The classic casino game of roulette has a rich history in the gambling space, with some estimates stating that its origins date all the way back to the 17th century and Blaise Pascal’s failed attempt to make a perpetual motion machine. Roulette offers players a range of betting options, all of which are based on a wheel and a spinning ball. Read on for a breakdown of how this casino classic and its variations work, and check out our lists of the best online casinos to find your ideal roulette destination.
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Online Roulette Overview
The wheel contains 16 red numbers and 16 black numbers, ranging from 1-36. On top of this, there is also a green ‘0’, which gives the casino its house edge. In European roulette, there is just 1 green zero. However, in other versions, such as American Roulette, there are two: one of which is identified as ‘0’, and the other as ’00’. As players can’t bet on the green pockets, the American version offers players a less favourable house edge.
When players have stated their chosen bets, the croupier will then spin the wheel and allow the ball to rotate until it lands on a number. Once the wheel stops, players either win or lose depending on the number that lands and the bet they made.
As the game is a gambling classic, roulette has made a swift transition from land-based casinos to the online space. As such, the best roulette offers can now be found online. In the next section our or guide, we are going to explain the basics in more detail.
How Online Roulette Works
Unless you’re enjoying live dealer roulette, then spinning the wheel online will involve a random number generator (RNG). In simple terms, an RNG is a piece of software that utilises a mathematical algorithm to come up with numbers in an unpredictable and therefore fair manner. As it’s impossible to know which number will come up next, the process simulates the random tumble of a ball on a real-life roulette wheel. By playing at a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licensed online casino, you can be sure that every game is fair. In order to gain and retain such a licence, a casino’s RNGs will be regularly tested by third-party auditors like eCOGRA.
Bets and Odds
One of the enjoyable aspects of roulette is the sheer variety of bets you can make. They fall into two main categories: inside and outside bets.
These bets are placed on one or more specified numbers, and include the following:
- Straight up bets, where you place your chips on a single number, with the prospect of winning the biggest payout in roulette: 35 to 1
- Split bets, where your chips are placed on the line between two numbers — if either of these come up, you get a 17 to 1 payout
- Street bets, which are placed on a horizontal row of three numbers and payout 11 to 1
- Corner bets, which cover four numbers with an 8 to 1 payout.
- Six line bets, also known as double streets because you bet on two horizontal rows — a win will bring a 5 to 1 payout
These bets are placed outside the main grid of numbers on the roulette table and encompass more general outcomes. This makes outside bets less risky than inside bets.
- Red or black bets, where you put money on whether a red or black pocket will come up, with the number itself being irrelevant — payouts here are 1 to 1
- Odd or even bets, where you’re wagering on an odd or even number — this again pays out 1 to 1
- High or low bets, where you bet on whether the number will be within the 1-18 range or the 19-36 range, with a 1 to 1 payout
- Dozen bets, which are similar to high or low bets, except the categories are 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36, with a payout of 2 to 1
- Column bets, where you’re betting a number in one of the three vertical columns on the roulette table will come up — this pays out 2 to 1.
Types of Roulette
When browsing a casino’s table games section, you’ll see a number of roulette variations on offer. Here are the three best-known types.
What many people think of when it comes to roulette, the European wheel has 37 pockets, featuring the green 0 and the red or black numbers 1–36. All the usual inside and outside bets are available to make.
Any single number, or straight-up bet, has a 1 in 37 chance of winning and will pay out at 35 to 1. This means the house edge sits at 2.7% so it’s a better choice than the American version of roulette.
European roulette is one of the best games for new and seasoned roulette players alike due to its more favourable RTP over American roulette. It usually lacks the extra rules seen in French roulette too, which can make it a little simpler for those with less experience.
Take a European roulette wheel and add an extra pocket, the green 00, and you’ve got American roulette. 38 pockets in total mean the casino has a greater advantage in this roulette variant. The house edge is 5.26% as the payouts are the same as in European roulette despite the addition of the double zero pocket.
Alongside the standard wagers, American roulette players can make a five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. There’s a reason some people call this the sucker bet: it pays out at 6 to 1 so the house edge jumps up a notch to 7.89%.
The numbers appear in a different order to the European roulette wheel too, but this doesn’t have any effect on gameplay.
French roulette is played using a European-style wheel with one 0 pocket, but it has an additional rule called ‘La Partage’. This states that even-money wagers (high or low, odd or even, red or black) are split in half if the ball lands in the 0 pocket. So, rather than losing your whole stake, you get 50% back. Another rule you may see in some online French roulette games is ‘En Prison’. Here, after a spin of zero, you can choose to keep an even-money bet on the table for another spin.
Mini roulette plays out a lot like standard roulette, except the wheel has only 13 pockets. The numbers run from the usual green 0 pocket up to 12, which shakes up the odds considerably.
