Thursday, February 2

The History Behind Roulette: When Did This Game Start?

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world and it is hard to imagine a casino without a roulette table. Ever since the beginnings of roulette, this game became an instant hit, which resulted in mass adoption by different countries from all around the world.

Roulette is a game of chance that is played using a spinning wheel where people can bet on certain outcomes. Nowadays you can play online in many popular casinos and sportsbooks, such as Bovada’s roulette.

But what are the true origins of Roulette and how has this game grown to be one of the biggest casino games in the world?

Well, let’s dig a bit deeper into the history of roulette and track its path from the start to its online adaptation.

Roulette Origins

Just like most casino games, the true origins of Roulette are still unknown. However, there are certain theories about where the game started. 

The one theory that most people believe is true is that Roulette was invited in 1655 by a French scientist called Blaise Pascal during his monastic retreat and he even played the game first in a casino in Paris.

The second theory suggests that Roulette was invented by a random French monk, at that time monk, oddly enough created this game to alleviate the monotony of the simple monastery life.

The third and final theory about the origins of Roulette suggests that French Dominican monks created the first Roulette game, which was based on an old Tibetan game that had an objective to arrange 37 animals statuettes into a magic number of squares of 666.

This Tibetan game came from China, but there are no records of how the game was played. It is believed that the monk transported all 37 statuettes to France where he arranged them from 0 to 36 randomly on a wheel which was the birth of the Roulette table.

Out of the three theories, it seems like the third one holds the least evidence. However, we can spot a pattern in all theories suggesting that the game was actually invented in a monastery in France.

Ancestors of Roulette

Let’s start with the name “Roulette” which in French means “Small Wheel” which again points to the French origins of the game. However, if we look at some of the ancestors of roulette we can spot many similar games from history that held different names.

One of the ancestors of Roulette is “Roly Poly” as well as “Ace of Hearts” and “Even-Odd” which were all English games. We also have the game “Biribi” and “Hoca” from Italian origins that had a similar playstyle to Roulette.

If we take a look at “Biribi”, the game was considered a cheating game in Italy and was actually banned in Genoa, but this made the game more popular. Each participant picks the numbers out of a bag and the board had thirty-six compartments. The player that will pick the right number will get thirty-two times the amount of stake. Even though this game didn’t feature a ball or a wheel it still holds some similarities with Roulette.

Ace of Hearts is another gambling card game of the simplest sort where players wager on the value of the card that the dealer will turn up. This doesn’t have many similarities with a roulette table.

The Even-Odd game actually featured a wheel and a ball, but instead of numbers there were just 20 sections marked E for Even and 20 marked O for Odd. This game became very popular in the 1770s until it was banned a few years later.

Earliest Evidence of Roulette

As of now, we still don’t know the true origins of roulette and when did the entire movement begin. However, we can go back to the earliest viable evidence of a Roulette game, which can be spotted in the 18th century.

Like most gambling games, the only way to find out when such games appeared is through official legal documents that mention the game which was issued just to ban such games. The first mention of Roulette dates back to a new country called “New France”, which was later renamed Canada.

This legal document from 1758 states that games like “dice, hoca, faro, and roulette” are banned. If we go back to Europe we can see that the earliest mention of the word Roulette is in the English Act 18 Geo. II and it stated that games like Roly-Poly and Roulet – as the paper stated- are banned.

Since then, the roulette table had a domino effect appearing in different parts of the world. It arrived in the United States in the late 1700s in New Orleans, and become the first capital in the US that had a roulette table thanks to the French immigrants living there.

Final Words

After the game became an instant hit, many countries started accepting it which turned into the globalization of the roulette table. Nowadays, the roulette table is the most iconic game you can play at a casino, and no matter if we are talking about a land-based or an online casino, you’ll find roulette since it is one of the games that define the casino industry.