The origins of roulette are not well documented. French
mathematician Blaise Pascale is often credited with inventing the roulette
wheel as a result of his experiments with perpetual motion machines. One
theory is that it derived from an old English game called roll it. A game
called even-odd, which is played on a spinning wheel, is another contender,
however it is most likely that roulette evolved over time from a combination
In 1842, Frenchman Francois and Lois Blanc devised roulette
with a single zero. Gaming was illegal in France at that time, but this new
version was soon introduced in Hamburg, Germany, where it replaced an
earlier version of roulette with two zeros.
When gaming started in Monte Carlo, Francois and his son
Camille introduced their version using one zero and a haphazard arrangement
of numbers, which became extremely popular in European casinos where it is
still played today.
In the early 1800s the two-zero version of roulette arrived
in America. It flourished in the saloons in the Old West during the
California gold rush and Nevada silver era, when fortunes would be won or
lost on the spin of the wheel. In American roulette, the numbers on the
wheel are arranged in a more random fashion than is the case in Europe.
The significance of the extra zero is that it gives the
house (the casino) a larger advantage, equivalent to twice that on the
single-zero European wheel. Modern American casinos play both versions of
Keno, the casino version of lotto, originated in China
nearly 2000 years ago when Cheung Heung devised a lottery as a way of
raising funds for his province's army. This proved to be a huge success and
even funded the building of the Great Wall of China.
Lotteries were brought to America in the 1800s by the
thousands of Chinese immigrants who worked in the mines and on the
railroads. With the establishment of Las Vegas, the game was quickly adapted
for casino play. Originally known as Chinese lottery, casinos throughout the
world now operate keno games.