American vs. European Roulette: Which Should You Play?

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A closeup of a black roulette wheel with the small roulette ball on Black-17.
BetMGM Sep 05, 2023, 3:09 PM

Wondering about the difference between American and European roulette? Can’t decide which one you should play? You might know about the double zero, but that’s not the only thing that sets them apart.

Learn all about their distinctions and discover which version offers you the best chance of winning. Experience more success when playing these thrilling online casino games courtesy of this article.


Looking at both wheels, you’ll immediately notice that they aren’t the same. There’s a different wheel for each of the two versions. 

The American roulette wheel has 38 pockets. It contains numbers from 1–36, a single zero (0) and a double zero (00).

On the other hand, the European roulette wheel only has 37 positions. These are the numbers 1–36, plus a single zero (0). The double zero (00) doesn’t exist here.


The presence of the double zero also answers the commonly asked question: “Are all roulette wheels numbered the same?” Since the American wheel has one more number than the European, the answer is a resounding “no.”

What’s more, the ordering of the numbers is different too. For example, if you’ve been playing American roulette for a while, you’ll know that the neighbors of 1 are 00 and 13. When you sit down at the European roulette table, you’ll notice that 1 is between 20 and 33.

Whoever originally came up with the idea of adding the double zero obviously decided that the entire wheel should be restructured, too. However, the position of the numbers doesn’t affect the gameplay at all. It’s only the presence of the double zero that makes a difference.


At first sight, a single number might not seem like a big distinction, but it actually has major consequences. It significantly alters the house edge, and makes one of the two options a much better choice for you.

The concept is simple, and you really only need to know two things. First of all, both forms of roulette offer the same payouts. For instance, a single number pays out odds of +3,500, while betting on red always pays even money.

Secondly, European roulette only has 37 possible outcomes, while the American version has 38. As such, you’ll have a better chance of winning by playing European roulette. Take a look at an example for a better understanding.


Say you’re playing at an online roulette casino and you’ve bet on the number 7. The wheel spins and the ball lands on 7, so you’re paid 35x your stake. That’s the same return no matter which of the two roulette games you’re playing.

However, here’s the catch. If you’re sitting at an American roulette table, the odds of the ball landing on the 7 are 1 in 38 — that’s odds of +3,702. On the other hand, the likelihood with European roulette is 1 in 37, since there’s just one zero and only 37 pockets. Thus, the odds are marginally better at +3,604.

As you can see, you’re getting the same payout, but European roulette gives you a slightly better chance of hitting. And that’s not only true for betting on a single number, but for all other bets, too. See how this reflects in the house edge.

House Edge

This difference is the key point to take away from this article. The overall house edge of American roulette is 5.26%, while the European version is significantly better for players, at just 2.70%.

This means that for every $100 spent, the house makes $2.70 from European roulette. With the American equivalent, that amount almost doubles to $5.26.

If you’re playing roulette only on rare occasions, this probably won’t matter all that much. However, if you’re a frequent player, this does add up. So whenever you have the choice, pick the European roulette wheel.

The Five-Number Bet

Apart from the additional 00 pocket, American roulette rules don’t differ much from those of its European cousin. The only other real difference is that U.S. roulette allows you to make the so-called five number bet.

You might also know it by its other name: the basket bet. Either way, it covers the first five numbers all at once. These are: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.

More options usually mean more fun, so that’s a plus point for American roulette, right? Well, not quite. While the odds of the ball landing on these numbers +500, you’re only winning 11x your stake. This means that the house has a whopping 7.89% edge on this particular bet. 

As such, the five-number bet is actually the worst wager you can make on roulette. So the fact that American roulette allows it isn’t really a benefit. Make sure you’re up to speed on the most popular roulette strategies and you won’t make mistakes like placing the basket bet.

American Roulette vs. European Roulette: The Verdict

If you were asking, “What is European roulette?” at the start of this article, well, now you know. It’s definitely a better way for you to play the game. However, there are also many variations on the classic European wheel, such as black and yellow roulette or European Roulette Pro

Mathematically speaking, there’s absolutely no reason to play American roulette, if you have the option to choose European instead. They both offer the same payouts, but your chances of success are slightly lower with the U.S. version.

Nevertheless, you might wish to stick with American roulette in some cases. Maybe you’re just a traditionalist and enjoy playing for sentimental reasons. Perhaps, your casino doesn’t offer the European version. The solution to that is to play your online roulette at a casino which has both variants available.

Playing the American version is also practical if the table limits offered on European roulette don’t suit you. In that case, you’re better off staying within your bankroll and betting more sensibly, even if there is a higher house edge.

May the Wheel Turn in Your Favor at BetMGM

Now you’re fully up to speed on how American roulette compares to its European counterpart. Which one is your favorite? European, with the better house edge, or American, with its additional betting options? 

Try either version today and register at BetMGM to spin the wheel. Besides roulette, you’ll have access to blackjack, poker and slots, plus many other enthralling games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.