Throughout the history of casino gaming, roulette has been the centerpiece of the hall. The wheel of red, black, and green, accompanied by a table of numbers has become iconic across the world. To this day, roulette is the most storied of all casino games, with European casinos adopting the game centuries ago and spreading its mechanics across the pond to North America.
With the rise of Macau as the world’s largest gambling hub, it’s clear to see that roulette has enhanced its global appeal even further over the last couple of decades. While the Chinese city has endured a 15-day forced closure of all venues and an 88 percent drop in revenue as a result, from 2007 to 2018, gross annual revenues from roulette in Macau shot up from just over $46 million to nearly $140 million.
So, how has roulette been able to evolve to remain relevant to casino gamers for all of these years?
Roulette’s evolution began very early on
The origins of primitive forms of roulette have been traced back to 17th century France, with the game being a hybrid of Blaise Pascal’s workings into a perpetual motion machine and the game of Biribi. However, it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the modern version of roulette was recorded as being found across the casinos of Paris.
Upon its first inception, the game of roulette featured two zero pockets to give the house edge, but as the game grew increasingly popular across Europe’s gambling scene, game designers sought new ways to make their roulette offering stand out. In 1843, twins François and Louis Blanc introduced the first single-zero game of roulette to their casino in Germany, which proved to be enough to draw a lot of business away from rival casinos.
François Blanc went on to purchase a failing casino in Monte Carlo, bringing with him the ever-popular single-zero roulette wheel. His work transformed the gambling venue, setting the standard across Europe for roulette to be played as a single-zero game.
However, the game’s move to North America was rather regressive, from a player standpoint, with American audiences not only being met by a double-zero roulette wheel but, in many cases, a triple-zero roulette wheel. By including an ‘American liberty eagle’ as the third-zero, casinos were able to bank off of patriotism to enhance the house edge substantially.
Over the years, the triple-zero has fallen in and out of fashion across the American gambling scene, while European and French roulette have remained as the primary forms across Europe.
Established but still evolving
Having recognized the popularity split between Europe and America for roulette, the online casino scene made sure to adhere to the swing of favor and focus on European and French variations of the game. Once established online, developers began to evolve roulette further with new variations and live casino versions while keeping the preferred form of roulette at the heart of its new games.
So, when you join now to play roulette, you’ll notice that there’s a huge range of roulette games, such as Age of the Gods Roulette, Penny Roulette, Live Quantum Roulette, Live Football Roulette, Spread Bet Roulette, and Dragon Jackpot Roulette – but the vast majority of them are still essentially variations of European or French roulette at their core.
With the iGaming brands further promoting the European and French versions as the preferred ways to play the game, more people around the world are finding American roulette and wheels that are common down the Las Vegas Strip to be too swayed towards the house. Along with the online offering following this preference, in Macau, roulette games are invariably created in the European style, which helps to explain why the game generates so much revenue.
Roulette is the oldest, most iconic, and still one of the most popular casino games in the world, with newcomers like Macau and the iGaming industry establishing the European form as the optimal way to play.