Roulette Casinos

Spin the Wheel – Roulette and the Move to Online Casinos

Roulette has one of the more interesting histories of all the modern gambling games. Once called the “king of casino games,” it has always attracted wealthy high rollers, particularly in Monte Carlo. Yet it has also been associated with pacts with the devil, due to the undeniable truth that the sum of all the numbers on the wheel is 666, the Biblical “number of the beast.” Few casino games can claim such a disparate reputation.

The roulette wheel was first created in 1655 by Blaise Pascal, the inventor and mathematician, in a quest for a perpetual motion machine. His machine was unsuccessful, but Pascal’s friends quickly realized the potential of his wheel as a gambling device. This was, of course, long before the simplicity of being able to download roulette! Roulette was described in a novel by Jacques Lablee in 1801, including the mathematical advantage to the house. In 1800, the first roulette wheel appeared in New Orleans, the gambling center of America.

There are two variations of the roulette wheel: the European (or French) version, which has one space for 0; and the American version, which has 0 and 00, meaning the house has one more safe space. The American version is actually older, and was the standard wheel until 1843, when a German casino in Hamburg used only one 0 space to attract customers from other casinos. In the 1886 version of the Hoyle gaming books, the American wheel has a 0, a 00, and an eagle further increasing the house odds.

As with any gambling opportunity, many players tried to manipulate the game to their advantage. It is mathematically impossible to beat the house at roulette provided the wheel is mounted correctly and no other mechanisms are used to alter the outcome. But in 1873, a gambler by the name of Joseph Jagger studied the outcomes of hundreds of spins of the roulette wheels in Monte Carlo and found that certain numbers came up more often. By betting on those numbers, he won $450,000 before he was ousted. Jagger illustrated one of the big problems for casinos: an “unbalanced wheel.” Over time a roulette wheel will wear down in certain spots causing specific numbers to come up more often and favoring observant gamblers.

Online casinos changed all that. For the first time, a roulette wheel could be truly random and never wear down. Additionally, online casinos don’t have to pay for the equipment, chips, or floor space to run a roulette wheel thus further increasing the house profits. The advantage of online roulette wheels for gamblers is primarily one of availability. As there is physically only so much space around a roulette wheel and only so much space in a casino for the equipment, brick-and-mortar casinos typically have higher minimum bets for roulette than other games. Without having to pay for a building, many online casinos can offer you a roulette bonus which you won’t find at your local casino. Online casinos can have an almost limitless number of players at any number of wheels, and thus minimum bets can be substantially lower allowing more players to experience the game. Both casino and player have benefited from the move to online gaming.

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