The History of the Roulette Wheel

Roulette is one of the gambling world’s most popular games in land-based as well as online casinos. The Roulette wheel has become a widely recognised symbol of gambling and epitomises the glamour of the rich and famous.

The Origin of Roulette

In the 17 century French scientist and inventor, Blaise Pascal, tried to design a perpetual motion machine – a machine that continues running without any external energy source. While he didn’t succeed in his immediate quest, he did create a formative version of the Roulette wheel. The game is said to have been influenced by other games such as ‘Roly Poly’ and Even/Odds combined with the mechanics now available for the wheel.


The Roulette in its current form was played in France from the end of the 18th century. At that stage it had a ‘0’ and ‘00’ house pockets, ensuring a house edge of 5.26%. In the early 19th century, Roulette was outlawed completely in France and so brothers François and Louis Blanc introduced a single ‘0’ version of the game in Germany. By halving the house edge, they were able to compete seriously against other casinos for popularity.

Monte Carlo

From the 1860’s casinos were prohibited across Europe and so the Blancs moved their operations to Monte Carlo, where they had a huge following among the elite. Monte Carlo was the mecca for all of Europe’s gambling with the single ‘0’ Roulette wheel as its centrepiece. The Monte Carlo style game was slower and more leisurely.

The United States

Around the same time as Roulette became popular in France around the 18th century, the game also made its way across the oceans as it was carried to the southern states of America by French colonists. It was carried up the Mississippi River from New Orleans gathering fans along the way. Initially they attempted a version with 28 numbers, two zeros and an American eagle, thereby trebling the house edge, but that was soon phased out. Soon the 36 number, double zero version of the game became commonplace.

The American game was played in gambling dens and due to the high degree of cheating, wheels were placed on top of tables to avoid interference. Betting rules were simplified, and a faster game style developed.

Online Casinos

It was only as late as the 1970’s that casinos began to flourish all over the world and in 1994 the first online casinos appeared. wasn’t immediately available online, but once it was online roulette soon became widespread. The online version has many advantages from the flexibility of playing from home, to the innovative versions that can now be developed thanks to technology. There are live dealer spins via webcams for those who still miss the thrill of the casino floor. By filming in a studio, players can view the best angles of the wheel and their view is not obstructed by other players.

Whether you prefer the atmosphere of a land based casino or playing from the comfort of home, Roulette remains a fun and exciting choice.