Roulette is one of the basic offerings in casinos wherever you go in the world, but did you know that there are fundamental and important differences between American and European roulette?
The difference between the two types of roulette wheels is that American roulette has an extra compartment on the wheel and therefore an extra space on the mat (the green fabric where the chips are placed). The extra compartment is green and has the number 00. This addition means that the numbers on the wheels are distributed in a different order, but this is only a cosmetic change.
The real difference between the two types of roulette wheels is the change in the casino’s guaranteed statistical advantage also known as the bank’s house edge.
The compartment for 00 (double zero) significantly increases the casino’s house edge. In fact, it almost doubles, as it gives players another chance to lose. Exactly how large the increase in the house’s edge will be can be calculated according to the following.
European roulette (37 slots on the roulette wheel): The true chance of the ball landing on a certain number is 1 in 37. In other words, if you played 37 times, you could expect to win on average once when playing on a specific number.
The payout the casino gives to the one who succeeds with the piece of art is 35/1 (your bet back with 35 times as much on top).
There is a difference of 1 unit, so if you played 37 spins for $ 1 at a time you would expect to lose $ 1 (losing 36 spins costs you $ 36, 1 winning spin gives you $ 35 in winnings).
If you divide the difference by 37 (the number of compartments on the roulette wheel) and multiply by 100, you get the house edge, expressed in the form of a percentage figure.
So, the house edge for European roulette is: (36-35):37×100 = 2.70%
Same calculation for American roulette (38 slots on the wheel): As above, but due to the extra chance of losing, the difference is 2 units.
If you play 38 times for $ 1 per spin, you can expect to win once (and get a profit of $ 35) and lose 37 times which costs you $ 37 – a difference of $ 2.
Consequently, the bank’s house edge for American roulette is: (37-35):38×100 = 5.26%.