Gambling on the Roulette Lucky Ball Side Bet in Las Vegas

Lucky Ball Roulette Logo With a Las Vegas Background

The introduction of table game side bets in the 1990s revolutionized the casino gambling industry in more ways than one.

From the player’s perspective, a fun side bet on blackjack offers a completely different dimension to the classic card game. For the better part of a century, blackjack had been played largely the same way, with flat even money payouts on basic winners and a premium 3:2 payout for landing a natural 21.

But with the rise of side bets like Lucky Ladies, along with other wagers like 21+3, Lucky Lucky, Perfect Pairs, and Match the Dealer, the strategic elements and small relative stakes of traditional blackjack were blended perfectly with pure gambling and jackpot possibilities.

Roulette isn’t as well known for side bets like other table games, but you’ll still find a few out in the wilds of Las Vegas. One of the more interesting options I’ve encountered on the roulette tables of Sin City is known as “Lucky Ball Roulette,” which takes a clever approach to the number and/or color foundation established by traditional roulette.

Introduction to the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

The UK-based global casino game designer TCS John Huxley introduced its Lucky Ball Roulette side bet in 2017.

You’ll learn more about the gameplay dynamics of the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet in the next section below. But for now, just know that this exciting optional wager creates a side game based on four new colors on every spin, one which offers the possibility of base payouts ranging from 6 to 1 to 25 to 1.

Additionally, a randomly generated bonus payout can up the ante to between 60 to 1 and 120 to 1, along with a special jackpot payout of 1,000 to 1. In an interview with TotallyGaming, TCS John Huxley managing director Jonas Delin described how the company came to discover and adapt Lucky Ball Roulette:

“We found out about Lucky Ball Roulette whilst visiting various land-based properties across the world. Seeing first-hand how popular it was with players, we reached out to GES to sublicense the game. They provided details of the mechanics and mathematics of the game, along with the provision of branding elements.”

How to Land a Winner on the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

Lucky Ball Roulette adds four colored side betting squares to the table’s basic layout. These colors are red, green, blue, and yellow. But for Lucky Ball Roulette side bet purposes, the red square isn’t associated with the normal red numbered spaces.

Instead, players can wager on any number of Lucky Ball Roulette alternative colors, meaning you can back just one color, two colors, three colors, or all four colors.

Lucky Ball Logo With Colored Number Boxes

From there, a special display screen placed over the table will light up with four colored regions, each one bearing a randomly generated number between 1 and 36. At that point, the random number becomes associated with its particular color for Lucky Ball Roulette side betting purposes.

Lucky Ball Roulette also uses a random number generator (RNG) to assign each color with a particular payout, based on the following pay table.

Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet Base Game Payouts:

Color Payout
Yellow 25 to 1
Blue 20 to 1
Green 12 to 1
Red 6 to 1

Three of the four Lucky Ball Roulette colors will stick with their respective base game payouts. But before each spin, one color will randomly be designated with a bonus payout using the following pay table.

Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet Bonus Payouts:

Color Payout
Yellow 60 to 1
Blue 75 to 1
Green 100 to 1
Red 120 to 1

And finally, a random jackpot payout of 1,000 to 1 can be assigned to any Lucky Ball Roulette color, but these premium rewards are obviously a major statistical longshot.

Once the ball spins and tumbles to its final resting place, if it lands in a numbered space that corresponds with one of the four Lucky Ball Roulette colors, players who wagered on that color receive the applicable payout.

At any one time, a bet on Red can pay either 6 to 1, 120 to 1, or even 1,000 to 1, which shows just how unpredictable Lucky Ball Roulette action can be.

Probabilities and House Edge Rates for the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

By this point, you’re probably wondering just how closely Lucky Ball Roulette’s odds and probabilities compare with the classic format.

As most gamblers know, real money roulette is one of the more volatile pure games of chance spread on any casino floor. When you’re betting on single numbers, you’ll be up against odds of either 1 in 37 (on a single-zero European wheel) or in 1 in 38 on a double-zero American wheel) in hopes of earning a sweet 35 to 1 payout.

Those odds create house edge rates of 2.70% and 5.26%, respectively, so roulette is known for creating peaks in valleys in terms of “luck.” And even when you stick with the more conservative even money bets like red or black, odd or even, and low or high, the payouts relative to your probability of winning still hew identically to the house edge rates listed above.

