It’s got to be one of the most iconic games of all time. Roulette is a casino staple. It’s hard to even imagine any casino, online or offline, without a few red and black wheels. But have you ever pondered the history of roulette? It’s a fascinating tale, so come with us while we give you the rundown.

What was happening before roulette?

The history of roulette began before the game we know and love. French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal created a roulette-esque wheel in the 1600s as an experiment to create a perpetual motion machine.

It was further refined in 1720 and around that time paired with an Italian game of chance called Biribi. Although not exactly like the game we know and love today, all of these building blocks led to the creation of roulette.

So when did the history of roulette begin?

No one is exactly sure when or where the first game of roulette took place. However, we know that a game called roulette was banned in Québec in 1758. The jury is out if that is the variant of the game we play today.

However, the first detailed description of the modern game of roulette was recorded was in a Jacques Lablee novel called La Roulette, ou le Jour. In this book, Lablee talks in detail about the wheel and game played in Paris’s Palais Royal in 1796.

The only difference was that the single zero and double zero were also coloured red and black, respectively. As you might imagine, this got confusing so by the 1800s, the zeros turned green.

Early variation

To distinguish themselves, several early adopters of roulette mixed things up to stand out from the crowd. For example, the popular casino town of Bad Homburg in Germany, the Blanc family got the bright idea to attract punters by offering a single zero roulette wheel.

Meanwhile, in 19th century America, there were wheels with numbers 1-28, a single zero, a double zero and, as an added bonus, a patriotic American Eagle. This stacked the odds towards the casino and soon disappeared in favor of only numbered slots.

19th century boom

The roulette craze spread like wildfire, despite a crack down on all forms of betting in many nations around the world. The German government outlawed gambling in 1860s, but the Blanc family upped sticks and moved to Monte Carlo. This was the last European destination where gambling remained legal, so it quickly became a hotspot for Europeans who liked to flutter. And who could afford to visit.

The Blanc’s famous single zero roulette wheel reigned supreme in this gambling mecca, spreading far and wide. However, the only place that remained loyal to the double zero was the United States. That was because the game had already taken root in the States before the further developments in Monte Carlo.

Where the Monte Carlo roulette scene was all about the elites of Europe, with all their style, glamor and wealth, things looked a little different in the United States. The game in the US was a mainstay of illegal gambling dens and was notorious for cheaters, both the players and the operators. For this reason, the wheel was placed on top of the table so everyone could see that things were working as they should be.

The history of roulette in the 1900s

As we move into the next century, it’s plain to see that roulette is here to stay. During the early 1900s, there were two casino meccas and both had huge roulette traffic. Monte Carlo with its single zero wheel and then Las Vegas with its double zero. To this day, the dominance of the double zero game is seen in the US, Canada, South America and the Caribbean, while the rest of the world indulges in the single zero.

From the 1970s onwards, as more and more casinos started opening around the world, more and more people started spinning the wheels for themselves. And then the first online casino, InterCasino, burst onto the scene in 1996, sparking a whole movement that made the game accessible to the world.

Where can I play roulette online?

As we said way back at the start of this history of roulette article, this game is so iconic that it’s pretty much available everywhere. But you don’t want to play just anywhere. You’ve got to choose somewhere that’s safe, fun, has a great interface and has lots of choice. For that reason, we love bet365. There are several different roulette tables to choose from, including Live Casino roulette. That means there’s a live croupier who takes you through the game and all the action is streamed straight to your screen. Not signed up to bet365 yet? Well then use this bet365 bonus code when you do.