The house edge in mini roulette ranges from 3.85% to 7.69% depending on whether the La Partage rule is in play. This makes it less favourable than French and European roulette but potentially more favourable than American, which has a house edge of 5.26%.
Because there are fewer numbers to play with, the betting options are a little simplified in comparison to a full-size wheel. Different wagers and their payouts include:
- Red or black numbers – 1:1
- Odd or even numbers – 1:1
- Half dozen – six numbers from one of three groups – 1:1
- Column – all four numbers in a column – 2:1
- Corner – four adjacent numbers – 2:1
- Street – all three numbers in a row – 3:1
- Split – two adjacent numbers – 5:1
- Straight up – a single number – 11:1
The La Partage rule is important because it affects payouts on even money wagers. For example, if you’ve bet on red or black but the ball lands on the green 0, you receive half your stake back. In this case, the house edge for even money bets is 3.85%.
What makes mini roulette appealing? For one, it’s well-suited to mobile devices. With fewer numbers on the wheel and therefore fewer betting options, developers don’t have to squeeze so much information onto a smaller screen.
Another reason to give it a try is that it’s simpler for new roulette players. It’s a little easier to get to grips with the roulette bets as there are fewer to choose from, although we’d recommend practising with free games or bonus offers first.
Free roulette is a great option for those wanting to play roulette for the first time. Most formats are available, such as European and American. While you can’t win money from playing, you also can’t lose it, so it’s the perfect way to learn your columns from your corners and understand the flow of the game.
Because you’re not risking real money with free roulette, it’s also a handy way to try out a new roulette strategy. Keep in mind that strategies won’t actually improve your odds or chance of winning like they would in a skill-based game such as poker. Roulette is a game of chance and the house edge is usually the same for all bets.
Free roulette is widely available. Many of the best online roulette sites offer free versions of their game selection alongside real money roulette. Searching for free roulette on your device’s app store can yield a lot of results too.
You might also want to check out casual online games sites. These make playing free roulette a breeze, as there’s no sign up process to go through beforehand. The trade-off? You’ll have to find another platform if you want to transition to playing for real money.
Live dealer roulette is a huge draw, as it’s the closest you can come to playing the game in a real casino without actually being there. It involves real, human croupiers laying chips and spinning roulette wheels in bespoke studio sets — or on real casino floors, in some cases. The good news is you don’t need to download any software to play live roulette. You can access the webcam streams through the casino’s desktop site or mobile app, exactly like standard RNG table games.
There are plenty of other live casino games available too, including live blackjack and live baccarat. You can even enjoy a gameshow-style experience with colourful, glitzy games like Deal or No Deal Live and Monopoly Live.
Roulette Software Providers
You might be thinking the online roulette games you see at a casino site are unique to that particular operator. In reality, casinos host games developed by different software providers, so you could find the same ones on several gambling sites.
In this section, we’ll run through some of the bigger software providers out there and what to expect from their offerings.
One of the heavyweights within online gambling is award-winning Swedish developer NetEnt. Founded in 1996, it’s well-known for its slots such as Starbust and Gonzo’s Quest, but the company also makes table games including French, European, and American roulette variants.
Expect to see NetEnt in the mobile space too, such as its Roulette Touch offering for the small screen.
All NetEnt’s titles are certified by independent accredited test facilities to ensure they meet regulations, so that you can play with confidence.
On the scene since 1999, Playtech is a jack of all trades with over 700 titles across the casino, sports betting, bingo, and poker categories.
As well as desktop and mobile roulette, Playtech provides live dealer roulette games with a few different variations, including Speed Roulette for players looking for more rounds per hour.
Responsible gambling is at the forefront with Playtech. In 2017, it acquired BetBuddy, an AI platform to help identify and engage with at-risk players based on their gambling behaviours.
Younger than the other providers on the list, Evolution Gaming has been around since 2006. It recently won Live Casino Supplier of the Year for the 12th year running, and acquired well-known provider NetEnt in 2020.
Evolution Gaming has some innovative products too. In 2021, the company launched its first game with a VR mode, Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt.
Microgaming is a provider from the Isle of Man, and was one of the early pioneers of mobile casino software. It offers a range of roulette variants, including live and multiplayer versions.
As one of the founding members of the e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA), fair gaming and responsible play are a cornerstone of Microgaming’s products.
As powerful mobile devices have become ubiquitous, so too has online gambling exploded in popularity. Since around 2004, players have been able to enjoy mobile gaming without being restricted to larger devices like PCs and laptops.
Almost every game you can think of has a mobile presence. There’s a massive selection across blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, craps, keno games, and more. The Mobile Lottery was actually the first mobile gambling offer to launch in the UK. Slots are popular too, with many providers remastering classic titles for smaller screens and touch controls.
Early games may have been a fiddly and cumbersome experience, but this is no longer the case. With today’s modern hardware and a trend towards larger screen sizes, players have access to immersive gameplay and sophisticated controls combined with the convenience of a mobile device.
