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Why European Roulette’s House Edge is Lower than American Roulette

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Roulette is one of the most popular casino games ever created. Played worldwide in land-based and online casinos, the game has spawned a cult-like following. Many consider the game to have gained such popularity due to its simple rules. Players rarely have to use any strategy at all.

There are two major variants of the game—American and European. While both of them have the same rules, one minor difference makes the house edge almost twice in American Roulette compared to European Roulette.

While the difference can change outcomes dramatically, most players are usually not aware of it. This is particularly true for online casinos operating in foreign markets like India, where players can interpret the variants as stylistic differences instead of actual fundamental ones.

The Difference of an Extra Zero

The most prominent difference between American and European Roulette is the wheel used to play the game. In American Roulette, there are 38 total slots on the wheel with two slots marked green as “0”. If the ball rests on any of the two slots in American Roulette, all players lose their bet, and the house wins. 

However, the wheel used in European Roulette only has one green slot marked as zero out of the 37 slots on it. Similarly, if the ball rests on that slot at the end of a spin, all players lose their bet and the house wins.

While the difference seems marginal, it actually matters a lot when we look at the math:

Parameter American Roulette European Roulette
Total Slots on the Wheel  38 37
Green Slots (House Wins) 2 1
House Edge  2/38 1/37
House Edge (in percentage) 5.27% 2.70%

This means the casino has a much higher chance of winning a bet with American Roulette than with European Roulette.

On the other hand, the player has a lower chance of winning a bet playing American Roulette than European. In strict terms, the difference is around 2.57% which is significant.

One Among Many Mathematical Tricks Used by Online Casinos

Casinos use a wide range of mathematical tricks to ensure the house wins. Almost every major casino game comes with mechanics that ensure the casino will make money long-term. While this doesn’t mean players cannot make money playing casino games, it just means that casinos will always profit.

However, by being aware of the tricks used by online casinos and using a math-based approach, players can increase their win percentage playing online casino games.