Origins of Roulette

It remains to be seen what would have happened to the global gambling industry had slot machines not been invented by Charles D. Fey back in the late 1800s, as these games are widely recognised as being key players in the 20th century casino explosion. But here’s the thing: people often forget about the monumental excitement that roulette had caused less than 100 years before the birth of slot machines, and we think the industry would have been just fine relying on roulette. 

You see, roulette is easily the most exciting casino game available even today on face value, indeed, it is actually very hard for anything to really beat it. Does any other casino game involve a spinning wheel and a ball that could drop on any value? Does any other casino game foster such an amazing communal spirit? We’re not so sure… Read on for an exploration into the origins of roulette at

Blaise Pascal and the search for a perpetual motion machine 

The 1600s was an incredibly rich and interesting era of human history, where the beginnings of the Enlightenment could be tracked through a vast explosion in philosophers, writers, historians and scientists. Blaise Pascal was exactly one of these people, and it was his key research in the field of perpetual motion that provided the catalyst for the game of roulette we know today. 

In fact, without Blaise Pascal who knows how long it would have been before humans could actually construct the mechanism needed to run a game of roulette. 

The Italian game of Biribi 

After Blaise Pascal’s crucial work in the field of perpetual motion the Italians ended up co-opting his work in order to create a new gambling game they called Biribi. As gambling historians will tell you, the first casino ever to be established was in 16th century Venice, and this is why the Italians were on the look out for as many new casino games as possible. 

Biribi was an incredibly rudimentary form of roulette that worked in a very similar way, however it wasn’t quite up to the standard to spread globally like its predecessor did. 

France and the real deal 

Although Biribi wasn’t exactly perfect, it did prove instrumental in the eventual creation of roulette as we know it today, with some curious French gamblers making some vital alterations to the game in order for it to become roulette. This was in the late 1700s, and by the 19th century roulette was being played all across Europe. 

Indeed, casino historians argue that roulette was the game that kick started the casino craze around Europe, and by extension of that the rest of the world. 

European vs. American roulette 

By the mid 19th century roulette had also arrived on American soil, however due to a mix up the wheel still had two zero values, rather than the recently changed one zero value in Europe. This brings the house edge up significantly, and is a key reason why most people prefer European roulette.


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