Spread Betting in the 1990s
Finally in the 1990s, a technology was popularised that would bring spread betting to the private investors. It was called the internet. In 1992 a particle physics laboratory called CERN, released a network that they called the World Wide Web. That year, the number of hosts on the internet doubled to just over 100,000. By 1994, there were nearly 400,000 hosts on the internet, it was booming, and the best part was that almost everyone could access it.
Over 40% of Americans were using the web by 1994, and the number was increasing at a startling rate, additionally the first online bank appeared the same year. The internet was becoming a place to do all sorts of business and investing was one of the most popular. Many private investors could now access their investments, purchase and sell stock and do research, all online.
The spread betting companies realised this opportunity and put their spreads on the internet, where the private investors could access them. This put the spread betting companies into another boom, as the private investors flocked to the new opportunity. With all the new customers there were new demands being placed on the spread betting companies. Their customers wanted more spreads to bet on and, with the internet, the spread betting companies were able to provide more spreads. So began the era of spread betting on nearly every sort of financial instrument, including stocks.
Now that the public had begun to spread bet, the spread betting companies began to get a lot of publicity. It became common to regularly hear news of spread betting in financial magazines, television shows and newspapers. The word was that spreading was making people rich and that with spread betting, you earned more for your money when you made a profit.
Spread betting enjoyed this growth until the end of the 1990s, when it began to level off. There is still high demand for spread betting, but there is not much new demand entering the market. Spread betting is mainly popular in the UK, with only a few companies offering the service in the United States. Perhaps we will see another spread betting boom in the next couple years, if it begins to take off in other parts of the world.