Differences Between American vs European Roulette

American & EU Roulette

  • American Roulette and European roulette are two similar yet very different games
  • The Roulette table layout and the roulette wheel changes in each version of the game
  • You should always choose the single zero roulette over the double zero wheels

No. More. Confusion. Do you want to know what is the real difference between American and European Roulette?

That's what you find on this guide.

Roulette is one of the most played Casino games, and such popularity comes (also) from the invention of many variants of the game.

The most popular versions are the American and European Roulette.

On this article, you find clear and easy to understand answers to questions like:

  • What do the American and European wheel have in common?
  • What is the difference between American and European Roulette?
  • What roulette strategy is best on American vs European Roulette?

The Main Difference Between American vs European Roulette

A quick look at the roulette table layouts and at each roulette wheel should be enough for you to notice the most important difference between American and European Roulette.

It doesn't matter whether you play roulette online or you are standing next to a roulette table at a brick-and-mortar casino.

The difference is subtle yet clear. And the same difference affects both the design of the wheel and the house edge.

The Difference in Roulette Wheels

The main critical point when it comes to understanding the difference between European and American Roulette is the differences between the roulette wheel layouts for the two versions of the game.

In this section of our guide, we’ll run through the different wheels and the impact this has on your potential payout when playing roulette online.

Roulette Wheel & Ball

The American Roulette Wheel

The American wheel has 38 pockets for the Roulette ball to rest in. Those are black and red numbers, from 1 to 36. And two extra green pockets for a single 0 (0) and a double 0 (00).

American Roulette Wheel & Table Layout
American Roulette Wheel & Table Layout

The European Roulette Wheel

If you glimpse at European Roulette, you will also see 36 numbered pockets that are either red or black. But only one green pocket for zero.

Also, you may notice that the numbers on the wheels are not in the exact same order. But that's a less relevant difference between European and American Roulette.

European Roulette Wheel & Table Layout
European Roulette Wheel & Table Layout

The main difference between an American and European Roulette wheel is the number of green pockets / zeroes. The European roulette wheel features one green pocket (0) whereas the American Roulette wheel (more popular in Las Vegas) features two of them: 0, 00.

The Difference in House Edge for European Roulette vs American Roulette

Although this subtle difference on the different roulette wheels may seem irrelevant, it is one that can have an enormous impact on the outcome of your games. In short, it impacts the house edge for the casino, and therefore the odds, and Return to Player (RTP) percentage.

What is House Edge?
Put simply, ‘house edge’ refers to the advantage that the casino has when you play a casino game. Each game, no matter what you choose, will have an in-built edge which is part of the product. This can tell you how often a game pays out, and is useful when comparing games.

In some games, when the odds are lower, the payouts are bigger. And that's logical, right?

But it's not the case with American Roulette.

Even with lower odds, for betting on the winning number you get paid the same - 35 to 1. Just like in European Roulette.

House Edge for American Roulette

The odds of winning when betting on particular numbers at American Roulette are lower. 1 in 38 compared to 1 in 37 when playing European Roulette.

Having that extra green pocket was not the American Roulette designer's whim. It was a strategic move for the house to have a higher edge.

All in all, when you play American Roulette, the House Edge is 5.26%. And that's a lot. In the case of European Roulette, the House Edge is only 2.7%.

The table below shows the odds, potential payouts, and RTP for each type of roulette bet – all based on a house edge of 5.26%:

Type of BetPayoutRTP
Straight up35 to 194.7%
Split17 to 194.7%
Basket11 to 194.7%
Street11 to 194.7%
Corner8 to 194.7%
Six Line5 to 194.7%
1st Column2 to 194.7%
2nd Column2 to 194.7%
3rd Column2 to 194.7%
1st Dozen2 to 194.7%
2nd Dozen2 to 194.7%
3rd Dozen2 to 194.7%
Odd1 to 194.7%
Even1 to 194.7%
Red1 to 194.7%
Black1 to 194.7%
1 to 181 to 194.7%
19 to 361 to 194.7%

House Edge for European Roulette

As mentioned, the house edge and odds for European Roulette are better for the player, compared to American Roulette. The house edge is a lot lower at 2.7%, and the odds of winning by betting on specific numbers is 1 in 37.

That's a huge difference, considering you are playing the same game, with exactly the same payouts, and the same level of excitement.

