When it comes to the origin of one of the most popular casino games ever, the truth is that this part of its history is shrouded with the veil of mystery as many nations and people have been accredited for its invention. No one really knows who invented roulette and it is a common belief that the modern game is probably a result of many embodiments of the game as it moved around the world.

Chinese Invention?

Some game historians trace the origins of roulette to ancient China where people used to play a game with a stone spinning wheel with animals drawn on it. In the middle of the stone wheel, the number 666 was inscribed which, surprisingly enough, is the outcome when all numbers of the modern roulette wheel are added together. The rumour goes that these animal symbols were changed into number symbols by the Dominican monks who took this game with them on their travels to Europe.

Roman Wheel of Fortune

The search for the answer of who invented roulette takes us to ancient Rome where commanders tried to keep the troops’ morale by allowing them to entertain themselves by playing gambling games. One such game included spinning a chariot wheel or a shield similarly to the modern Wheel of Fortune game.

The French Connection

It is widely accepted that the French mathematician Blaise Pascal was the inventor of the modern roulette wheel around 1655, during his attempts to create a perpetual motion device. In addition to this, the name of the game comes from the French word roulette, meaning “little wheel”. Whatever the truth is, it is certain that the game became widely popular after the French Revolution and since the late 18th century it is played in a way that is very similar to French roulette played today. Although we may never find out who invented roulette, one thing is for sure – the French made it popular.

Worldwide Popularity

At the beginning of the 19th century, the game has already travelled to Russia and Turkey and it reached the shores of England. One of the most important addition happened in this century when a zero was added on the wheel by two Frenchmen, Louis and Francois Blanc, and this increased the house edge. After the French banned gambling, Francois Blanc opened a casino in Monte Carlo and turned roulette into one of the most popular games in the casino.

French immigrants, escaping France since the beginning of the revolution, introduced the game in Louisiana which was then considered to be the gambling capital of the recently formed United States. Casino operators in the USA added the double zero pocket to the European wheel to improve odds in the house’s favour. In some casinos, instead of the double zero, there was a picture of an American eagle, but soon, this was changed and the wheel features only numbered pockets.

To conclude, no one really knows who invented roulette, but this shouldn’t keep you from finding yourself a roulette table and trying your luck and enjoying the thrill of the game.