The Differences Between European Roulette and American Roulette

There are quite a few distinguishing factors between European and American roulette. Some of the differences regard to the rules governing play while others relate to the actual wheel and board. Regardless of the differences, European and American roulette are very similar and the differences really only make the game better for the house in the American version and better for the players in the European version. The following differences are what separate American roulette from European roulette and are worth taking note of for players who may play both.


European roulette and American roulette are very similar except for one identifying difference, the 00. American roulette has a 38 number wheel, 0, 00, and 1-36 while the European roulette wheel has 37 number wheel with 0 and 1-36. The rest of the wheel and layout is the same with alternating colors black and red.


The payouts for bets are the same in American and European roulette. The only difference with payouts is the extra bet on 00 and the additional bet that may be made. For example, the corner European bet that is usually on numbers 0, 1, 2, 3 is 00, 0, 1, 2, 3 on the American roulette wheel. This bet pays 6-1 and is called the basket bet.


American roulette tables offer additional house edge to the casino. It’s a big difference, too, which is why it is best for players to play European roulette when available. An American roulette table with the 00 has a house edge of 5.26% while European roulette tables with the single 0 have only a 2.70% house edge. It’s surprising to players to realize the huge difference in house edge between American and European versions. However, as more players are becoming aware of this the demand for European style roulette in American casinos is growing.


The chips or cheques are also different in the American and European version of roulette. At a US casino with American roulette tables players buy in and receive a stack of colored chips that are identifiable from the other players’ chips. This is important to keep bets separate and identify whose bets are whose. However, in Europe, all of the chips (cheques) are the exact same color and the players’ memories are the only thing that keeps the players’ bets straight.

En Prison

In European roulette the en prison rule is much more common than in the United States where it is rarely found. The en prison rule affects outside money bets and only comes into play when the ball lands on a 0 or 00, depending on the wheel used. The way the wager is handled depends on the casino. Some casinos will consider the wager lost while others will consider the wager to be “en prison”. For example, if you bet $10 on black and the ball lands on 0 then you have two options. You can lose half of your $10 bet or else you can go into prison (en prison). If you choose to lose half your bet you simply lose $5 of the $10 originally bet. If you choose to go to prison then a marker is placed on your bet that states “en prison.” Then, on the next spin several things could happen. Of course, the rules of the casinos vary, but in general if a 0 or 00 shows up on the subsequent spin you lose the entire $10 bet. In some casinos, you may be allowed to remain en prison. If you bet on red and the ball lands on black then you lose your $10 bet. However, if you bet on red and red appears then you keep your $10 bet and the “en prison” marker is removed by the croupier. Even money bets are handled in the same way. On a 0, even bets would go to prison and would get out if the next bet was even or lose the bet if the next spin was odd.

Casino Rules

While these are some of the general differences between American and European roulette it is important for players to realize these are not hard and fast rules that are going to appear in every single casino. The casinos have the right to create their own rules and method of play. That’s why it’s important to always double check the rules of a game before playing, even if you already know how to play, when visiting a new casino.