European vs. American: RTP Differences in Roulette Casinos

Daniel White

Last updated 7.12.2023

European vs. American: RTP Differences in Roulette Casinos

The game of roulette, a cornerstone in casinos worldwide, is known for its distinct variations, most notably European and American Roulette.

These variations, while seemingly similar, diverge significantly in their Return to Player (RTP) rates, a key factor for players when choosing which game to play. 

Wheel Layout: The Determinant of RTP

European Roulette is one of the original versions of the game and is widely acclaimed for its player-friendly odds.

It boasts an RTP range between 97% and 99%, attributed to its 37 divisions on the wheel, which include numbers 1-36 and a single green zero (0). This contrasts starkly with American Roulette, which includes 38 numbers: 36 red and black, along with two green numbers (0 and 00).

RTP and Wheel Layout Comparison Table

VariationWheel LayoutNumber of DivisionsRTP RangeHouse Edge
European Roulette37 pockets, including numbers 1-36 and a single green zero (0)3797.3%2.7%
American Roulette38 divisions including numbers 1-36, 0, and 00. Alternately colored red and black with single zero and double zero marked in green.3894.74%5.26%

The addition of the double zero (00) in American Roulette is the single biggest difference between these two games, and it’s this extra number that significantly inflates the house edge from European Roulette’s 2.7% to a higher 5.26% in the American version.

RTP and Its Direct Correlation with House Edge

The direct relationship between RTP and the house edge is a fundamental aspect of understanding these roulette variants.

While the bets and payouts in both European and American Roulette are identical, the presence of an extra green number in the American version adversely affects the odds of winning.

Consequently, players aiming for higher winning chances are typically better off opting for European Roulette, which offers more favorable odds due to its lower house edge.

Understanding RTP in Roulette

Roulette’s Return to Player (RTP) is a foundational metric, representing the percentage of all wagered money a game will eventually pay back to players over time.

This fundamental concept in roulette gaming is critical in understanding the player’s statistical advantage or disadvantage.

Calculation of RTP in Roulette

The RTP in roulette is straightforward to calculate. For European roulette, the RTP is computed based on the expected value of each bet.

For example, a $1 straight-up bet’s expected value is calculated as the possible win multiplied by the chance of winning, which equates to $36 multiplied by 1/37, or approximately $0.973.

This calculation reveals that European Roulette typically offers an RTP of 97.3%, meaning that for every $1 wagered, the player statistically wins $0.973. Special rules in European roulette can sometimes increase this RTP, making certain bets less advantageous for the casino.

RTP Calculation Breakdown Table

VariationBet TypePossible WinChance of WinningRTP CalculationRTP Value
European RouletteRed/Black$218/37$2 x (18/37) = $36/3797.3%
European RouletteSplit$182/37$18 x (2/37) = $36/3797.3%
European RouletteColumn$312/37$3 x (12/37) = $36/3797.3%
European RouletteStraight-up$361/37$36 x (1/37) = $36/3797.3%
American RouletteRed/Black$218/38$2 x (18/38) ≈ $1.89594.74%
American RouletteSplit$182/38$18 x (2/38) ≈ $1.89594.74%
American RouletteColumn$312/38$3 x (12/38) ≈ $1.89594.74%
American RouletteStraight-up$361/38$36 x (1/38) ≈ $1.89594.74%
American RouletteTop Line (Five-Number bet)$75/38$7 x (5/38) = 35/38 ≈ 0.92192.1%

For American roulette, the calculation is similar, but the presence of an extra double zero (00) changes the dynamics. The RTP for American roulette is calculated by replacing 37 (the number of possible outcomes in European roulette) with 38, due to the extra zero.

This results in a lower RTP of 94.74% for American roulette, indicating that each game outcome is slightly less likely to occur than in the European version.

Notably, American roulette has a specific bet with an even lower RTP of 92.1%, influenced by the unique odds and payouts of the top line bet.

House Edge and Its Relation to RTP

The house edge in roulette is inversely related to the RTP. It can be calculated as 1 minus the RTP.

European roulette, with an RTP of 97.3%, has a house edge of 2.7%. In contrast, American roulette, with an RTP of 94.74%, has a higher house edge of 5.26%.

