Life | Pop Culture

The History of Roulette

Roulette is well-known as a classic casino game in both land-based and online casinos. It is based on the fundamentals of placing a bet to see where a ball will land once the wheel is spun.

Offering a thrilling and elegant kind of entertainment, it has been popular for many years. But what are its origins, and how has it developed?

Beginning of the Roulette Wheel

There are various tales of where the Roulette wheel has its origins. The name itself points to where it was born; ‘roulette’ means ‘small wheel’ in French.

Some sources date the formation of the game of roulette back to the mid-17th century and the experiments in perpetual motion by mathematician Blaise Pascal.  

Other stories point to the possibility of the game coming from China to France via Dominican monks and trade routes.

The likelihood is that the game was formed in the early 18th century by the combination of older games of chance.

In any case, Roulette in its modern form was first played in Parisian casinos at the end of the 18th century. It is mentioned in French literature of the time and it steadily rose in popularity.

Interestingly enough, the main difference between American and European roulette today is the double zero pocket. Aside from this, both wheels have 36 numbers and red and black colours.

In 1842, the entrepreneurs Francois and Louis Blanc removed the double zero from the wheel. This removed some of the probability of the house edge as players cannot bet on the zeros.

In America, there was a reluctance to change the wheel that had already come over in its original form. To this day, the double zero pocket is the main difference between American and European roulette wheels.

The Main Rules of Roulette

The game of chance of roulette has a straight forward set of guidelines and rules. Anyone can pick up how to play fairly quickly.

First of all, players can place a bet on numbers or any group of numbers around the roulette table. In casinos this is usually done with chips, or tokens. The table is made up of 36 numbers, the colours red and black, and a zero or double zero pocket.

The dealer, or croupier, then spins the wheel which holds a ball. The ball will eventually land in one of the pockets.

The dealer will then call out the result. If no one has, the house, or casino, will take all the chips.

Roulette in Popular Culture

Movies and television have long made dramatic use of the anticipation and tension generated by the roulette wheel.

The iconic movie super-spy James Bond heads to the roulette table in an unforgettable scene in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever. Bond enjoys various games in a philanthropist’s vast mansion, displaying his usual charm and charisma.

Movies and TV shows utilised the roulette wheel in gambling scenes to create drama and tension.

His roulette technique is as immediate as the sudden action scenes. Based on a repeated flat bet on the same numbers each round, the spy attempts to overturn the house odds.

The roulette table also plays an essential part in 1942’s classic movie Casablanca.

Set in the famous Rick’s Bar, characters play roulette for a prize of free travel out of war-torn Europe. The high-pressure atmosphere is brilliantly projected, with the stakes being a good deal higher than normal.

In television culture, the roulette wheel has also provided a strong symbol of chance. The popular game show the Wheel of Fortune made this a distinct visual image.

Another successful game show with a roulette-style wheel is The Price is Right. As with the Wheel of Fortune, this show has been adapted for different audiences around the world.

The Move to Online Casinos

Online casinos have become a major part of the gambling market in recent years. Traditional casino games including roulette have found a popular space in the online arena.

This is an area that is projected to increase even more. Research shows that the current market size value of online gambling is nearly $ 60 billion. By 2027 this is forecast to grow to over $127 billion worldwide.

A key factor in this growth is attributed to increased investment in online gambling and the advent of global live casinos. The exciting game of roulette is sure to be a part of this with its proud history and strong visual appeal.

Live casinos have helped contribute to the growth of online casinos.

The Continued Popularity of Roulette

A rise in online gaming and casino play has positioned the game of Roulette in a new context. Nowadays, players can take part in roulette games online with other players and real dealers.  

According to a recent article examining the popularity of digital casinos, the growth of online gaming is set to increase across the western world, particularly in Canada and the USA.

It suggests that in a decade, revenue generated by online casinos will rise from $5 billion to $22 billion. Roulette looks likely to be a part of this growth.

Other classic games usually associated with a physical location are also enjoying a new life online. Games such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Bingo have taken advantage of the new technology of smartphones and mobile devices.

Roulette offers players an exciting game of chance. The adaptable game looks set to remain popular in this new environment of online play, while staying true to its land-based roots.