How Did Roulette Become Such a Popular Game?

Many casino games have gone through bursts of popularity over the last few years. Video poker was riding the crest of a digital technology wave when it first appeared in the 1980s. Although that initial hysteria dampened, plenty of video poker enthusiasts still enjoy the game. Slot machine games date back slightly further and are over a century old.

They have maintained popularity mainly through implementing the latest innovative technology in computing, graphics and algorithms to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Today we will examine how roulette became such a popular game. You can find out more about this game here:

Some people have pointed to the hypnotic motion of the wheel, which appeals to players. Others have highlighted that the devil’s number (all the numbers on the wheel adding up to 666) may have a spooky part to play.

Origins Of Roulette


Roulette games (not to be confused with Russian roulette) have been around longer than slot machines and video poker. The primitive version of the game was designed in Europe in the 18th century. Various historians widely credit Blaise Pascal for creating the initial wheel, which then grew into the game we know today.

The French inventor used the Italian game Biribi as an inspiration, although his search for a game that contained a wheel in continuous motion eventually led to him creating this iconic game and cementing his name in the history books.

Towards the end of the 18th century, they used red for a zero and black for a double zero. However, for the avoidance of doubt, this colour was then changed to green. It has since not been changed for over 200 years. Roulette maintained popularity throughout this period as, unlike card games such as blackjack, it is a total game of luck.

Developments Of The Game

As the game gained momentum and popularity throughout European casinos in the early to mid-18th century, a pair of Frenchmen called François and Louis Blanc revised the initial design and got rid of one zero. They were creating a version of the game better known in European casinos today, with roulette wheels that contained one zero instead of two.

This iconic revision of the game was first initially credited as appearing in Germany, but with the help of the two Frenchman, as mentioned earlier. As German legislation outlawed gambling in the mid-19th century, François and Louis Blanc took their forward-thinking business minds to the last remaining legal casino in Europe – Monte Carlo.

The pair transformed the Monaco-based casino company through their leadership. It is still considered one of the world’s most glamorous locations today to play a casino game, with many high rollers jetting into Monaco every week to play a casino game. They kept roulette’s immense popularity ticking along as they innovated the game and wanted to see it become successful on their casino floor.

Difference Between American And European Roulette


American casinos widely adopted the double zero roulette wheel. They still had the classic set-up of 1-36. Still, the double zero meant that the money you received for a payout improved slightly due to the additional double zero wheel, which is not familiar in European roulette.

Although European casinos use a wheel that contains just a singular zero, both games maintain immense popularity. As the 19th century progressed and Monaco became a gambling focal point in Europe, the operators who ran the casinos ensured that the location remained the go-to place for wealthy gamblers worldwide. Las Vegas then became a rival.

Having the ability to create two different games that were identical in many ways meant that roulette table designers and casino operators could appeal to two different types of gamblers with the same game, thus fuelling its popularity even further.

Iconic Locations That Helped Fuel The Popularity Of Roulette

As these Nevada-based casinos began to hoover up some customers due to American high-rollers choosing to play in Vegas instead of Monaco, the double-zero version of roulette was preserved.

Historians believe American casinos started using this type of wheel because the Southern States kept it alive earlier in the century. Once Las Vegas casinos started to build casinos and roulette tables, they started to use the double zero roulette wheel.

The roulette table became one of the most synonymous casino games on the floor. Alongside slot machines and blackjack tables, you would be hard-pressed to visit a Las Vegas casino throughout the mid to late 20th century and not see at least a handful of roulette tables on the casino floor.

Monaco still brings in big players from all over the world. The same applies to Las Vegas, which combines the popularity of casino gaming with some of the biggest events in the world. This ranges from huge sporting events such as UFC and boxing to some of the biggest stars in music.

However, both of these locations are now dwarfed by Chinese gambling mecca Macau which brings in billions of dollars of revenue per year and focuses on the Chinese gambling market.

Digital Era

Once the internet entered the conversation in the late 20th century, the possibilities for roulette grew even further. Digital game designers began to enter the space to ensure that computer algorithms guaranteed faster payouts and further variations of the game, which resulted in digital gaming operators moving into the space en masse.

Due to this heightened visibility and major accessibility, roulette gaming began to spearhead the movement that saw the online gambling industry enjoy incredible profits throughout this century.


There isn’t one defining reason roulette has become such a popular game. Combining the factors we have touched on today certainly explains why it maintained popularity throughout the last two centuries. In essence, gambling is a popular pastime worldwide, and human history has also proven this.

As there is a lot of money in the sector, these funds have helped drive game development, as well as the advertising and features that make the roulette game more accessible and entertaining.

As we progress into the 21st century, mobile gaming heavily features roulette tables and virtual roulette tables. Computer graphics are cutting-edge, and algorithms allow providers to perform more spins due to quicker payouts, benefitting the player and the provider.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]