VariationRTPHouse EdgeLong-Term Player Return
European Roulette97.3%2.7%£97.30 for every $100 wagered
American Roulette94.74%5.26%£94.74 for every $100 wagered
Significance of RTP for Players

Understanding RTP is important for roulette players as it directly influences their gaming strategy and potential returns.

Players seeking advantageous gameplay often gravitate towards European roulette due to its higher RTP and lower house edge, offering a more favorable statistical outcome over time.

The Edge of European Roulette’s RTP

European Roulette, distinguished by its single zero wheel, offers players a statistical advantage with its RTP of 97.3%.

This high RTP is a result of the game’s design, which features 37 pockets, including numbers 1-36 and one green zero (0). This structure significantly reduces the house advantage compared to American Roulette, which includes an additional double zero pocket.

The Single Zero: A Game Changer

The presence of just one zero pocket on the European Roulette wheel is a defining feature that greatly influences the game’s RTP.

This single zero reduces the house edge to 2.7%, almost half of that in American Roulette, which stands at 5.26% due to the extra zero pocket.

For players, this means that for every coin bet in European Roulette, the expected loss over 37 spins is significantly lower compared to American Roulette, highlighting the favorable odds offered by the European variant.

Strategies to Maximize RTP Benefits

To leverage the advantageous RTP of European Roulette, players can employ various strategies:

  • The Martingale System: This strategy involves doubling the bet after a loss, aiming to recover previous losses and gain a small profit.
  • The Paroli System: This system suggests doubling the bet after a win, taking advantage of winning streaks.
  • Consistent Betting Strategy: Adhering to a specific betting pattern can help manage the game’s unpredictability.
  • Bankroll Management: Setting a betting limit and sticking to it is very important for long-term sustainability.
  • Outside Bets: Betting on Even/Odd or Red/Black offers better odds, aligning with the high RTP of European Roulette.

These strategies, combined with the inherent RTP advantage of European Roulette, provide players with a framework for potentially maximizing winnings and understanding the game structure.

European Roulette’s single zero significantly elevates its RTP, making it a more favorable option for players.

By understanding and utilizing strategies tailored to this high RTP, players can effectively engage with the game, enhancing their chances of success. 

American Roulette’s RTP and Its Implications

American Roulette, characterized by its double zero wheel, presents a unique set of odds and strategies due to its RTP of 94.74%.

The addition of the double zero slot not only increases the number of possible outcomes to 38 but also nearly doubles the house advantage compared to European Roulette, which has a house edge of 2.7%.

In American Roulette, the house edge escalates to 5.26%, reflecting a lower RTP and subsequently, a different playing dynamic.

Double Zero: Impact on RTP

The double zero in American Roulette is a game-changer. This extra slot on the wheel significantly lowers the game’s RTP to 94.74%, meaning that for every 100 units wagered, players can expect a return of 94.74 units.

While the RTP offers a theoretical orientation, in practice, the luck factor remains a fundamental element. Notably, the RTP in American Roulette is slightly lower than its European counterpart, necessitating adapted strategies for players engaging with this variant.

Adapting Strategies to American Roulette’s RTP

To mitigate the challenges posed by the lower RTP in American Roulette, players may consider several strategic approaches:

  • Martingale System: A popular strategy, particularly effective in high-stakes scenarios. Players double their bets after a loss, aiming to recover previous losses. Notably, this approach carries the risk of reaching the maximum betting limit, potentially leading to significant losses.
  • Paroli System: This positive progression system involves increasing stakes after a win and reverting to the original bet after a loss. Suitable for low-stakes players, it requires players to take profits after three consecutive wins.
  • D’Alembert System: A more conservative approach than Martingale, this strategy involves increasing bets by the initial investment after a loss and maintaining the same bet amount after a win. This strategy is beneficial for players with smaller bankrolls.
  • Fibonacci System: Based on the famous numerical sequence, this strategy entails increasing stakes according to the Fibonacci pattern during a losing streak. It is designed to balance the playing field and reduce the impact of the house edge.
  • James Bond Strategy: A more complex strategy, involving dividing bets into three parts to cover a significant portion of the betting table. This approach is more suited for players looking to cover more numbers and is less reliable than other strategies.

American Roulette’s structure, prominently featuring the double zero, results in a distinctively lower RTP compared to European Roulette.

Players engaging with American Roulette need to be aware of this and adapt their strategies accordingly, choosing methods that align with their risk tolerance and bankroll.

