Roulette House Edge: Knowing can help you gain the upper hand

When you start out playing roulette on the internet, you might wonder how online casino sites make their money. With all the great deposit bonuses these sites have on offer, how do these websites manage to turn a profit?

In the case of online roulette games, this profit comes in the form of the house edge. This is the average amount lost by a player over time, relative to the amount they bet.

House edge is a long-term thing

This does not mean that every single player who plays online roulette will lose an amount equivalent to the house edge. Runs of good luck can help you come out on top, while those who get unlucky may lose more than the house edge dictates they should lose on average.

The long-term aspect of house edge is not to be sniffed at. You may never play enough hands in your lifetime for things to average out, and this is why online casino sites have plenty of winning players.

Single zero vs double zero

The double zero on an American Roulette wheel increases the house edge compared to its European equivalent. Because there are 38 numbered slots instead of 37, and the payout on a straight-up bet is identical in both variations, there is more chance of a player losing a $10 straight-up bet in American Roulette with no extra payout to account for if they win.

The same goes for outside bets, with the double zero meaning there is more chance of bets such as red, black, odd or even losing on any one occasion. The house edge is higher in American Roulette, but the player has nothing extra to gain (compared to European Roulette) if their bet comes in.

House edge on straight-up bets

In European Roulette, a player is paid out 35:1 on a winning straight-up bet, which has a one in 37 chance of coming in (the European wheel has the numbers 1-36 and the single zero). The house edge can be calculated by subtracting 36/37 (the 36 losing bets) from 35x(1/37), and this comes in at -0.027, or a house edge of 2.70%.

For American Roulette the calculation is slightly different. In this case you subtract 37/38 (incorporating the double zero) from 35x(1/38) to produce -0.0526 or a 5.26% house edge. You can see from this that the house edge in American Roulette is almost double that of European Roulette when it comes to straight-up bets.

Other bets

As with straight-up bets, the house edge on other inside and outside bets comes from the presence of the zero (and double-zero in American Roulette). However payouts on certain other bets are not always as precise, meaning the house edge can be higher than on straight-up bets.

The greatest house edge comes with the five-number bet (0, 00, 1, 2 and 3) unique to American Roulette, where the house edge comes in at a relatively large 7.89%. Some online roulette sites will on occasion only pay 34:1 on winning straight-up bets, increasing the house edge to 7.89% in this case as well. It will always benefit you to check the payouts before you start playing online roulette on any Canadian casino site.

Special rules in French Roulette

French Roulette, like European Roulette, has just one zero on the table. This means that the general house edge is 2.70%, however the special rules in this variation can bring the house edge down even further.

These are the La Partage rule, allowing the player to reclaim half their bet if the ball lands on zero, or the En Prison rule, which effectively allows the player to go double or quits on the following bet. French Roulette can be found at many online casino sites in Canada in 2024, and for both these rules the house edge comes down to just 1.35%.

House Edge Chart

More Guides

Why Play Free
Roulette Glossary
To The Top