Roulette originated in France in the 17th century and although there have been some variations introduced over the years with regard to the numbers on the wheel and table layout, online roulette as it’s played today is essentially the same. It’s a fast-paced game that’s easy to learn, although it does also lend itself to some complex wagering strategies, of which there are many. There are three different versions of the game that can be played online as well as in land-based casinos in New Zealand.

You can play roulette online at any of our recommended online casinos, where you can also try out the game for free.

Online roulette rules

Although it’s faster online (you don’t have to wait for other players to place their bets, for instance), the way the game is played at the online casinos we recommend is largely the same as the rules that are applied across the world.

A winning spin in when you correctly wager which pocket on a wheel a spinning ball comes to rest in. The wheel will have either 37 or 38 pockets (depending on which variation you’re playing); the 0 pocket (and 00 where applicable) is green, with the remainder being alternately red or black.

The table has the numbers 1 – 36 laid out in sequential order, starting at the wheel and set out in twelve rows of three (0 is at the very top, closest to the wheel). On most online tables, the numbers are alternately red and black, corresponding to their colour on the wheel.

Online roulette odds

The odds and payouts are a reflection of the probability of any given wager being successful. As an example, when you bet on a single number coming up, there is a 1 in 37 chance of this happening and so the payout is 35-1; in contrast, when you make a colour bet, the payout is only 1-1, as the chance of a ball landing in either a red or black pocket is 18 out of 37. Understanding these odds is important in deciding what type of bet you want to make.

Players can make either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ bets; these terms refer to bets that are made on numbers, or bets that are made on categories.

There are five types of inside bet that can be made, depending on whether you’re betting just on a single number or a combination of numbers. Inside bets offer greater odds because they are less likely to occur, while a bet on a single number will offer a larger payout than a bet on a number combination. The five types of inside bet are:

  • Straight up – this is a bet on a single number, made by placing your chip directly on that number (pay out 35-1).
  • Split – this is a bet on two adjacent numbers, made by pacing your chip on the dividing line between the two (pays out 17-1).
  • Street – this is a bet on all three numbers in a row, made by placing your chip on the outermost vertical line of the last number in that row (pays out 11-1).
  • Square (also known as Corner) – this is a bet on all four adjacent numbers that together form a square, made by placing your chip at the intersection point of the four numbers (pay out 8-1).
  • Six Line – this is a bet on two adjacent rows of numbers, made by pacing your chip on the outermost intersection of the two rows (pay out 5-1).

The five types of outside bet are:

  • Colour – this a bet on the number that is hit being either red or black, made by placing your chip in the red or black box at the table’s perimeter (pay out 1-1).
  • Odd or Even – this a bet on the number that is hit being either odd or even, made by placing your chip in the odd or even box at the table’s perimeter (pay out 1-1).
  • 1 to 18, 19 to 36 – this is a bet on the number that is hit being either 18 and below, or 19 and above, made by placing your chip on the 1 to 18 or 19 to 36 box at the table’s perimeter (pay out 1-1).
  • First 12, Second 12, Third 12 – this is a bet on the number that is hit being either 1–12, 13–24 or 25–36, made by placing your chip in the First 12, Second 12 or Third 12 box at the table’s perimeter (pay out 2-1).
  • Column – this is a bet on the number that is hit being in a particular column on the table, made by placing your chip in the box that reads 2-1 at the foot of the column you want to bet on (pay out 2-1).

It is the number 0 (or 00 when applicable) in roulette that creates the House Edge, the statistical advantage that the casino has over players. In games with 0, the House Edge is 2.63%; the addition of 00 makes it 5.26%. Although this is not the worst House Edge, there are a number of lower ones, such as blackjack, some video poker games, three-card poker, some baccarat variations, some bets in craps, and the gamble feature in online pokies.

Variations of online roulette

There are three main variations of the game played at our online casinos – European, French and American. The way the game is played is the same, with the main difference being the number of pockets on the wheel and the layout of the table, each of which has an effect on the odds and pay outs.

European roulette is the game most often found in our listed casinos, with a wheel that has 37 pockets – a single 0 and the numbers 1 – 36. French roulette has the same number of pockets on the wheel and the single 0 (although the numbers on the table itself are the same colour, rather than alternating red and black). The main difference is the inclusion of the la partage and en prison rules; in the former, if 0 comes up players who have placed colour, odd/even, 1-18 or 19-36 bets get half their stake back instantly; in the latter, the half stake is held over for the next spin and if it then wins, it’s returned. You can also make a wager called finales in French roulette, where can you bet on all the numbers that end in the same digit (e.g., 3, 13, 23, 33).

American roulette introduced the 00 into the game, meaning that the wheel has 38 pockets, as the 0 is retained, as are the numbers 1-36. It is the inclusion of 00 that significantly alters the House Edge to the casino’s advantage in the American version.

Five online roulette tips

Be cautious of ‘strategies’

Remember that a roulette strategy is about wagering and managing your bankroll, and is not a ‘system’ for beating the casino. There is no way of predicting or affecting the outcome of any spin of the wheel, nor is the probability of any number coming up affected by what has gone before, so beware of searching for patterns as well.

The value of inside and outside bets

Understanding the different odds and payouts of the two main types of bet is crucial to being able to manage your bankroll successfully when you play roulette online. Deciding which style of bet you prefer will be a reflection of your approach to risk and reward.

Know the roulette variations

As discussed above, the introduction of 00 into the American version of the game has a significant impact on the House Edge, more than doubling it, so bear this in mind when you select a game.

Live dealer roulette

Live games give you the best of both worlds – the convenience of playing at home or on your mobile when you’re out and about, combined with interaction with the dealer (and sometimes other players). Most of our recommended sites also offer Immersive Roulette, which gives you additional camera angles and information on the game, increasing player engagement.

Play free online roulette

Visit any of our recommended sites to take advantage of the opportunity to play the game for free in demo mode. This will enable you to see the pace of the game for yourself, as well as giving you a chance to experiment with inside and outside bets, or to implement a roulette strategy on wagering that works for you, without it costing you anything.

Bottom line

The simple game rules, variety of bets and fast-paced action are three strong appeals of online roulette. You have a range of options before you on every spin of the wheel, so the game is never dull, while live games add an extra layer of engagement through enhanced vision and the opportunity to interact with others.

Visit our recommended online roulette casinos to enjoy all the different varieties of the game, or take the opportunity to play free online roulette.