The Differences Between American and European Roulette

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The Differences Between American and European Roulette

The Roulette wheel has established itself as the most popular feature at many casinos across the globe due to the sheer sense of theater it provides. The air is tinged with excitement, anticipation and hope as the red and black wheel spins, before sparking elation if the ball lands in the right pocket. Roulette is French for little wheel, and Gallic physicist Blaise Pascal is credited with inadvertently inventing the game back in 1655. It stormed to prominence at the flagship casino in Monte Carlo during the 19th century, but roulette has evolved differently across the Atlantic. It is important for newcomers to grasp the key differences before diving in.

Historically, there were significant aesthetic differences between American and European Roulette, but nowadays the layout is pretty uniform across the world. There are now just a few key differences, but they are very important:

  • The European Roulette wheel contains 37 numbers, from 0 to 36, and that leaves a house edge of 2.3%.
  • The American Roulette wheel contains 38 numbers, as it also includes a double zero, meaning the house edge is 5.26%.
  • European Roulette also includes a rule called La Partage, which gives players half their stake back if the zero comes up when they place an even money bet.

European vs American Roulette – Double or Single Zeros

Anyone weighing up European vs American Roulette needs to understand the importance of the double zero in the American version. In the European game, a croupier spins a wheel featuring 37 pockets and each one contains a number from 0 to 36. You simply bet on which pocket the small ivory ball will fall into once the wheel stops spinning. Each number carries odds of 35/1 and if your bet is successful you get your stake back. This means the house takes an edge of 2.7%, meaning the return to player rate is 97.3%.

An American Roulette wheel is virtually identical, but it features an extra pocket: the double zero. The same principles apply: you bet on which pocket the ball will fall into and each one carries odds of 35/1, while your stake is returned to you if successful. However, while the odds remain the same, your chances of success are diminished, as there is one extra pocket. This results in a house edge of 5.26%, and the return to player is 94.74%. You therefore stand a greater chance of winning while playing the European version of Roulette.

Fortunately, online casinos offer both American Roulette and European Roulette, so you can always find the one you want to play. To try them both out online before heading to a physical casino, check out one of the top New Jersey casino sites and top Pennsylvania casino sites and give it a whirl.

Return to Player in Roulette

Remember with RTP (Return to Player) for a game like Roulette it is important to note this is only a theoretical guide based on a players return over hundreds of spins and all the bet types available.

You could achieve excellent results with just a few lucky spins of the wheel or conversely in short spell of playing Roulette you might not see your number come in at all. Players who concentrate on the Even Money bets like Red or Black will get more winning bets up than players who just pick their favorite numbers of course but naturally the odds suggest just that.

Return to Player in American Roulette

Bet TypeBet PayoutBet ProbabilityHouse EdgeReturn To Player
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%

Return to Player in European Roulette

Bet TypeBet PayoutBet ProbabilityHouse EdgeReturn To Player
Square or Corner8/110.81%2.70%97.30%
Six Line5/116.20%2.70%97.30%

American Roulette

Many purists love American Roulette and it has legions of devotees across the world. You just have to understand how the double zero skews the odds. You are not restricted to betting on what number comes up. You can also place a bet on whether the ball will land on an odd or even number, or whether it will land on a red number or a black number. Each outcome pays out at even money (2.0), so you double your money if successful and lose your stake if unsuccessful. Yet the green zero gives the casino an edge on these bets, and that edge is increased when you have a double zero thrown into the mix. Your chances of winning these bets goes from 48.65% on European Roulette to 47.37% on the American Roulette wheel. You can also bet on low or high numbers, columns, groups of numbers and more, and your chances of winning are slightly diminished in each instance. Over time, those fine margins can add up.

European Roulette

Many players choose the single zero roulette wheel layout after weighing up the pros and cons of American vs European Roulette. It ensures you have a greater chance of success each time the wheel spins, and a rule called La Partage provides a further benefit. It states that if a player has made an even money bet – on red or black, for example – and the ball lands on the zero, they receive half their stake back. This cuts the house edge in half on those bets. You might also see the En Prison rule, a variant of La Partage, which provides an opportunity to recover your stake after a spin of zero.


European and American Roulette are both extremely popular across the world. Some casinos will only offer one of them, and it therefore helps to build up a solid understanding of both. In the long-term, it is easier to enjoy success when playing European roulette, as there is only one zero, and the option of La Partage provides a further insurance policy. You can play both types of Roulette at some of the top New Jersey live casino sites and they can provide hours of excitement and fun, but be sure to bear in mind the key differences laid out in this article.

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Michael Butlin

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