The Differences Between American and European Roulette

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The Differences Between American and European Roulette

Both European and American Roulette enjoy widespread popularity. Yet, for those new to roulette, it's essential to understand the distinct differences between the two before fully immersing oneself in the game.

European and American Roulette Bet Types

At the heart of the casino floor, the roulette table offers a myriad of betting choices. You aren't just limited to predicting the exact number where the ball will land. From the colour of the pocket to the nature of the number, and even specific groupings, there's a bet for every strategy. Whether you're eyeing the specific hues of red and black, gauging the oddities of numbers, or analysing the high and low ranges, roulette ensures every spin comes with anticipation and thrill. Dive into the various betting options and find the one that aligns with your strategy and intuition.

Here's a list of the different types of bets in roulette:

  • Betting on specific numbers
  • Odd or even number bets
  • Red or black number bets
  • Low numbers (1-18) or high numbers (19-36) bets
  • Column bets
  • Group bets (dozens, six numbers, four numbers, etc.)

European vs American Roulette Layout Differences

European Roulette, whose name translates to "little wheel" in French, boasts a rich history that predates its American counterpart. The origins of this game are attributed to the French physicist Blaise Pascal, who unintentionally laid its foundation in 1655. Its prominence surged in the 19th century, particularly at the renowned casino in Monte Carlo. As the game found its way to the New World, it underwent distinct evolutions, leading to notable differences in layout and aesthetics between the American and European versions. However, now, the layout has achieved a standardised form globally.

Distinct features of the two versions are:

  • A European Roulette wheel encompasses 37 numbers, ranging from 0 to 36.
  • Conversely, the American roulette wheel comprises 38 numbers, owing to an added double zero.

In European Roulette, a croupier sets a wheel in motion that has 37 pockets, each holding a number from 0 to 36. The American version closely mirrors its European relative, with the distinguishing feature being an additional pocket for the double zero.

Return to Player rates and House Edge for American and European Roulette

For individuals deliberating between European and American Roulette at the best UK online casinos, it's important to recognise the impact of the double zero present in the American variant. In a direct comparison, the European version boasts a more favourable house edge of 2.7%, while its American counterpart stands at a steeper 5.26%. Let's delve deeper into these figures:

In European Roulette, players wager on the specific pocket where they believe the small ivory ball will settle post-spin. Every number offers odds of 35/1, and a successful wager ensures the return of the original stake. The resultant house edge for this setup stands at 2.7%, translating to an average player return of 97.3%.

Meanwhile, American Roulette operates under similar mechanics: players bet on the expected pocket of the ball's final rest, with each pocket offering the same odds of 35/1. A winning bet ensures the player retrieves their stake. Yet, the addition of an extra pocket—the double zero—alters the odds. Although the payout remains unchanged, the extra pocket boosts the house edge to 5.26%, leading to a player return averaging 94.74%.

Return to Player Rates in European Roulette


Square or Corner8/110.81%2.70%97.30%
Six Line5/116.20%2.70%97.30%

Return to Player Rates in American Roulette

Square or Corner8/110.53%5.26%94.74%
Five Line6/113.16%7.89%92.11%
Six Line5/115.79%5.26%94.74%

Most online casinos have both American and European Roulette, so you can pick your favourite. Want to give them a whirl? Have a look at our best roulette sites to start.

Quick tip: When you hear about Return to Player (RTP) rates in roulette, remember it's just a rough idea based on tons of spins. Sometimes, you might hit a lucky streak right away, or maybe your number plays hard to get. That's the fun of the game.

European Roulette Pros and Cons

  • Higher Winning Odds: The single zero roulette wheel layout provides players with a greater chance of success with each spin compared to the double zero in American Roulette.
  • French Roulette Rules: Offers a unique twist with players having more agency over outcomes than the purely luck-based American version.
  • "La Partage" and "En Prison" Options: In cases where the ball lands on zero, players can choose the "la partage" rule to get half of their bet back or the "en prison" rule for a chance to win the full bet on the next spin, giving more strategic options to potentially minimise losses.
  • Widespread Popularity in Europe: Dominates in many European casinos, providing a consistent gameplay experience across the continent.
  • Potential Complexity for Newbies: The additional French rules might be confusing for newcomers, requiring a steeper learning curve than the more straightforward American version.
  • Risk with "En Prison": Players opting for the "en prison" rule might risk their bet twice, leading to a potential double loss if unsuccessful on the second spin.

American Roulette Pros and Cons

  • Simplicity of Outcomes: Each outcome pays out at even money (2.0), allowing players to easily understand their potential return.
  • Excitement Factor: The presence of the double zero can add an extra element of unpredictability and thrill to the game.
  • Variety in Gameplay: The added double zero offers a different layout and betting options, which can be refreshing for those familiar with European Roulette.
  • Higher Payouts on Some Bets: Certain bets, such as the "Top Line" bet which covers both zeros and numbers 1-3, are unique to American Roulette and offer different payouts.
  • Popularity in American Casinos: Widely played in many American casinos, offering more opportunities for players to engage in a familiar setting.
  • Casino Advantage: The double green zero provides the casino with a greater edge on even money bets.
  • Reduced Winning Odds: The addition of the double zero decreases a player's chances of winning from 48.65% (as seen in European Roulette) to 47.37%.
  • Diminished Winning Chances: Regardless of the bet type, the odds are slightly less favourable in American Roulette than in its European counterpart.
  • Accumulated Margins: Over time, the slightly reduced odds can lead to significant losses for the player, especially if playing consistently.

Remember to Gamble Responsibly

While roulette is loads of fun, it's essential to remember to gamble responsibly. Set a budget and stick to it. If you ever feel you're losing control or spending more than you planned, take a step back. Remember, it's all about having fun and enjoying the experience. If you need support or someone to talk to, there are plenty of helplines and resources available. Play safe and play smart!

Choosing between American and European Roulette - Our Verdict 

Many contemporary online casinos offer both the American and European versions of live roulette. For players, having a solid grasp of both variations can be immensely beneficial. Over time, European roulette tends to be the favourable choice for many due to its lower house edge. Additionally, the French roulette rules offer players a safety net—either a second shot or the return of half their stake should luck not be on their side.

While both American and European roulette each possess their own allure, one constant remains: the thrill of the spin. The sight of red and black melding in a blur, the mounting anticipation, and the sheer joy when the ball settles on the chosen number—these moments are universal in the game.

Whether you fancy American or European roulette, top roulette sites are always ready to serve up both experiences. Just remember to keep in mind the fundamental differences highlighted in this guide as you play!

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