The History & Origin of Roulette

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Roulette wheel and chips on a green table, showing excitement of online gambling.
BetMGM Jan 19, 2024, 9:16 AM

Roulette is a glamorous and captivating casino game boasting a rich history that traces back to 18th-century France. Roulette, meaning “little wheel” in French, is renowned for its spinning wheel and small white ball. Few games are more popular than roulette, and in the world of online casino games, players can engage with a few variations of the game. 

Here’s a look at the incredible history of roulette.

The Origin of Roulette

There’s no simple answer when it comes to the origin of roulette, as it’s pretty difficult to verify. However, the general consensus on the conception of the original game traces it back to the brilliant mind of French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. He inadvertently invented the roulette wheel in 1655 as part of his quest to produce the world’s first perpetual motion machine. His intended mission was never complete, but he did produce a weighted wheel that would go on to become the centerpiece of Paris’ gambling scene in the 18th century.

Roulette Makes Its Way Through Europe

During the early years of roulette, it was a game only played by France’s upper class until the Revolution, by which point the game had already spread beyond France. German spa towns like Bad Homburg offered the game to high-flying clientele in the 19th century. François Blanc, a Frenchman who operated the Bad Homburg casino, took his roulette wheel to Monte Carlo.

In the Casino de Monte-Carlo, roulette took on a new form with the invention of French Roulette. In 1842, François and Lois Blanc designed a roulette wheel with a single zero on it, specifically for King Charles III of Monaco. The addition of the zero gave the house a bigger edge, leading to the zero pocket and the famous roulette house edge becoming permanent fixtures of the game. The French roulette wheel gained popularity across Europe, and is still the version favored today. 

Coming to America

In America, places like French Quebec and New Orleans were the first to engage in the casino table game of roulette. Roulette continued to expand and found itself in steamboat casinos on the Mississippi. And, not long after, American roulette — with the addition of a double zero for an even bigger house edge — was born. This means that the American roulette wheel has 38 numbers instead of 37. American roulette became a key game in the casino world and would go on to feature in the first casinos built in Las Vegas in the 20th Century.

The Digital Era Is Born

Thanks to the launch of the first-ever online casino in 1996, today, casino players have greater access to their favorite casino games. Online roulette and its many variations continue to grow in popularity, while online casinos also offer live dealer casino games that offer players a truly immersive experience.

Today, you can play online casino games in the comfort of your home or on the move while feeling like you’re at a casino, as dealers and opponents can engage with you in real-time. So, whether you’re in the mood to play classic French roulette or the American version, you have it all at your fingertips. Technology allows players to experience incredible graphics, smooth animations, and an intuitive user interface. 

The Future of Online Roulette

Advancing technologies are improving gaming experiences for online gamers worldwide, and roulette players are no exception. Not only do players have the option between American and European roulette, but they can now engage with technology such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence to make the game more fun. With a VR headset, players can be transported to a virtual casino environment and interact with the roulette wheel and other players. With AI, players and online casinos can enhance the personalization and adaptability of online roulette. Advanced algorithms can analyze betting patterns, player preferences, and gaming behavior to offer a more tailored online casino experience while allowing players to optimize their online roulette strategies.

Play the Best Online Casino Games at BetMGM

Now that you know the history of one of the most popular casino games in the world, you can play casino online games right here at BetMGM, where you can register and check out the online roulette catalog. If you’re looking for more casino games, you can choose from a wide selection of online slots, online poker tournaments, and table games such as jackpot slots, online poker, and blackjack.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.