European roulette vs American roulette: What’s best for your casino?

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games that is still played today, and it remains as one of the most popular games in casinos and on online gambling platforms across the globe. After first appearing in Europe approximately 400 years ago, the game has seen numerous iterations, tweaks, and adjustments to its rules and systems, however, the core of the game has always remained the same. For a game that has been around for four centuries, its to be expected and entirely natural that new versions will appear, branch off, and develop independently, giving rise to new forms and ways to play the game. From double ball to triple ball roulette, rapid roulette to mini roulette, each version offers slightly different systems of play and ways to win. In this article we’ll be discussing and comparing the two most popular versions of the game – European roulette vs American roulette, and asking which is the best for your casino.

The History of American Roulette

According to the history books, roulette was first brought to the US by settlers from Europe who arrived in the state of Louisiana in the early 1800s. Casino operators in New Orleans soon took notice of this exotic new European game, installing it at their venues to attract interested guests and players. However, they soon came to realize that roulette offered players a higher chance of winning than they were used to. This wasn’t good enough in the eyes of these southern casino proprietors, and the standard form of roulette was soon sidelined in favor of more house-friendly games.

However, the casino owners soon devised a way to turn the roulette odds back in their favor. By simply adding a second zero to the wheel they made a significant improvement to the house edge and made the game much more financially lucrative for themselves. The new American roulette was met with incredible success as it was rolled out across US casinos, and the game continues to be one of the most popular at casinos to this day.

How Does it Compare to European Roulette?

The difference between European and American roulette is subtle but makes all the difference for both players and casino operators alike.

For players of the standard European version of the game, they will be playing against a modest house edge of 2.7%. However, through the addition of that second zero and making an extra notch on the wheel, American roulette bumps up the house edge considerably, from 2.7% to 5.26%. This difference means that, in American roulette, your odds of landing a chosen number are one in 38 times, compared to one in 37 times on a European roulette wheel.

Additionally, European roulette offers players a feature called En Prison. With En Prison, wagers on the even money bets 1-18, 19-36, Red, Black, Odd, or Even, will remain in place should the ball land on zero. This does not happen in American roulette, where players would lose their bet even if it placed on an even money option. 

Furthermore, American roulette offers players what is known as a Five Number Bet, which is the name for a bet that covers numbers one, two, and three, as well as both zeros. On the surface, this may seem like an attractive option for players at the table, with potential payout odds of six to one. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that the Five Number Bet is not as profitable as it may seem, with a significant house edge of 7.9%.

Which Version of Roulette is Better for Your Casino?

When it comes down to deciding whether European roulette or American roulette is better for your casino, a number of factors must be taken into consideration. While the American iteration promises greater returns for the house due to the increased edge from its extra zero, players could potentially grow tired of winning fewer spins, choosing to focus on other games or even stopping entirely.

Deciding which version to choose for your casino is a careful balancing act. By offering the reduced house edge of European roulette you may see less returns in the short term, but revenue may increase in the long term as players are encouraged by their increased chances of winning, playing for longer and returning to the table in the future.


Roulette has been and continues to be one of the most popular casino games worldwide. Its historical reputation and place in popular culture have made it synonymous with the casino experience. European roulette vs American roulette is a huge debate, however, they both offer subtle but unique differences that can affect player behavior and patterns of play. Despite this, players seem drawn to the wheel regardless of what version may be on offer.