When it comes to mobile roulette, there’s no shortage of choice. Android and iOS users alike can find free and real money roulette offerings in their app stores. European, French, and American roulette variants are all available, and some apps include live dealer roulette games too. Watch out for more exotic variations as well, such as mini or multi-wheel roulette.
Modern mobile casino games are built with HTML5 technology, meaning you don’t even have to install an app. Instead, these games are accessed via your mobile device’s browser such as Safari or Google Chrome.
Controls are an important consideration when choosing online roulette casinos and games. As games have to fit on a smaller screen, they can take some getting used to. We’d recommend trying out a few to find something that feels natural to you. Casino bonuses or apps and sites offering free roulette are great for this, as you can get used to the platform before wagering real money.
It’s also a good idea to play over Wi-Fi if you can, as the connection is likely to be more reliable. That said, mobile internet has improved hugely in recent years, but hold off on the bets if the train is about to enter a tunnel!
The Best Roulette Offers: What’s the Deal?
Virtually every online casino has a range of bonuses available for players, with the best roulette offers reserved for those that are yet to open an account. In most cases, operators will give you a bonus in the form of a matched deposit.
However, you also need to be made aware that online roulette offers come with their own terms of conditions. While these will vary from operator to operator, there are a couple of common denominators.
Firstly, the vast majority of online roulette offers will come with wagering requirements, stipulating that you need to wager a minimum amount before you can withdraw any bonus-related winnings. For example, if the online roulette offers a bonus with a 30x wagering requirement, this means that you need to stake the original bonus amount 30 times over.
Secondly, online roulette offers sometimes stipulate that certain games contribute less to the wagering requirement. For example, while slots usually contribute 100% of the amount staked, online roulette sometimes only contributes 10% of each stake towards the wagering requirements. Always check the terms and conditions to make sure you’re comfortable with the restrictions placed on the bonus.
Roulette Bonuses and Offers
Casino sites will offer bonuses to attract new customers and reward existing ones for their loyalty. Here are some of the most widely available promos to look out for.
A matched deposit bonus involves the casino operator matching a proportion of your deposit in bonus funds, up to a stated limit. A typical deposit bonus is ‘100% up to £250’. In this case, depositing £50 would give you a total bankroll of £100 to bet with.
No Deposit Bonuses
Some casino sites may gift you an amount in bonus credits simply for signing up as a new member. Since no deposit is required at all, this kind of bonus provides a good way to get a feel for a particular casino, meaning you can try out its roulette offerings without putting your own money on the line.
Free spins refer to slot games rather than spins of the roulette wheel. Free spins on selected slots are often provided as part of a welcome bonus package with matched deposit bonuses. They may also be given as ongoing incentives to existing players who deposit a certain minimum amount every week.
Other Terms and Conditions
With any kind of bonus, it’s important to check the terms and conditions. There may be an expiry date on the bonus, and maximum caps on how much you can win using bonus funds or free spins. There may also be wagering requirements, which will state how many times you must bet your bonus amount before you can withdraw any winnings as real money.
Payments at Roulette Sites
The best UK casino sites make it easy to pay and withdraw money. Here are some of the banking options you’ll usually find at a top online casino.
This is a universally accepted method for making deposits and withdrawals at UK casino sites. Using a debit card is certainly convenient, as you won’t have to set up any third-party accounts, and industry-standard encryption means your details will be kept secure. However, some players may still prefer not to share their bank information online if they can help it, and withdrawals may be slower than some other methods.
There are a number of e-wallets commonly accepted at casino sites, including Skrill, Neteller and PayPal. E-wallets are ideal for security-conscious players as you don’t have to share any bank or card details when making casino transactions. Plus withdrawals tend to be pretty fast, taking as little as 24 hours in some cases.
For the more security-conscious players out there, prepaid cards are the best option. Paysafecard is a prominent example — you can purchase vouchers of various denominations either online or in a brick-and-mortar retailer. You then transfer the value of the voucher to your casino account by inputting a unique PIN. It’s a highly secure way to make deposits, but you won’t be able to make withdrawals with the method.
Pay by Phone Bill
Another good option for those who don’t like to share bank details online is to make deposits through their phone bill. This simply requires entering your phone number and verifying the transaction. The deposit amount will then be added to your next phone bill. Tight spending limits mean this isn’t a natural fit for high rollers, and withdrawals aren’t possible using this method.
In summary, the online roulette craze has taken the gambling community by storm. Not only can players gamble in the comfort of their own home or on the go via their mobile device, but they are also accustomed to a range of roulette offers.
This is an excellent way to increase your starting balance, not least because some roulette operators match your original deposit by up to 100%. Just make sure that you understand the underlying terms and conditions pertaining to the withdrawal of winnings, as these can vary depending on the operator.