Roulette is among the most popular casino games in the world because the rules are easy to follow and the payouts can be pretty big when a player gets lucky.
There are a few different Roulette variations available at both brick and mortar and online casinos across the US. For the most part, these games use either American and European wheels. There is only one small difference between the two, but it has a major impact on the game’s house edge and its return to player rate (RTP).
French and European Roulette is played with a wheel consisting of 37 numbered slots. That means just a single green zero.
American Roulette is played with a wheel consisting of 38 numbered slots, including both a green zero and green double zero.
It may seem like just a small change, but the addition of the double zero slot does have a major impact on your odds of winning. In fact, on average the house edge almost doubles. This means less of the money bet on an American Roulette wheel ends up back in the hands of players.
The basic Roulette house edge
In fact, the house edge for American Roulette is typically 5.26 percent, giving the game a theoretical RTP of 94.74 percent.
That means PA casinos return just $94.74 of every $100 bet on American Roulette back to players.
The house edge for European Roulette is typically 2.7 percent, giving the game a theoretical RTP of 97.3 percent.
As a result, whether you’re playing roulette in a PA casino or PA online casino, the best strategy is to choose European or French Roulette over American Roulette.
The difference between French and European Roulette is the French game’s use of the La Partage rule. This means the casino returns half of any bet on red or black back to the player when the green zero hits.
It’s a rule that’s advantageous to players making this otherwise 50/50 bet. Therefore, online Roulette players in PA should really be seeking out the French version of the game where it is offered.
PA Roulette rules
Other than that, the basic rules of Roulette are pretty much the same no matter which game you choose or where you play it.
The colors of the numbered slots vary between red and black.
Players place bets on a number, groups or range of numbers, and red or black. The wheel spins and a small ball rolls inside the wheel in the opposite direction. The slot where the ball lands determines the outcome of all the bets.
At PA online casinos, the graphic interface used to replace the physical wheel and ball make it look like the same game you find inside a brick and mortar casino. For the most part, it is, except a computerized random number generator determines the outcome instead of an actual wheel.
For anyone watching or playing, it all looks the same. The difference is there’s a random number generator doing all the work behind the scenes online.
The truth is that the lack of a physical wheel or ball makes the outcome of an online Roulette wheel spin even more random. The wheels used at brick and mortar casinos may have slight flaws that produce patterns.
The job of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is to rigorously test both the random number generators used by PA online casinos and wheels used by PA casinos to make sure both are producing random results.
Alternative PA online Roulette games
The PGCB may allow PA online casinos to run online Roulette games with different rules than typical American, French, or European Roulette.
Players should be aware that even the smallest change to the wheel can have a dramatic effect on a Roulette game’s house edge, and adjust accordingly.
Possible alternative PA online Roulette games may include:
- Roulette Royale – A French Roulette variant offering additional side bets
- Three Wheel Roulette – European Roulette using three wheels and offering additional side bets
- Double Bonus Spin Roulette – American Roulette with an additional and larger yellow wheel slot offering a bonus game when the ball lands there
- Double Ball Roulette – American or European Roulette using two balls, varied odds, and alternative bets
Where to play Roulette online in PA
All of the PA online casino sites planning to launch in 2023 will likely be offering Roulette eventually. But for now, only Hollywood and Parx will be online as of the opening day, July 15, 2019.
Here’s a list of PA online casino operations already approved by the PGCB:
- Mount Airy/PokerStars
- Sands Bethlehem
- Valley Forge
- Presque Isle Downs
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
Is Roulette better online?
When it comes to gameplay, there isn’t much of difference between playing online or live Roulette.
The reasons why playing Roulette at a PA online casino might be even better than doing it in person at a PA casino include:
- The convenience of playing from home
- Faster, more efficient, and accurate payouts online
- Increased online game variety
Is online Roulette rigged?
Since players can’t size up the physical wheel and ball the same way they might inside a brick and mortar casino, there are some who might suggest online Roulette in PA is somehow rigged. This is completely false.
The online casino Roulette games in PA are subject to rigorous testing by the PGCB. This makes them as safe and fair as any Roulette game you’ll find at a PA casino.
The PGCB licenses and regulates PA online casinos. As a result, these operators aren’t going to risk trouble with the PGCB. They don’t want the fines, suspensions, or the loss of a license that’s likely to come. They’re thinking big picture.
In fact, all PA online casinos are affiliated with brick and mortar casinos across the state or major US casino companies. This ensures a certain level of integrity. The names and reputations of the biggest players in US gambling are at stake here and none are going to be risking just to rig some online Roulette games.
As mentioned previously, PA online casinos will use computerized random number generators to determine the outcome of each Roulette wheel spin and the random number generators will be subject to PGCB testing.
Security will also be in place at sites to make sure the technology cannot be tampered with.
Many players have found great success tracking the results of physical Roulette wheels in play at PA casinos. Every wheel is different and tracking can help you find tendencies if you watch long enough. Most casinos even help, listing the recent history of results on boards right there for all to see.
Unfortunately, wheel tracking is a complete waste of time at PA online casinos. Random number generators are random. No matter how much you watch you’re not likely to find any kind of pattern emerging.
As mentioned previously, the top strategy for playing Roulette should be avoiding American Roulette wheels.
That said, there are several betting strategies that can also be employed online that may possibly help you increase profitability. These include:
- Martingale (progression) – Doubling the amount you bet after every loss hoping you’ll win the initial bet by winning a single hand before you run out of money or reach the table’s maximum bet.
- Paroli (progression) – Increasing your bet after every win so you are playing with the house’s money.
- Hi-Lo, Medium, Slow – Pick a few high or low numbers, then bet the same amount on the opposite High or Low wager in an effort to break even when your numbers don’t come in and give away only a small percentage of your profits when they do.