Understanding and implementing these strategies can help offset the lower RTP and provide a more balanced gaming experience.

RTP Face-Off: European vs American Roulette

When considering the Return to Player (RTP) in roulette, the comparison between European and American variants is both enlightening and the key to strategic gameplay.

RTP, the percentage of total wagers that a game returns to players over time is directly opposite to the house edge and plays a key role in players’ long-term strategy.

RTP Face-Off: European vs American Roulette

European Roulette: Higher RTP, Lower House Edge

European Roulette consistently offers an RTP of 97.3%, meaning players statistically receive $0.973 for every dollar wagered. This high RTP is attributable to the wheel’s single green zero, resulting in a house edge of only 2.7%.

This lower house edge in European Roulette means that over an extended period, players can expect a return of 95% to 97% of their spend, providing a significant advantage to players who opt for this variant.

American Roulette: The Impact of the Double Zero

American Roulette features both a single and double-zero pocket, increasing the total number of pockets to 38.

This addition favors the house, raising the house edge to 5.26% and lowering the RTP to approximately 94.74%. For example, a consistent $1 straight bet on a specific number in American roulette, under the theoretical RTP, would return $947,400 for $1 million wagered, highlighting the impact of the double zero on the game’s RTP.

European vs American Roulette Table

VariationRTP (%)House Edge (%)Impact on Player DecisionsIdeal Betting Strategies
European RouletteApproximately 97.3About 2.7– More favorable odds for players.– Focus on outside bets for better odds.
   – Single zero increases winning chances.– Consider using strategies like Martingale,
   – Lower house edge influences bet selection.D’Alembert, or Fibonacci, but be aware of the
    risks.
American RouletteApproximately 94.7About 5.3– Higher house edge reduces winning probabilities.– Outside bets can still be good but with
   – Double zero (00) decreases odds of winning.slightly reduced odds compared to European.
   – Requires more cautious play due to higher risk.– Betting systems can be used, but the higher
    house edge means higher risk.

European Roulette

  • RTP: Around 97.3%. This is because there is only one zero on the wheel, which lowers the house edge.
  • House Edge: Approximately 2.7%. This is more favorable to the player compared to American Roulette.
  • Impact on Player Decisions: The lower house edge means players might be more inclined to take risks with their bets, as their chances of winning are slightly better compared to American Roulette. The single zero significantly affects the odds.
  • Ideal Betting Strategies: Players often favor outside bets (like red/black, odd/even) for better odds. Betting systems like Martingale, D’Alembert, or Fibonacci are often used, but players should remain mindful of their risks and limitations.

American Roulette

  • RTP: Around 94.7%. The presence of an extra double zero (00) increases the house edge.
  • House Edge: Approximately 5.3%. This is less favorable to the player.
  • Impact on Player Decisions: The higher house edge and the additional double zero slot influence players to be more conservative in their betting strategies. It reduces the odds of winning on any single bet.
  • Ideal Betting Strategies: Players may still opt for outside bets, but with a slightly reduced chance of winning compared to European Roulette. Betting systems are still in play, but the effectiveness might be reduced due to the higher house edge.

Remember, while these strategies can inform play, roulette remains a game of chance, and outcomes cannot be predicted with certainty. Responsible gambling practices should always be followed.

Influence of RTP on Player Decisions

The difference in RTP between the two versions significantly influences player decisions and strategies.

While achieving the RTP is more straightforward with low-risk bets like high/low or red/black, the choice between European and American roulette often comes down to weighing the higher chances of winning in the former against the riskier, yet potentially more thrilling gameplay in the latter.

Roulette Odds and Payouts Table

Here’s a detailed table comparing the odds and payouts for different bet types in European and American Roulette:

Bet TypeEuropean Roulette OddsAmerican Roulette OddsPayout
Straight (Single)2.70%2.63%35 to 1
Split5.41%5.26%17 to 1
Street8.11%7.89%11 to 1
Corner10.81%10.53%8 to 1
Basket (0, 1, 2, 3)8.11% (European)13.16% (American)6 to 1
Six Line16.22%15.79%5 to 1
Dozen32.43%31.58%2 to 1
Column32.43%31.58%2 to 1
Even/Odd48.65%47.37%1 to 1
Red/Black48.65%47.37%1 to 1
High/Low (1-18/19-36)48.65%47.37%1 to 1

Key Notes:

  • European Roulette Odds: These are generally more favorable for the player due to only one zero (0).
  • American Roulette Odds: Slightly lower due to the presence of both zero (0) and double zero (00) on the wheel.
  • Payouts: The payouts are standard across both versions of the game, but the odds of winning vary slightly.
  • Basket Bet: This bet is unique due to its different composition in American and European Roulette. In European Roulette, it includes 0, 1, 2, and 3, while in American Roulette, it also includes 00.

