The Difference Between European and American Roulette


Roulette is a casino game that has been around since the late 19th century, yet it has evolved into two distinct styles – European and American. In both cases, the game is a thrilling casino experience, whether at a land-based or live casino in Singapore, with a spinning wheel, fast-paced betting, and a chance to win big!

Although the differences between these two roulette variants may be minor, they are important to know before playing roulette online or at a traditional casino.

Number of Pockets

European and American roulette tables differ in the number of pockets on the wheel. The pockets are the areas where the roulette ball can land.

In European roulette wheels, the total number of compartments on the wheel is 37. These generally consist of the numbers 1 through 36 and one single zero. Meanwhile, the American roulette wheel has a total of 38 pockets, consisting of the numbers 1 through 36, a single zero, and a double zero.

Order of Numbers on Roulette Wheel

The order of the numbers on the wheel is also different in the two versions. On an American roulette wheel, the numbers are arranged in alternating red and black and are in consecutive order, with the double zero at the end of the sequence. In contrast, the numbers are in random order on a European roulette wheel, with the single zero at the end.

Bet Types

Both American and European roulette offers the same type of bets:

  • Straight-Up Bet – placed on any number from 1 to 36.
  • Split Bet – covers two numbers that are adjacent on the table layout but are not located next to one another on the roulette wheel.
  • Street Bet – covers three consecutive numbers on the roulette table layout.
  • Square Bet – covers four adjacent numbers on the roulette table layout.
  • Six Line Bet – covers six consecutive numbers on the table layout.
  • Column Bet – covers an entire column consisting of 12 numbers.
  • Dozen Bet – covers definite groups of 12 numbers; the 1st Dozen covers numbers 1 through 12; the 2nd Dozen covers 13 to 24; the 3rd Dozen covers 25 through 36.
  • Red/Black Bet – allows players to bet on whether the ball will end up in a red or black pocket on the roulette wheel. 
  • Odd/Even Bet – allows players to bet on whether the ball will end up on an odd or even number.
  • High/Low Bet – allows players to bet on whether the ball will and on a high or low number pocket.

But, aside from the common roulette bets, both European and American roulette variants have additional bet types.

In American roulette, players can place a “five number bet,” which allows them to bet on five consecutive numbers. The possible number combination they can bet on is 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3, and to win this bet, the ball must fall on any of the five numbers.

Meanwhile, “call bets” are available in European roulette. These are special bets that cover sections of the roulette wheel, and generally do not require chips to be placed on the table. There are three fixed call bets and two variable call bets.

Fixed call bets cover the same sections of the roulette wheel:

  • Voisins du Zero – covers 17 numbers that are closest to the 0 on the wheel (0, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35). It uses a combination of split, 3 number, and corner bets.
  • Tiers du Cylindre – covers 12 numbers on the opposite side of the wheel to the Voisins du Zero numbers (5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36). This type of call bet uses only split bets.
  • Orphelins – covers the remaining eight numbers that have not been covered in the other two fixed call bet types (1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, 34).

Meanwhile, variable call bets cover different sections on the roulette wheel:

  • Neighbours – covers one number chosen by the player, together with the two numbers that lay on both sides of that number on the wheel.
  • Final – covers numbers that end in a digit chosen by the player. This means that this variable call bet type does not cover a continuous section of the roulette wheel.

House Edge

European and American roulette also have differing house advantage/edge. House edge refers to the percentage advantage that the casino has over players. This can make a difference in the game’s profitability.

The house edge in all bet types available in European roulette is constant and generally stands at 2.70 per cent. On the other hand, the house edge in American roulette is higher than its counterpart’s. This is due to the added zero space in the roulette table layout.

As players have a higher chance of landing on a zero space in American roulette, the house edge increases significantly. House edge for most roulette bet types stands at 5.26 per cent and 6.89 per cent for five number bets.


American roulette generally does not have any different rules from the standard rules of roulette betting. On the contrary, only European roulette has an additional rule: the En Prison rule. It is an optional rule that some casinos offer and applies to a bet on Even Money.

The basic idea behind the En Prison rule is that if the result of a spin yields zero, the player is allowed to have their bet left on the table for the next spin. If the next spin results in the same even money bet, the player receives the bet back without any winnings. Consequently, the player loses the initial bet if the next spin yields a different outcome.

RTP Rates

The return-to-player (RTP) rate is the percentage of money or prizes that will be returned to a player over time. In European roulette, the RTP rate for all bet types is 97.30 per cent. In contrast, the RTP rate in American Roulette bet types varies. The RTP rate for the common bet types is 94.74 per cent; meanwhile, the five number bet only has a 92.11 per cent RTP rate.

Although the difference is minor, it can make a big difference in terms of profitability over the long run.


Roulette is a casino game of chance and luck, but understanding the differences between European and American roulette variants can help players make the right choice when it comes to the variation they choose to play. By taking into account the layout differences, house edge, rules, bet types, and RTP rates, roulette players can make an informed decision and increase their chances of winning.

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READ MORE: Roulette Betting: Rules, Bet Types, and Strategies in Roulette

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