At Bonus Code Poker, we believe in the power of history. We think the story of how something came to be can say a lot about its present and its future. And that’s why we’ve decided to tell you all about the origins of roulette. The history of this iconic game is colorful, filled with drama and might just surprise you. Intrigued? Read on…

What are the earliest origins of roulette?

Way back before the world had even a hint of the game of roulette, a mathematician and physicist was working hard on an experiment. It was France in the 1600s and Blaise Pascal was trying to create a perpetual motion machine. He didn’t succeed in that, but what he did create looked a lot like a roulette wheel…

When did that 1600s wheel get associated with gambling?

Flash forward to 1720 and someone got the bright idea of perfecting Pascal’s wheel and pairing it with a game of chance. The game in question has Italian origins and is called Biribi. Yes, it’s different to modern day roulette, but this was the first time that there was a link between that wheel and gambling.

So what about the origins of roulette as we know it today?

It’s unclear precisely when modern day roulette was created. But what we do know is that the authorities in Québec banned a game called roulette in 1758. Now that might not be the exact same as the roulette we know, but it’s an indication something similar was probably being played around then.

Several decades later, we know people were playing roulette as we’d recognise it. That’s because of a book call La Roulette, ou le Jour, all about the game being played in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796. Author Jacques Lablee describes the game in fine detail and his descriptions would ring true to modern day players. However, there was one different. The single and double zero in Lablee’s description weren’t green. Instead, one was black and one was red. But by the 1800s, they became green.

How did roulette evolve in Europe?

Europeans were crazy about roulette and casino owners were quick to try to capitalize on that. The Blanc family in Bad Homburg, Germany introduced a single zero roulette wheel that really got bums on seats in their casino, so to speak.

However, by the 1860s, there were crackdowns on the game. Roulette, along with all other forms of gambling, was outlawed in the 1860s. For that reason, the enterprising Blanc family decided to set up shop in Monte Carlo instead, to take advantage of their more lax regulations. It didn’t take long before the rich and powerful of Europe to start holidaying in Monte Carlo to take in the sights and play the game.

How did roulette evolve in the United States?

Always good for trying something new, there were a variety of different types of roulette wheels tried out in the United States in the 19th century. Depending on where you went, you could find wheels with a double zero, a single zero, numbers 1-28 and even an American Eagle. However, punters soon realised that these innovations mainly served the interests of the casino. Therefore, numbered only wheels became the go-to.

Roulette found so many fans early on in the United States with the original double zero wheel, that the Blanc’s single zero never really caught on. And still to this day, the double zero reigns supreme in the USA.

However, with those fans, there were also people who wanted to exploit the game and cheat. This was partly to do with the association with gambling in general in the US being illegal, it simply attracted a different crowd than the well-to-do hordes in Monte Carlo. To combat the cheating element, the wheel started to be placed on top of the table so everyone could see that the game was running fair and square.

How did the game spread around the world?

Although originally mainly in the United States, Canada and Europe, the late 1900s saw the game spreading far and wide. This was mostly to do with more and more casinos opening up globally from the 1970s onwards. But we still see an old divide. Most North and South American countries are loyal to the double zero roulette while, while in the rest of the world people mainly play on single roulette wheels.

When did people start playing roulette online?

But what about the origins of roulette online? Well, in 1996, InterCasino introduced the first online roulette game. And now you can play it at almost any online casino you like, whenever suits you. Looking for a new online casino? Take a look at the bonus codes for some our favorites below.

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