Many people credit the brothers Louis and Francois Blanc as the inventors of roulette. The myth goes that they sold their soul to the devil to know the secret of the game. What do they proffer as proof for this theory – the sum of the numbers on the roulette wheel is 666. But some people believe that the game started thousands of years ago – maybe in Persia or maybe in China. There is no definite history that one can come up with.
But it is generally believed that it was the famous mathematician of France Blaise Pascal who came up with the first form of roulette as he was searching for an ideal machine having perpetual motion. This happened sometime in the 18th century. The reference to roulette was actually found earlier in 1758 in the regulations for Quebec and then in the novel La Roulette, ou le Jou by Jaques Lablee. It was actually in France where the game seems to have originated and then it spread to the other countries of the world.
As far as modern roulette is concerned one must credit Louis and Francois Blanc for their popularity. After they introduced single zero roulette wheel in 1843 in Homburg in Germany they later on moved to Monte Carlo in the 1860s when the German government abolished gambling. It was here in Monte Carlo where the game caught like wildfire and started attracting some of the most famous names worldwide who came to play in the casinos here.
The popularity of roulette in the United States of America moved up the River Mississippi. The French version became popular first but the American roulette wheel suddenly had three extra slots – one for single zero, one for double zero and for the American Eagle. While the eagle disappeared after sometime the slots for single zero and double zero stayed. This wheel continues to be used in the USA even today while Europe continues to use the roulette wheel with just a single zero.
The name roulette comes from French for "little wheel". From the time it was introduced as a casino game it became immensely popular and remains one of the most popular casino games even today. Whether you go to Monte Carlo or Las Vegas you will find the most number of gamblers around the roulette table. And till the time people continue to gamble roulette will remain the game of choice worldwide.