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Roulette – from accidental beginnings to pop culture status

Have you ever sat down and wondered about the origins of your favourite casino games? While many of us enjoy the accessibility, convenience and flexibility that the casino online has to offer, who knew there was a life before the internet? A classic like Roulette has withstood the test of time, and has long been popular with gaming aficionados – even prior to the first land-based casinos being built. The love for this traditional ‘spin and win’ game has only intensified through the evolution of technology, and live online casino gaming. Let’s take a step back in time to where it all began.

Blaise Pascal takes the credit
After its true origins were shrouded in mystery, with the Ancient Greeks and Romans both laying claims to playing a very primitive form of Roulette, the main pioneer in the game’s history is Blaise Pascal. This French mathematician and physicist wasn’t trying to create a casino game by any means, but a perpetual motion machine. The aim of such a device is to continue to operate without drawing energy from an external source. The laws of physics were stacked against him, and ironically his invention failed – but in turn, through this process, he managed to invent what was, in a basic form, the Roulette wheel.

Brothers Blanc take it to the next level
That was in 1655, and it wasn’t until hundreds of years later that the next step in the evolution of Roulette took place. Believe it or not, before the mid-nineteenth century, the zero on the Roulette wheel didn’t exist. It wasn’t until Francois and Louis Blanc specially designed a wheel for King Charles III of Monaco, in 1842, that this all changed. Adding a zero to the wheel, gave the house a bigger edge. Roulette took off from there, as Charles built one casino, and then several more, in Monaco, where the game of Roulette often featured. Of course, at this time, it was a game popular with the wealthy, namely aristocrats and royalty. But it wasn’t long before it was brought to the masses. As a result, Francois was known as the ‘Magician of Monte Carlo’.

EU-r wheel or US?
Roulette then made its way across the Atlantic, courtesy of European colonists who settled in the state of Louisiana. Originally, the Americans weren’t keen on the variation of Roulette which was so popular across Europe, and casino proprietors weren’t happy with the low house edge (2.7%). So, they added a second zero, known on the wheel and table as 00, which upped the house edge to 5.26%. The game became known as American Roulette.

The rise of online Roulette
For much of the early 1900s, there were two places to play Roulette: Monte Carlo for the European variation, and of course, Sin City itself, Las Vegas for American Roulette. That was until, casinos popped up all over the world, and players could spin the devil’s wheel to their heart’s content.

A further step in the evolution of the game, and with its popularity staying strong, was through online casinos. These were first established in the 1990s, and brought with them a number of changes to the classic game. No longer did you have to be within a certain territory to play a specific variation of Roulette, as both versions were readily available online. Players were also unlimited in when and where they played – so long as they had a decent internet connection. The advances in technology have also seen live, and other themed variations of Roulette made available – giving players more choice and freedom than ever.

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