Roulette is a little wheel with a rather big history. Since its primitive version first emerged in 1655, gameplay has evolved and Roulette has become a staple in casinos all over the world. Despite now being one of the most popular games to play at an online casino, with Sky Vegas live Roulette and even virtual Roulette coming in many different forms, the little wheel hasn’t always spun so smoothly.
Join us as we take a look at the history of Roulette, discovering how the game became so popular, and the huge gambles it took in order to get there…
A perpetual motion machine
As previously mentioned, the first form of Roulette was invented in 1655. It was thanks to French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal that the wheel was stumbled upon by accident, in his attempts to defy physics and create a perpetual motion machine. Whilst what he initially sought out didn’t work, he became credited for the birth of the Roulette wheel.
Francois and Louis Blanc
Over time, Blaise Pascal’s Roulette wheel evolved, and in 1843, French brothers Francois and Louis Blanc took it upon themselves to revolutionise the wheel. They did this by removing the green double zero pocket, leaving only the single zero pocket and lowering the house edge from 5.26% to just 2.70%.
Born in 1806, the Blanc brothers started their career in the circus, before venturing out into gambling and eventually opening a bank.
Their banking methods were questionable, and despite making a lot of money, they were arrested and let off with a fine before moving to Paris.
They decided to dip their toes back in the waters of gaming until King Louis Phillipe outlawed gambling games in France. To continue their passion, the brothers hopped over the border to Germany, where they struck a deal with Prince Philip of Bad Hamburg to run games of chance in an attempt to boost the city’s economy.
It was here that they created what would later become known as European Roulette, and the little wheel was changed forever.
The popularity of the game spread greatly, and people would travel from far and wide to try their chances on the single-zero wheel.
Louis enjoyed taking more of a backseat in their partnership, helping to keep Francois grounded as he reveled in the limelight. However, Louis died in 1852, aged 47, leaving his twin brother Francois in charge of their great fortune.
The Monte Carlo Casino
In the 1860s, Frankfurt outlawed gambling, affecting Hamburg and the surrounding areas. Yet again, Francois was forced to move.
It just so happened that the small country of Monaco was struggling financially at the time, and the royal family had caught wind of Francois’ success.
It took some persuading, but eventually, Francois took a gamble of his own and invested in the tiny, isolated country in exchange for the security the monarchy could offer him.
Enter the Monte Carlo Casino. Blanc went ahead and spent his own money building railways and improving the roads to make the remote casino more accessible. And as an area of outstanding beauty, Monaco began to see more visitors.
However, it all really came down to the chance Blanc took on this tiny country, and his (and his brother’s) single-zero Roulette wheel, which took centre stage in the first modern casino of its time.
30,000 visitors saw the Monte Carlo Casino within its first year of opening, and this only increased as the years went on.
It’s clear that Blanc’s biggest gamble paid off, and now the Monte Carlo Casino is one of the most famous in the world – showing off marble and gold atriums as well as the European Roulette wheel, of course.
Not only this, but you can catch a glimpse of the iconic casino when you play European Roulette online, where you’ll find games hosted by live dealers, bringing you an authentic casino experience to the comfort of your very own home. It’s not quite a historical palace, but there are enough variations of Roulette to choose from that it’ll feel close enough.