Here’s the same table but for European Roulette, and a house edge of 2.7%:

Type of BetPayoutRTP
Straight up35 to 197.3%
Split17 to 197.3%
Basket11 to 197.3%
Street11 to 197.3%
Corner8 to 197.3%
Six Line5 to 197.3%
1st Column2 to 197.3%
2nd Column2 to 197.3%
3rd Column2 to 197.3%
1st Dozen2 to 197.3%
2nd Dozen2 to 197.3%
3rd Dozen2 to 197.3%
Odd1 to 197.3%
Even1 to 197.3%
Red1 to 197.3%
Black1 to 197.3%
1 to 181 to 197.3%
19 to 361 to 197.3%

Which Variant of Roulette is Better – American or European?

Better odds, lower house edge… Do I need to spell it out?

Roulette Table & Chips

The difference between American and European Roulette may be subtle. But the odds make European Roulette a better option.

Don't get me wrong.

I am not saying you should never ever play American Roulette. If you put a good roulette strategy in place, you can lower the house edge significantly no matter which variant you play.

Plus, playing American or European Roulette for free doesn't make that much of a difference to your bankroll, does it?

And finally, there are more variants of European Roulette to try online. Don't limit yourself to only American or only European Roulette.

There are so many Roulette variants for you to choose from, that you can alternate between the games where you get better chances (European Roulette) and the ones you want to play to try something new.

For example, you can try the Double Ball Roulette (free, on this page) where you play with two balls at the same time. And you know what they say, "double the action, double the fun!"

Where to Play American and European Roulette Online

No matter which version of roulette you choose, you need a place to play it. And that should be a good place, too. Especially, if you want to play roulette for real money at an online casino.

Play Roulette with a Free Account
Play Roulette with a Free Account

Sign up at our recommended online casino with a free account.

Play Now

If you want to jump into playing American, European and other variations of roulette, take a look at the table below. We’ve included links to our recommended online casinos, plus the option of playing a demo roulette game for free:

Roulette GameDemoPlay
European Roulette GoldDemoPlay Game
European RouletteDemoPlay Game
Premier RouletteDemoPlay Game
Single-Zero RouletteDemoPlay Game
Premier Roulette Diamond EditionDemoPlay Game
RouletteDemoPlay Game
Astro RouletteDemoPlay Game
French RouletteDemoPlay Game
American RouletteDemoPlay Game
Chinese RouletteDemoPlay Game
Multi-Wheel RouletteDemoPlay Game
Common Draw RouletteDemoPlay Game
Zoom RouletteDemoPlay Game
VIP European RouletteDemoPlay Game
American RouletteDemoPlay Game
European RouletteDemoPlay Game
VIP American RouletteDemoPlay Game
3D RouletteDemoPlay Game

Differences between American & European Roulette FAQs

What is American Roulette?

American roulette is a popular casino game characterized by a roulette wheel with 38 pockets, including a single zero (0) and a double zero (00). Players bet on where a ball will land, with various betting options. The extra double zero increases the house edge compared to European roulette, impacting odds.

What is European Roulette?

European roulette is a classic casino game featuring a roulette wheel with 37 pockets, including a single zero (0). Players place bets on where a ball will land, wagering on individual numbers, colors, or odd/even outcomes. The absence of a double zero results in slightly better odds for players compared to American roulette.

What is the main difference between American and European roulette?

The main difference between American and European roulette is the number of pockets on the roulette wheel. American roulette wheels have 38 pockets, including a single zero (0) and a double zero (00), while European roulette wheels have 37 pockets, with only a single zero (0).

How do the differences in the American and European roulette wheels affect the odds?

The additional double zero (00) pocket on the American wheel increases the house edge compared to the European wheel. This means that in American roulette, the casino has a slightly higher advantage over players.

Do the betting options differ between American and European roulette?

The betting options are generally the same in both American and European roulette. You can place bets on individual numbers, groups of numbers, red or black, odd or even, and so on. The presence of the double zero in American roulette can affect some specific bets related to it.

Are there any strategies that work better for one variant over the other?

Basic roulette strategies, like the Martingale or Fibonacci systems, can be applied to both variants. However, due to the lower house edge, European roulette is generally considered more favorable for players who use betting systems.

Are there any other roulette variants besides American and European?

Yes, there are other roulette variants, such as French roulette, which is similar to European roulette but includes additional betting options and rules like "La Partage." There are also online roulette games with unique features and side bets.