What’s the Difference Between American & European Roulette?

Did you know that you have a better chance of winning at one particular type of Roulette? Find out here which Roulette game you should be playing.

Roulette is a table game that’s been around for centuries in one form or another. There are two key elements: a wheel and a table. The numbers on the wheel correspond to what’s on the table and vice versa. Your aim is to bet on where the ball will land on the spinning wheel.

Because you can bet on numbers, groups of numbers, or colours, it’s possible to be general or specific with your predictions. The point here is that you’re aiming to choose the bet on the right section of the wheel and win a prize.

That, in a nutshell, is roulette. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing American roulette, European roulette or a novel variant such as multi-wheel roulette. At their core, all variants follow the same fundamental structure and premise. So why do we need to learn about each of them individually?

Great question. Even though all roulette variants have the same underlying structure, they also have some significant differences. Some of those differences depend on where the variant originates from. Traditionally, roulette was different in the US than it was in Europe.

Now, thanks to the internet, the American vs. European roulette divide has been bridged. In other words, you can play both variants from anywhere in the world. However, there are some important differences you need to know. And without choosing sides in this American/European roulette debate, you need to know why Euro games are, in some respects, better.

European & American Roulette Odds Differences

What is the difference between American and European roulette? We can answer this in a few ways, but it all comes down to roulette odds. The house edge, which is the casino’s advantage (i.e. your disadvantage) varies between the two games. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s enough to make one variant better, statistically speaking, than the other.

Based on the theoretical house edge for each game, you stand a better chance of winning when you play European roulette. When you look at American roulette vs. European roulette on a statistical level, you get the following:

  • European Roulette House Edge = 2.7%
  • American Roulette House Edge = 5.26%

Based on these stats, the house has a greater advantage when you play American roulette vs. its European counterpart. However, this doesn’t mean you will win more often in a single session or even a handful of sessions.

Roulette odds and house edge are statistical averages. That means, overall, you’re at a smaller disadvantage when you play European vs. American roulette. But just because something is better on average, that doesn’t mean every session will be better.

You could play American roulette once and win 10X your stake. Similarly, you could lose 11X your stake in a single session of European roulette. However, if you played the European variant for eternity, the house edge suggests that you’d lose less overall.

European vs. American Roulette Wheel Layouts

So we know the difference between American and European roulette on a statistical level. Specifically, we know European roulette has a lower house edge. Why? What causes one to have a lower house edge?

The answer is the wheel. When you look at an American vs. European roulette wheel, you’ll see that one contains more numbers than the other. The difference is subtle but, in terms of roulette odds, it’s important.

American vs. European Roulette Wheel: The Facts

  • A European roulette wheel has 37 numbers that run from 0 to 36
  • An American roulette wheel has 38 numbers running from 0 to 36 + 00

The addition of 00 on an American roulette wheel means there’s an extra number in play and, therefore, another place the ball can land. That’s great news if you like options because you’ll have 38 numbers to choose from instead of 37.

The statistical discrepancy between American/European roulette games comes when you look at the payouts. The payout for a straight up bet (i.e. a bet on a single number) in European roulette is 35:1. Even though American roulette has one extra number, the maximum payout for straight up bets is also 35:1.

The fact payouts remain the same, regardless of whether there are 37 or 38 numbers on the wheel, causes a discrepancy in the odds. We don’t need to list them all, but the table below demonstrates how the addition of one number without changing the payouts can affect the odds for American vs. European roulette:

BetAmerican Odds (Chance of Hitting)European Odds (Chance of Hitting)
Straight Up2.6%2.7%
Two-Number Split5.3%5.4%
Red/Black, Odd/Even, High/Low47.37%48.65%

What we’re getting at with this breakdown of an American roulette wheel vs. a European wheel is that you have a better chance of hitting numbers on the latter. Again, because of the way odds and probability work, you could open an American roulette game and hit Red 10 times in 20 spins. You could open a European game and hit Red 8 times in 20 spins.

This is entirely possible in a single session. This is entirely possible over the course of 100 sessions. However, if you played 100,000 sessions or more, you’d probably see European roulette edge ahead. Probabilities are long-term statistics, so that’s how you need to view them.

Popular European & American Roulette Games

Both American roulette and European roulette come in variants you can play online. If you want to play American roulette, we’ve got tables just focused on that variant.

But European roulette is used as the basis for novel variants such as Quantum and Multi-ball. If you want to try non-traditional variants like the ones listed below, then you’ll be using the European format:

  • 10p Roulette
  • Roulette Silver
  • Realistic Roulette
  • Turbo Roulette
  • Spin & Win Roulette
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire Roulette
  • Slingshot Roulette
  • Spread Bets Roulette


What is the difference between American and European roulette?

The main differences between American and European roulette are the house edge and odds. The house edge is lower in European roulette (2.7% vs. 5.26%), which means the odds for your bet are better.

Can you play American roulette and European roulette online?

Yes! You don’t have to engage in the American vs. European roulette debate if you don’t want to because you can play both variants online. As well as free roulette games, you can play for cash prizes on over a dozen roulette tables at Clubhouse Casino.

Is online roulette fair?

Yes. All online roulette games are tested and certified as fair by third-party agencies. This means every game you play, regardless of whether it’s American or European roulette, is 100% fair and safe.