Roulette players can be spoiled for choice these days in the variations they can play.

Each online roulette game comes with a similar-looking, but markedly different wheel and set of odds.

But what are the key differences, and which game should you pick? Let's look at how European and American Roulette compare.


What are the basics of online roulette?

Online roulette is played using a single wheel with 37 or 38 numbered pockets. The wheel is spun and bets are placed in which pocket a ball will come to rest.

When you load the game in a browser window, you have as much time as you need to place bets before hitting the 'spin' button. Winning payouts are made depending on where the ball lands.

The beauty of online roulette is that players can place a range of stakes, usually much lower than you will find in a bricks and mortar casino. Players also have a choice of French roulette, multiplayer roulette, and live roulette. 

Understanding the differences between American and European roulette

The key difference between the American and European wheel is the extra green pocket in the American version.

In American roulette, there are both 0 and 00 pockets to bet on. While this gives players another chance to earn a 35/1 payout, it also increases the house edge.

With the extra green pocket, however, American roulette players have an extra wager they can pick. The 'top line' bet is a wager unique to American roulette. It's a 6/1 bet on the first five numbers (0, 00, 1, 2, and 3).

The two wheels not only differ through the extra 00 slot. The layout of the numbers in European and American roulette is also different. So, when betting the racetrack, which shows the exact positioning of numbers as they appear on the wheels, the range of bets would differ.

For example, the neighbours of zero in European roulette would include 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. In American roulette, it would be a bet on 14, 2, 0, 28, and 9.

Chances of winning American v European

In both versions of roulette, players have a chance of winning. It's lower in American roulette, but how much lower? Here's a table to show you the differences.


American v European Roulette: the pluses and minuses

Both versions of online roulette are fun to play. But in all games of roulette, there is always a house edge.

The house edge is the statistical advantage the casino has over players. While American roulette has an extra pocket for players to hit, it also makes it harder to hit a successful red/black or odd/even bet.

In American roulette, the presence of the double zero pocket increases the house edge to 5.26 per cent. That is almost double the house edge in European roulette: 2.7%.

In fact, if you look at our table the chance of winning an even-money wager in European roulette is 48.65 per cent. In American roulette it's more than one per cent less.

So, in the long term, for every £100 bet on American roulette for the even-money wagers, £5.26 goes to the casino. In European roulette, it's £2.70. But the casino is still winning over the long term.

Know your house edge and try a roulette system

Whichever format of roulette you pick, it's important to pick the right wagers. Over time, roulette players will always lose to the house so it's vital to stick to a set staking plan and spread your bets wisely.

It's also key to pick the right variant. European roulette has fewer wagers to choose from but also offers a lower house edge. Stake more on the outside bets like red/black and bet lower on harder-to-hit bets like straight up and corners. Then you are in the hands of a better chance.