desktop or mobile devices, which means that Australian casino enthusiasts have their pick of options. Whether your passion is pokies or table games like poker and roulette, it’s always a good idea to choose trustworthy online casino sites, via genuine reviews and guides. 


There’s a common misconception that esports are a recent invention. In fact, some of the first competitive video gaming events took place during the early 1980s, when people gathered at amusement arcades. Others established community events, featuring connected Commodore 64 home computers or Atari 2600 consoles, among other platforms of the time.

After the first massively multiplayer online (MMO) games began to appear in the 1990s, Australia was already hosting its first esports tournaments by 2000, and this entertainment segment has continued to flourish. Indeed, the esports market here is expected to be worth more than $200 million AUD, heading into 2024.

Mobile Gaming

Remember games like Snake or Tetris back in the day? Some readers probably won’t, as they first appeared on mobile phones in the mid-1990s. However, when the first smartphones began to appear, Telstra brought the i-mode service to Australia in 2004, with the Panasonic P342i and NEC N410i handsets. These had bigger screens, offering access to websites and games in full colour.

Then came the mobile gaming boom in 2008, just after Apple opened their first stores in Australia, quickly followed by introducing the iPhone and launching the App Store for games and software. This directly led to where we are today, and in 2023, the mobile games market is estimated to be worth more than $3.5 billion AUD.

Streaming Services

Satellite TV brought the first major shift in how people consumed TV shows and movies, then Video on Demand (VoD) changed the whole landscape. In 2008, iTunes Australia offered purchase and rental options, then in the same year, ABC iview became one of the first Catch up TV services provided by the main free-to-air networks.

The first true Over the Top (OTT) streaming platform was launched by Foxtel in 2009, offering viewers content from 38 channels, as the in-home entertainment market shifted completely. Stan launched in 2015 and was accompanied by Netflix, who expanded to Australia the same year. The market has exploded since then, with Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ among a large selection of platforms we can choose from.

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