These odds are calculated based on the number of pockets on the roulette wheel and the distribution of those pockets. Players should always remember that roulette is a game of chance, and while understanding odds can inform betting strategies, it does not guarantee outcomes.

The direct comparison of RTPs in European and American Roulette reveals that the European version generally offers a higher RTP, resulting from its wheel structure with a single zero. 

This difference has a profound impact on both the house edge and the player’s expected returns,  influencing player decisions and strategies.

Understanding these differences is important for players in evaluating their options and making informed decisions in roulette gameplay.

Understanding House Edge and Its Effect on Player Odds

In roulette, the house edge plays a critical role in determining both the game’s RTP and the odds available to players. 

Calculation of House Edge

The house edge in European Roulette is calculated as 2.70%, derived from the game’s structure of a 37-number wheel with one zero.

This can be represented mathematically as 1/37 = 0.0270 x 100 = 2.70%. American Roulette, on the other hand, includes an additional double zero, leading to a house edge of approximately 5.25% to 5.26%.

This higher house edge is directly attributable to the additional zero pocket, which increases the number of possible outcomes and decreases the likelihood of winning for each individual bet.

Long-Term Implications on Player Returns

The house edge’s long-term implications on player returns are important for understanding the strategic aspect of roulette. Over time, the outcomes of roulette spins tend to align with the probabilities predicted by the house edge.

For example, in a scenario where a player wins more than they lose initially, the results will gradually converge towards a 50/50 split due to the rule of averages. This trend inevitably favors the casino due to the house edge.

In American Roulette, the presence of both the single and double-zero pockets worsens the player’s odds, effectively doubling the house edge to around 5.3%.

The RTP, being the inverse of the house edge, implies that players, over a sufficient number of rounds, would theoretically retain a percentage of their stakes corresponding to the RTP.  In European Roulette, the RTP is around 97.3%, while in American Roulette, it stands at approximately 94.6%.

The Strategic Importance of House Edge and RTP

Understanding the relationship between house edge and RTP is imperative for players. It informs them about the long-term expectations of their bets and guides them in choosing between European and American Roulette.

European Roulette, with its lower house edge, typically offers better odds and is more favorable to players over an extended period. Notably, the higher house edge in American Roulette suggests a lower probability of winning, requiring players to consider more strategic bets or higher-risk approaches.

The house edge is a determinant factor in roulette that significantly influences RTP and player odds.

Players must consider these aspects to make informed decisions, especially when choosing between European and American Roulette.

The understanding of house edge and RTP not only helps in calculating potential returns but also in developing effective betting strategies that align with individual risk tolerances and playing styles.

RTP in Roulette – A Comparative Analysis

The Return to Player (RTP) in roulette significantly influences player experience and strategy. In European Roulette, the RTP is generally more favorable due to the presence of a single zero.

This results in a lower house edge, thereby offering better odds for the players. Notably, American Roulette’s inclusion of a double zero leads to a higher house edge, which is less advantageous from a player’s perspective.

European Roulette’s design inherently favors players, making it a preferred choice for those seeking better odds and a higher probability of winning. This difference in RTP between the two variants is a critical factor in player decision-making, influencing both game selection and betting strategies.

Understanding these nuances of RTP and house edge is essential for players to make informed choices and develop effective roulette strategies.

In summary, the RTP in European Roulette offers a more favorable scenario for players compared to American Roulette, where the double zero increases the house edge and impacts player odds less favorably.

Daniel White

Daniel White, based in London, UK, serves as the dynamic Editor-in-Chief at Best-RTPCasinos.com. With a sharp eye for detail and a deep understanding of the online casino industry, Daniel specializes in RTP analytics and player-focused content. His leadership has transformed the site into a go-to resource for players seeking the most rewarding online gaming experiences in Europe and beyond.