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.
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.
This popular version of the game features a wheel with 37 pockets, including a single, green 0. The single 0 pocket means that this game type has a smaller house edge.
American roulette works the same way as the European version, except for one very significant difference: the wheel has 38 pockets, thanks to the addition of a green 00 slot. This plays in the casino’s favour by giving American roulette a higher house edge.
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.
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.
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.