The House Edge in Roulette


Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world, but it is not nearly as popular in America as slot machines, video poker, blackjack, or craps. In Europe, however, it is a mainstay of Monte Carlo casinos and draws huge crowds. The game is based on luck alone and the bettors place their chips on a designated roulette table in hopes that their number will come up once the wheel stops spinning.

The dealer spins the wheel in one direction and then rolls a small ball around a tilted circular track that runs around the edge of the wheel. The ball stops in one of the slots and if a player made a bet on that number, section, or color, they are rewarded with their betting odds. The croupier then removes the winning chips and re-allocates them to other players.

There are several types of roulette bets, and each has its own house edge. Inside bets (on the numbered portion of the table) have a higher house edge than outside bets, but they offer much higher payouts. Outside bets (on the high-low, odd-even, red-black, or first-second-third dozen) have a lower house edge but smaller payouts. The house edge can vary depending on the type of roulette wheel and the bets that are placed, but it is always a percentage of the total bet amount. This makes it important to know which bet types have the highest probability of success before placing your chips. A simple strategy can make the difference between a losing bet and a winning one. The house edge can be lowered further by the “La Partage” rule, which splits even-money bets between the player and the casino.