Casino patrons seem to have an endless appetite for roulette. It's been a fixture on gaming floors everywhere since its introduction hundreds of years ago. Today, you can find it at just about every casino, both on- and offline.
Players love roulette because it allows them to step up to a gaming table and enjoy a social experience without having to learn complicated rules. It also has something to offer every type of bettor: those looking for huge wins can try for big payouts if a single number hits, while value-minded players can take outside bets that offer a reasonably small house edge.
The experience is a little different depending on whether you're playing online or offline. Online casino roulette offers some advantages that the offline version just can't match
The Player's Guide to Casino Roulette
This guide will compare online and offline casino roulette gameplay, bonuses, and comps. We'll also touch on the issue of cheating at both online and offline casinos.
Online vs Offline: Casino Roulette Gameplay Compared
The primary difference between online and offline casino roulette can be summed up in one word: convenience. It's much easier to find the table type and stakes you are seeking at online casinos, particularly if you're looking for high-limit roulette games or the more favorable European-style tables.
You don't have to worry about errantly placing your bet in the wrong spot. While the outside and single-number bets are self-explanatory, it can be very confusing if you want to bet on sequences of adjacent numbers. Most online casino gaming software shows you where to place your chips for each bet type.
You also won't be able to accidentally try to place a bet at the wrong time, something that can get you in trouble at a brick-and-mortar casino!
Nor do you have to worry about being crowded out of tables at online games. At a live casino, there is a limited amount of physical space at each table. Additionally, since each player is identified by their own set of colored chips, there can only be so many sets of chips (and hence so many players). Theoretically, an online roulette table can host an unlimited number of players. If it's a table that limits the number of concurrent players, it's usually no problem for the online casino to open a new table if one is full.
Online vs Offline: Casino Roulette Comps Compared
Roulette comps at brick-and-mortar casinos are unpredictable. First of all, casino policies are not consistent. Some will exclude the more favorable bet types from comps, or give scanty comps to all outside bets. It's difficult to know because it's all at the whim of pit bosses who watch the games. Even if you're betting (and losing) large amounts on a single number, you have to count on a pit boss noticing and deciding to give you a full rating.
The digital systems of online casinos take a whole lot of guesswork and uncertainty out of the process. You can usually surmise the casino's roulette comp policy right up front, and you can be sure that all of your wagering action is being tracked accurately.
Online vs Offline: Casino Roulette Bonuses Compared
Land-based casinos do frequently give out small amounts of free play, but they most often limit it to machines. Some limit it exclusively to particular types of slot machines. At many casinos, the only way to apply your bonus amounts to roulette is to hope the casino has video roulette machines on the floor and allows free play to be used at them.
Online casinos more frequently allow bonus amounts to be used at roulette since the house edge is significant. You should check each casino's bonus policy before committing money to it, as there are some that exclude certain outside bets from bonus playthrough requirements. For the most part, however, you can expect that your roulette play will contribute to bonus requirements and that you'll be able to use bonus funds at the table.
Do Casinos Cheat at Roulette?
Tight regulation and oversight mean land-based casinos can't get away with cheating at roulette. Even a rogue croupier or pit boss would have a difficult time pulling it off.
People sometimes worry about the roulette at online casinos, since software handles the results of each spin. The programs are stored on remote servers and cannot be seen by the player. Some people believe that this makes it too easy for online casinos to rig the results of each spin.
It is unlikely that a reputable online casino would ever attempt this. It makes no sense for them to do so, for several different reasons:
First, casinos consistently make money from roulette without having to cheat. Every bet in roulette favors the house, some much more than others. At an American table, the worst bet is the “first five,” which gives the house an edge of 7.89%. All other bets at an American table have a house edge of 5.26%. Combine that with tight caps on single-number bet maximums, and casinos always make a decent profit off of their roulette tables. Even the 2.7% advantage for the bets at most European tables brings in more money than casinos expect to make off of blackjack, video poker, and the most conservative craps bets.