Published on February 18th, 2021 | by Sumit Bhowal0
The Fascinating History of Roulette
While slots may well be the dominant iGaming vertical, table games such as roulette continue to contribute around 15% of the total online GGY in the UK.
There’s a good reason for this too; with roulette considered to be one of the best and most iconic casino games in the world, and one that has a fascinating heritage that stretches across the globe.
Of course, you can find up to date info at roulettesites.org, but in this post we’ll look at the history of roulette and ask how it evolved into the game that it is today.
Where Did it All Begin for Roulette?
Interestingly, the game that we all know as roulette all started with a French physicist and inventor, with Blaise Pascal considered to be the man who created the very first roulette wheel.
Pascal was also a qualified mathematician, and the first primitive roulette wheel actually emerged from his attempts to create a perpetual motion machine as opposed to a casino game.
The idea was to create a contraption that could operate without drawing energy from an external source, and while his experiment was initially unsuccessful, the process gave birth to one of the most popular casino games of all time.
Of course, some will claim that rustic iterations of roulette were played in Ancient China and Rome, but Pascal’s innovation and the influence of 17th-century games such as ‘Roly Poly’ and ‘Even-Odd’ (which the inventor regularly played) mean that the game’s origins are firmly rooted in France.
While gambling wasn’t particularly popular at the time, the evolution of roulette happened to coincide with the ascent of Prince Charles of Monaco.
As he faced up to some considerable financial issues, Charles opened a number of gambling houses throughout the principality in the late 18th-century, with roulette proving to be a key driver of revenue across the board.
It was at this point that roulette really began its journey as one of the world’s most iconic casino games and became recognisable as the game played online in the digital age.
Coming to America
By the mid-19th century, the roulette deal had become popular in both Europe and the UK, while the wheel had evolved to include the now iconic single zero.
The reason for this was simple; as it afforded casinos and gambling houses a superior house edge, with the figure for the European iteration of the game now fixed at 2.7%.
Around this time, roulette made its way across the Atlantic Ocean and breached US shores, just in time to become a part of a gambling revolution stateside. Of course, this meant incorporating roulette as part of a burgeoning and highly lucrative casino sector, so innovators added a double zero to the wheel to inflate the house edge to a whopping 5.2%.
This effectively created a new and exciting iteration of the game, with American, European and French roulette all available to on and offline players in 2021.
Of course, the variable house edges associated with these iterations had an impact in the minds of players, with American roulette preferred primarily by seasoned gamblers who had a considerable appetite for risk.
This trend remains in place to this day, with the lower house edge and favourable rules of European roulette making this the single most popular version of the game anywhere in the world.
Roulette in the Digital Age
Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, roulette remained a popular offline casino game, although its adoption in some countries was impacted by variable rules and regulations imposed by regulators.
In this respect, the next seminal chapter for roulette started at the turn of the 21st-century, with the launch of online gambling in the UK and similar evolved marketplaces.
Initially, this made rudimentary iterations of American, European and French roulette widely available to players across various jurisdictions, albeit through a vanishingly small number of reputable casino platforms.
As the global iGaming market has grown, however, it has also become more secure, with increasingly stringent and evolutionary regulatory methods enabling players to wager freely without putting their hard-earned cash or mental health at risk.
So, not only can roulette players now safely enjoy their favourite pastime in the comfort of their own home, but they also have the opportunity to experience a wider range of innovative iterations and take practical steps towards minimising the house edge against them.
With virtual and augmented reality technologies also creating a scenario where players can enjoy an authentic and three-dimensional roulette experience in real-time, the evolution of this game has arguably come full circle since its origins in 17th-century France.
It also shows no sign of losing its innate appeal and popularity, even accounting for the relentless rise and fast-growing market share of online slots!