Roulette was created in the seventeenth century, and gained prominence at Monte Carlo casinos in the nineteenth century. But the crucial moment for the development of the game happened in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. That’s when the game crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in America.
It didn’t take long for American casinos and gaming venues to implement changes that made the game much more profitable for the house. It included changing not only the rules but the wheel itself.
Today, we’re going to break down American roulette and European roulette, compare them and see which version is better for casinos and which favours gamblers.
The most significant difference between these two variants is the design of the wheel. European roulette contains numbers from 0 to 36, meaning there are 37 pockets. On the other hand, the American version has an additional pocket. That’s a double zero, which has a massive impact on the game’s odds.
All bets made in European roulette (excluding the En Prison rule) give the house an edge of 2.7%. In American roulette, the house edge is 5.27%. That’s almost double the advantage when compared to the version played in Europe.
As we’ve already mentioned, more things are separating the two versions and further influencing the odds.
Take some rules, for example. The En Prison rule in European roulette impacts the house edge. In practice, this means the losses you make on even-money bets aren’t immediately lost. They will stay on the board (in prison, hence the name) for another spin. You can get your initial bet back, although it’s impossible to get the money for the win. If you get a zero, your bet will remain in prison.
With the En Prison rule in effect, the house edge on even-money wagers drops to just 1.35%. That makes it one of the most appealing bets in European roulette.
American roulette offers a similar rule. Called the Surrender rule, it’s usually found in Atlantic City casinos. It applies to even-money wagers. The main difference is that Surrender gives only half of your bet back if the ball stops on a zero or a double zero. This rule also impacts the house edge on even-money wagers, dropping it to 2.63%.