History & Origins of Roulette
While Roulette takes its name from the French word meaning ‘little wheel’, the origins and when it was invented is still debated today.
The earliest record of people playing roulette, as we now know it, came in the 18th century, through Jaques Lablee’s novel La Roulette, ou le Jour, which describes a roulette wheel being spun at the Palais Royal in Paris.
The wheel itself is believed to be a fusion of English wheel games, with Georgian-era favourites including Roly-Poly, Reiner, Ace of Hearts and Even-Odd among those cited as influences.
Since then, roulette and roulette rules have developed, leading to two distinct variations being born – American-style roulette and French roulette.
While the French game – using a single ‘zero’ pocket – evolved on the Riviera, the American version – utilising a double ‘zero’ and a simplified betting layout – developed along the Mississippi in gambling dens and early casinos.
At the turn of the 20th century, these two variations became synonymous with the environments that nurtured them. The French game echoed sentiments of style and leisure – commonly associated with Monte Carlo, while its American cousin became known for ease of play and quick cash.
And it’s these two variations that remain today, with the United States, Canada, South America and the Caribbean favouring the American style, and French roulette operating elsewhere.
Since the millennium, the evolution of roulette has continued, with California Roulette, a variation that uses cards on a wheel in lieu of pockets, being legalised in 2004. The wheel also contains 38 cards – numbering 1 to 36, plus zero and double zero.
Roulette has remained one of the most iconic online casino games around and one that has become as synonymous with the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo as it has with the growing world of online gaming. From the red and black of the wheel to the little ball hopping between the 37 pockets, it’s mesmerised generations for over 200 years.