Origin of Roulette


Roulette is a gambling game in which a small ball drops into a compartment on a revolving wheel. The game emerged in the 18th century and is a popular casino game in Europe.

Players make bets on the number, section or color where they think the ball will land. Inside bets cover specific numbers or groups of numbers on the table map, while outside bets are broader wagers like red or black.


Despite the many fanciful stories about the origin of roulette, there is no doubt that it was first played in France and then quickly spread throughout Europe. Its wheel design is thought to be based on that of the 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal, who invented it in his attempts to develop perpetual motion machines. The game itself, however, is derived from older games like hoca and portique. In addition, several English and Italian board games have been cited as possible ancestors of roulette. These include rosy poly, even-odd and the Italian board games Biribi and Hoca. Until about 1900, most encyclopaedias referred to the version of roulette that had 38 numbers as simply “Italian Roulette”.

In modern European/Latin American casinos, the wheels used for this type of roulette have 37 divisions (not 38). This variation is called a European Roulette wheel.