One of the primary reasons that casinos love technology is due to the way it helps their bottom line. They’ve been able to automate tasks that once required multiple employees to complete. Perhaps the best—or at least most obvious—example is the once ubiquitous ‘change girl’. Not only are ‘change girls’ a thing of the past but you’ll have a hard time finding machines that even take coins at all in many jurisdictions.

That’s also the case with roulette—one of the more ‘labor intensive’ games in the casino. Many properties, particularly in the United States are either replacing or supplementing their ‘traditional’ roulette offerings with ‘video roulette’. Depending on the equipment used, the ‘house’ is able to reduce the number of employees need to operate the ‘video roulette’ system to one at the most and in some cases zero.


In most setups, the game plays exactly the same regardless of whether ‘analog’ or video equipment is used. The typical roulette layout should be familiar to even non-gamblers due to its frequent use on television and in the movies. A long felt-covered table with numbers and colors indicating various bet types takes up the majority of the floor space. At the end of the table (or in the middle, which you’ll see at some European casinos) there is a wheel with 37 or 38 numbered slots (‘US version’ wheels have an extra ’00’ while European wheels have a single ‘0’). The croupier spins the wheel at tosses in a ball. Momentum keeps the ball spinning along the rim of the wheel at first until gravity takes over and it falls into one of the numbered slots.

Video roulette takes a variety of different formats. In some cases, a remote ‘live dealer’ is used to operate the wheel via a video feed. The betting process is done automatically with a video screen similar to a video poker or video keno interface. In other cases, everything is animated and automated—including the wheel and betting layout. This is true not only at online casinos but in land-based casinos as well. Some casinos use a video roulette system where there is a big roulette wheel at the center of a number of betting stations. This preserves the social aspect of the traditional game while affording the casino the advantage of lower labor costs.

The primary reason that casinos like the video version is lower overhead but there are advantages for the player as well. Again, there are a number of different manufacturers that make this equipment but depending on the specifics the game can be easier to understand and keep track of. Assuming that the player understands the concept of a random number generator (RNG) he will be much more confident that the wheel is on the ‘up and up’ and not modified to favor the house. The game also moves and ‘flows’ faster—it takes time for even the most experienced and professional croupier to pay off bets but with a video betting terminal, this is completely automated. Of course, increasing the speed of play is actually more of a benefit for the ‘house’ but its one that players enjoy as well. No one enjoys the inevitable ‘downtime’ between bets in table games and the video roulette setup helps eliminate these delays.


In most cases, the rules and strategy are the same regardless of whether you’re playing on an analog or a video-based wheel. There are a few exceptions that we’ll discuss in a subsequent article but these notwithstanding you should be able to learn ‘the ropes’ in roulette and play the game effectively no matter whether you’re doing so at a traditional table with an ‘analog’ wheel or at a ‘video roulette’ betting terminal. In theory, it’s not just the strategies are the same—the various payout probabilities and house ‘hold’ percentages should also be the same.