Roulette: History of the Game
Roulette is one of the most popular games for US players of online casinos but whilst you can now play roulette on your cell phone, desktop or tablet, the origins of the game were far more basic. Like much in the world of gambling, especially when we’re looking at history, much of the beginnings of roulette are somewhat uncertain but there are some facts that are fairly well established.
First off, let’s start with the name itself. Roulette derives from Latin ultimately and the same word that brings us rota and rotary, although a more recent link is the archaic French word “roelete”, meaning little wheel.
The game was popular by the 18th century and is thought to have been invented in France. Inventor Blaise Pascal may have actually inadvertently created the world’s first roulette wheel somewhat earlier, in the 1600s, as he sort to create a perpetual motion machine.
The game developed out of a number of other games, including the English wheel game, Roly-Poly and the Italian board game Hoca. The exact development of the game in this period may never be known but what we can say with certainty is that by the very late 1700s roulette as we know it now was being played in French casinos and gambling dens.
A 1801 French novel by Jaques Lablee, set at the turn of the previous century, describes the game thus: “There are exactly two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives its sole mathematical advantage … two betting spaces containing the bank’s two numbers, zero and double zero”
In 1843 a German casino created the single zero version of the game in order to offer a better payout to players and thus attract more business. Gambling was outlawed in Germany in the 1860s and the French creatrors of the single zero game moved to Monte Carlo, where casinos remained legal and here the single zero variant flourished.
The great game of roulette came to America with immigrants and travelled up the Mississippi, spreading west. In America the original French version of the game, with zero and double zero remained popular but essentially little has changed in the time since.
Of course, we now have online roulette, live dealer roulette games and even mobile roulette, as well as various roulette variants, including progressive games and bonus side bets. However, in essence, the game we know and love today is the same roulette played hundreds of years ago in France – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it we say!
Get started at the best USA online casinos that offer roulette and why not give a couple different games a try? If you haven’t tried a live dealer casino yet, see the USA live casinos we recommend and you never know – it just may be your new favorite game.