European vs. American Roulette

European and American roulette wheels & tables may look the same, and for the most part, they are. After all, you can find 18 red pockets, 18 black pockets, and a green (0) pocket.

However, the American variant has an additional green pocket (00), a concession demanded by American casinos in the 19th century before agreeing to offer it to its US patrons. This extra pocket not only brings the total to 38 but tilts the game further in the casino’s favor.

Still, both American and European roulette games have their proponents, arguing the pros and cons of each.

Pros of European roulette & cons of American roulette

  • European roulette has slightly better odds than American roulette because it has 37 pockets compared to American roulette, which has 38. A player has a 1 in 37 (2.70%) of making the right call on a single bet in European roulette compared to a 1 in 38 chance (2.63%) in American roulette. Despite this seemingly slight imbalance, the payouts of both roulette games are the same, effectively meaning that American roulette doesn’t compensate players for the disadvantage.
  • The overall house edge of European roulette is 2.7% compared to 5.26% for American roulette. The long-run impact of this difference could have a bearing on a player’s chosen strategy and ultimately affect their cumulative performance. It’s noteworthy that both house edges are higher than (37-pocket) French roulette, which has a house edge of as little as 1.35%. The reason comes down to two player-friendly rules that might apply when the ball falls in the (0) pocket. En Prison or La Partage allows players to respin or collect half their bet.
  • It’s more common to find a live dealer and auto roulette based on a European wheel versus its American counterpart. For example, Evolution Gaming, which first went live in New Jersey in 2018, has several live roulette wheel variants based on a European wheel design. Examples include Lightning Roulette, XXXtreme Lightning Roulette, Immersive Roulette, and Speed Roulette. It’s not impossible to find American live dealer or auto roulette games; the availability is just comparatively less frequent.

Pros of American roulette & cons of European roulette

  • American roulette is comparatively more common at US player-friendly offshore online casinos and land-based casinos. As previously mentioned, it gives the casinos a more significant advantage by lowering the player RTP. Therefore, it’s not surprising that American players would be more familiar with it and might actually prefer it to the European equivalent.
  • The extra (00) pocket allows players to make a five-number bet with a 6:1 payout, which is not available in European roulette. A top-line bet covers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.

Which roulette wheel is better?

There’s no simple answer to whether American or European roulette is better since it all comes down to personal preference. You’ll probably want to go with European roulette if you’re looking for the best odds of winning, the lowest house edge, and the best selection of live roulette tables.

On the other hand, American roulette is far more readily available at land-based commercial or tribal casinos, also making it more familiar. It offers an extra top-line betting option that incorporates the (00) pocket position with a 6:1 payout. Of course, classic American roulette has been steeped in tradition for a few centuries, creating greater nostalgia.

Want to learn about more roulette variations? Check out

Scroll to top