What Is The Difference Between European And American Roulette?

Roulette is one of the most popular table games at physical and online casinos. The principle is simple but there are numerous betting opportunities regardless of whether players are looking for short odds or a long shot. While physical casinos offer the game, online sites commonly offer roulette as well and players will find two well-known variants across casinos – European and American roulette. Although the difference is fairly slight, it does have an impact on house edge, odds, and the player’s chance to win, so it is an important difference.

In roulette, players can bet that the ball will settle on any individual number, including the green 0 or 00 slots. They can also bet on sets of two, three, or four numbers, baskets, colors, and whether the outcome will be red or black. There are a variety of other bets available at physical tables and online casino roulette games.

The game of roulette was invented by French mathematician Blaise Pascal as he attempted to devise a perpetual motion machine. While his search was ultimately fruitless, it did give rise to early forms of the table game.

The Wheel – European Roulette

Early European roulette wheels had two spaces for the bank – a 0 and a 00. But in the mid-19th Century, a new wheel design was introduced in Germany, which only featured the 0. This version, with its single bank space, would go on to be widely adopted in European gambling halls and casinos and is what we know today as the European roulette wheel.

The Wheel – American Roulette

In contrast, the American roulette wheel uses the more traditional design with a 0 and a 00. Originally, American roulette also had a third bank space, emblazoned with an eagle, but this is rarely seen on modern tables, if ever.

The House Edge – European Roulette

The European roulette wheel has a total of 37 number spaces. There are 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers, and a green 0 space. Although players can bet on the 0 space, it is this green slot that gives the house the advantage. Any bets placed on colors, odds or evens, or sets of numbers, won’t pay out if the ball lands on the 0. And this is when the house makes money. With just one bank space, it means that the bank has a 1 in 37 chance of winning at European roulette, giving a house edge of 2.7%.

The House Edge – American Roulette

American roulette has the same red and black numbers, and the green 0. It also has a green 00. Because there are two bank spaces, the house has a 2 in 38 chance of winning, equivalent to a house edge of 5.26%.

Different Bets

As well as the wheels being laid out differently, there are also some bet types specific to each roulette wheel. Not all real money online casino sites offer these bets, but many do:

  • En Prison – Only offered in European roulette, the en prison rule means that players with even money bets, i.e. those betting on red or black, get to leave their money on the table and spin again if the ball lands on the 0.
  • Call – A call bet is another bet only offered at European roulette tables. There are different call bets that cover between 8 and 17 consecutive numbers on the wheel. The voisins du zero call bet, for example, covers the green 0 and the 8 numbers on either side.
  • Five Number Bet – The five-number bet is specific to American roulette and means the player can bet that the outcome will be 00, 0, 1, 2, or 3.

What’s Available?

European roulette was introduced because it offers more favorable odds to players. It was used as a means to attract gamblers away from the American style of game. While the two types of table games are most often found in their respective regions, many casinos offer both games. Online casinos are certainly likely to provide a choice of American or European games and where both are available, players generally prefer the improved odds of the European game. 


European and American roulette are very similar. They’re both played on wheels with numbers up to 36. Players can bet on individual numbers or certain groups of numbers, and take the prize if the ball settles on one of their chosen numbers.

However, there are differences between the two types, with the most significant difference being that American roulette has two bank spaces, 0 and 00, while European roulette only has one, 0.

This difference in wheel design means that the house has a greater edge in American roulette than in European, although both variants of the game can be found in physical and online casinos.