Roulette, like many other casino games, is a low house edge game with great notoriety. It’s an excellent game: winnings can be very high, loses as well. But its popularity among players is immense despite this.
Animals, Numbers, Soldiers and Ban on Playing Roulette in History
Roulette in French means “small wheel“. Under this name is hidden the game of numbers, which was created in Europe in the 18th century, based on ancient and long-forgotten entertaining games.
Like many other games, roulette history is also linked to ancient China. There was a game of chance with a wheel that contained individual boxes with animal iconographies. The whole wheel was on top of the stone with number 666, one of the happiest figures in Chinese culture. Dominican monks are responsible for the exchange of animals for numbers – it is because of their attempt to make the game more attractive.
A similar wheel game can also be found in the Roman Empire. Unstoppable Roman legions conquered eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region, and it was during these military ventures where solders played this game. All they needed was a wheel, around which they stacked the spoils of war.
Roulette, as we know it today, is probably a combination of ancient wheel games and traditional 18th century Central European entertaining table games.
The most likely ancestors are British “E-O” and Italian “Hoca“. Both games included a set of 40 pockets/holes on the gaming table and a ball that pointed to the winning field. In the E-O, the area was divided into even / odd fields, in the Hoca the pockets were numbered. It is also interesting to note that there were special squares in both games (two fields for E-O, and three zeroes in Hoca). If the ball ended in one of these fields, all the house players’ bets were forfeited. The game also had a house edge.
With a wheel, a ball, a house edge, and a cosy atmosphere, it was only a matter of time before these games joined together to make their successor, but today it is essential on which side you stand. The first mention of roulette in history appeared in British and French books around 1720. By 1740, however, games based on chance were banned in England.
Roulette, as we know today, was developed at the end of the 18th century in France and its colonies.
In 1796, a French novel by Jaques Lableén, entitled La Roulette, Ou le Jour, was created. The game and its mechanisms were described in detail, including two boxes for the banker (0, 00).
Pascal and the Blanc brothers
It is not the name of the French pop band, but the names of the three people who have contributed the most to the origin of roulette.
Blaise Pascal (1624-1662) French was a mathematician and scientist who is connected to the creation of the principle of roulette. Initially, he tried to construct a Perpetuum mobile mechanism, but the wheel was useless due to friction, and it became a gambling device instead.
There is one myth about Blais Pascal. Some people say he made a deal with the devil, who told him the secret of roulette and referred to the sum of 666. If you ever hear this story, just smile at it and leave as calmly as the Dominican monks.
Until 1842, gambling in France was considered a “hobby non grata” and thus absolutely undesirable. Two French brothers, Francois and Louise Blanc moved to the German spa town of Homburg to set up a casino. However, to avert the decline in popularity of roulette, mainly due to the high house edge, they decided to take a very drastic step. They removed 00 from the wheel. The house edge value suddenly dropped from the original 5.26% to a more acceptable 2.7%. And so European Roulette was created.
The success of the casino inspired King Charles III of Monaco. He gave licenses to Louise Blanc to copy their casino in Monte Carlo. And that is how Sociéte des Bains de Mers (SBM) and also the world’s first modern casino resort was created.
So looking back in history, we find that Charles III made an intelligent decision. Today, SBM is represented in more than 50 locations in Monaco, including the five oldest and most prestigious hotels and casinos. Prince Albert (35%) and the Government of Monaco (35%) own most of them. SBM also owns 50 % of Mangas Gaming, the parent company of BetClic Everest’s.
The Grow Popularity of Roulette
The rest is history. Once the roulette with one 0 became a hobby of European aristocracy, its double-zero version has just arrived in the US, thanks to the French settlers. They brought it along the Mississippi River to Louisiana, and it quickly became the cornerstone of American gambling. Therefore double-zero roulette is now known worldwide as American Roulette.
Nowadays, double-zero roulette is played in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, while single zero roulette is famous around the world.
The roulette history is one great fairy tale of true gambling queen. She was born in ancient China, wandered through through Europe, across the ocean to Quebec and then down to Louisiana, then to Strip to Las Vegas to the smartphone in your pocket.
So the next time you play roulette on your mobile, think of its history. It’s just like holding a Chinese artefact in your hand. And I’m not talking about your phone.