As for the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet, let’s break down the various probabilities and expected return rates for the wager’s various incarnations.

To start, the table below showcases pertinent data about the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet when played on a single-zero European table.

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Red Side Bet:

Red Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Red Base (6 to 1) 2.00% 0.1220
Hit on Red Bonus Bet (120 to 1) 0.70% 0.8110
Miss on Red Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0405
House Edge 4.05%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Green Side Bet:

Green Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Green Base (12 to 1) 2.00% 0.2430
Hit on Green Bonus Bet (100 to 1) 0.70% 0.6760
Miss on Green Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0541
House Edge 5.41%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Blue Side Bet:

Blue Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Blue Base (20 to 1) 2.00% 0.4050
Hit on Blue Bonus Bet (75 to 1) 0.70% 0.5070
Miss on Blue Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0608
House Edge 6.08%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Yellow Side Bet:

Yellow Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Yellow Base (25 to 1) 2.00% 0.5070
Hit on Yellow Bonus Bet (60 to 1) 0.70% 0.4050
Miss on Yellow Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0608
House Edge 6.08%

As you can see, the win probabilities for each color remain identical across the board. Single-zero wheel players can expect to lose their Lucky Ball Roulette side bet on 97.30% of spins, while winning the base bet payout 2.00% of the time, and pocketing the higher bonus payout only 0.70% of spins.

But even though those probabilities are the same for all four colors, the house edge rates tell a different story. When playing a single-zero wheel, the best Lucky Ball Roulette color to bet on is red with its 4.05% house edge. Next up is blue at 5.41%, while green and yellow are the worst options available at 6.08%.

Closeup of a Roulette Wheel and Ball Landed on 17

Interestingly enough, red is the only color which offers a house edge lower than the 5.26% rate incurred by double-zero wheels.

Speaking of the American style double-zero wheel, the tables below show off the same probability and expected return data for that Las Vegas-centric form of roulette:

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Red Side Bet:

Red Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Red Base (6 to 1) 2.00% 0.1180
Hit on Red Bonus Bet (120 to 1) 0.70% 0.7890
Miss on Red Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0658
House Edge 6.58%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Green Side Bet:

Green Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Green Base (12 to 1) 2.00% 0.2370
Hit on Green Bonus Bet (100 to 1) 0.70% 0.6580
Miss on Green Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0789
House Edge 7.89%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Blue Side Bet:

Blue Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Blue Base (20 to 1) 2.00% 0.3950
Hit on Blue Bonus Bet (75 to 1) 0.70% 0.4930
Miss on Blue Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0855
House Edge 8.55%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Yellow Side Bet:

Yellow Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Yellow Base (25 to 1) 2.00% 0.4930
Hit on Yellow Bonus Bet (60 to 1) 0.70% 0.3950
Miss on Yellow Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0855
House Edge 8.55%

Once again, the probabilities on Lucky Ball Roulette don’t change based on the color, so you’ll win the base bet 2.00% of the time, win the bonus bet 0.70% of spins, and lose on 97.30% of plays.

And like always, moving to a double-zero wheel inflates the house edge against you every step of the way. In this case, the red bet is still the best option, but its house edge of 6.58% on double-zero wheels is worse than the worst option on a single-zero wheel.

Mistakes to Avoid When Playing the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

The most obvious way casinos can snooker unsuspecting Lucky Ball Roulette players is the shift from single-zero to double-zero wheels.

As the numbers in the preceding section make clear, hopping from a single-zero wheel to a double-zero game immediately increases the house edge against you by several percentage points.

Another trick to watch out for involves that elusive 1,000 to 1 jackpot payout. This is an optional bet for the casino to offer, so you won’t always see it advertised, but when you do just know that the house edge increases in kind.

For example, a red bet on double-zero roulette wheels goes up from 6.58% to 8.26%, largely because that 1,000 to 1 jackpot is such an extreme long shot.

Conclusion

Lucky Ball might not be as popular as those aforementioned blackjack side bets, but this four-color RNG-powered wager is still a fun roulette side bet.

Of course, with relatively high house edge rates and a low win probability, you shouldn’t make Lucky Ball Roulette side betting a staple of your casino gambling strategy. But when you have a few extra chips to burn, playing this fun roulette side bet as a lark doesn’t dent your overall expected return too badly.