You are here

Roulette History

The History of Roulette

Online roulette uses the most up-to-date internet technology in a game that is ultra-modern and ultra-high tech. The game of roulette, however, has a history that goes back many hundreds of years.

The history of gambling games runs the gamut from legend to myth to fairytale to folklore to historical fiction — with, possibly, a bit of truth thrown in. Because gambling has been around for centuries (a “fact” no one seems to dispute), once you go back hundreds of years to unearth roots and origins, the information is bound to get a little murky and the line between truth and fiction is inevitably going to be crossed a few times. Nonetheless, this only makes for vibrant and dynamic storytelling as befits a pastime that is more than a little colourful itself.

The Origin of the Roulette Wheel

The game of roulette is a case in point. Some gambling historians claim that the game originated in ancient Rome when soldiers played by spinning chariot wheels. Others place the roots of the game “firmly” in Tibet. The bottom line is, however, that no one really knows how roulette originated, though conjecturing and hypothesizing is part of the fun. The name itself — roulette — is French and means “small wheel,” which makes it most likely that the game started out in France; the person most frequently associated with its inception is a 17th-century French scientist/philosopher by the name of Blaise Pascal. While exploring the idea of perpetual motion, Pascal supposedly invented the roulette wheel, a fortuitous accident that very quickly moved from the laboratory to the casino.

By the early 18th century a game called RolyPoly made an appearance in England and featured a bouncing ball and a spinning wheel remarkably similar to the current roulette wheel. The betting system used in modern-day roulette was also not unlike those of a game called “Even Odd.” But France remains the true home of roulette and the French brothers, Louis and Francois Blanc, are credited with not only founding the first casino in Monte Carlo but also with creating the standard single-zero roulette wheel still used in Europe today.

The Blanc brothers subsequently introduced their invention to the casinos and gambling halls of first France and then Germany. As gambling became successively prohibited in both those countries, the Blancs were invited to introduce their roulette wheel to that hallowed domain of legalized gambling, Monte Carlo. Some time during the 1860s, the Blancs signed an agreement with Prince Charles III of Monaco giving them permission to design and build a lavish casino in Monte Carlo. This pioneering casino, called the Casino de Monte Carlo, was built with unprecedented opulence and grandeur and was designed to attract the gambling money of the rich and famous, i.e. the European aristocracy of the time.

Play online rouletteClick to Play Online Roulette

European Roulette and American Roulette

The Blancs' version of roulette came to be known as European roulette and it remains Monte Carlo's premier gambling game. Meanwhile across the ocean, the Americans, who seem to always want everything just a little bit bigger, made their roulette wheel a little bit bigger by adding a double-zero pocket. Since the extra pocket lowers the player's odds of winning at roulette, the game never became as popular in the U.S. as it had in Europe.

Today, roulette is thought of as the king (or queen) of casino games — it is certainly the reigning monarch of gambling. Roulette — and, specifically, the roulette wheel — is an internationally recognized symbol of affluence and a high-stakes way of life. However, with the growth of Internet gambling, the allure and prestige of roulette is suddenly accessible to everyone. Roulette, the game that never quite caught on in the U.S., is now the hottest game in cyberspace.

Online Roulette

The next chapter in roulette history started with the development of the online casino in the 1990s. Online roulette was the perfect medium for the software engineers and graphic designers to show off their talents. The felt roulette table with the roulette betting grid, the spinning roulette wheel, the fall of the roulette ball into the winning pocket — all the classic elements of real casino roulette have been faithfully replicated in the virtual roulette casino.

The development of the online roulette casino gave the roulette gambler a selection of roulette games for the first time. A good online casino can offer American roulette, European roulette, French roulette, and Roulette Royale, each game just a mouse-click away. Playing roulette online has come to mean playing roulette the way you want to play it. A traditional brick-and-mortar casino, on the other hand, has one roulette game; your only choice is to play or walk away.

The other advantage of Internet roulette is that roulette games in remote and diverse locations can now be linked electronically. It is this technological breakthrough that allowed the development of Roulette Royale with its huge progressive jackpot.

Mobile Roulette

After the 20th-century invention of the online casino, roulette history marched into the 21st century with the invention of the mobile casino. Where the online casino gave the convenience of playing roulette from your own home, the mobile casino gives the even greater convenience of playing roulette on the go. Anywhere you can take your mobile phone, you can take your mobile roulette casino with you. And even though the screen is smaller, the jackpots are just as big in mobile roulette.

Jackpots Total