Online Roulette Odds and House Advantage

The roulette odds and house advantage you can expect depend on a lot of different factors. Different types of rules attached to online roulette will affect how much you can expect in payback, while different bets also come attached to different odds. Learning about these differences will help you to choose the type of online roulette that suits you the best.

Roulette Banner LogoOnline real money roulette makes for an outstanding simulation of regular roulette as it is played in land-based casinos. You still get the same exciting thrill of seeing if the ball is going to land in one of the spots covered by your bets.

And you also will experience similar odds and house advantages, which will tell you what kind of outcome you can expect from playing the game over the long haul.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the odds and house advantage of online roulette. We’ll go over the factors that affect these statistics while also comparing online roulette to other casino games in this department. Finally, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this aspect of online roulette.

Return to Player and House Edge of Online Roulette

When you hear the terms return to player (or RTP) and house edge in reference to a casino game, keep in mind that they are essentially inverse terms to one another. RTP measures what a player’s bankroll will be expected to look like after an average session. House edge measures what the casino, or, in the case of online roulette, gambling site, can be expected to take from the player.

In the case of online roulette, there are two basic styles.

  1. European-style roulette features an RTP of 97.3% and a house edge of 2.7%.
  2. American-style online roulette sits at 94.7%, with a house edge of 5.3%.

How RTP and House Edge Affects Your Bankroll

Let’s say that you entered a session of online roulette with $1,000 in your roulette bankroll. If you bet all of that money during a session of European-style online roulette, you can be expected to have $973 at the end of the session, with a $27 loss. By contrast, in the same scenario with American-style online roulette, you’d be looking at a bankroll of $947, which is a $53 loss.

Keep in mind that every gambling game has a losing expectation. If that weren’t the case, gamblers would be able to bankrupt gambling sites and casinos.

Short Session vs. Long Session

When you’re talking about RTP and house edge, you have to realize that they are only averages that are based on the odds of winning spins in online roulette and the payback for those spins. They do not necessarily dictate what will happen, especially in a short session. That’s where luck will dictate the outcome of the action more than anything else.

Once you’ve played online roulette for a long enough time, you can expect your own results to match up with the RTP and house edge suggest. Luck will eventually even out. The percentages will win the day in the long run.

Online Roulette RTP vs. Other Casino Games

One good rule of thumb with gambling games and RTP is that the easier the game is to play, the less it can be expected to return. In the case of online roulette, that is the case to an extent. It falls behind what you could expect from games like video poker or blackjack, games where there is more of a strategic element involved.

That said, online roulette features a higher RTP than many casino games, including online slots, where the edge roulette has is significant. This is especially the case if you can find games with special rules that benefit the players, which we’ll detail in the next section.

Rules That Affect the Odds and House Advantage

You should go into gameplay knowing that not all online roulette games are the same. Not only is there the major difference between American and European Roulette styles, but there are also a few rules that will affect what you can expect to return from the game.

American vs. European Roulette

The main difference between these two styles of online roulette are the number of spaces on the wheel. In European online roulette, there are 37 spaces: 18 red, 18 black, and one green (zero). By contrast, American online roulette features 38 spaces: 18 red, 18 black, and two green (zero and double-zero).

American and European Roulette Wheels

The number of green spaces is crucial because these are so-called “house” spaces. That means any even money bet on the board, such as odd/even or red/black, is an automatic loser if the ball lands in one of these spaces

Hence, European online roulette is much better for players since only one of these house spaces is included. The odds on every other bet slightly improve as well because of fewer spaces on the European wheel. These differences are responsible for the differences in odds and house advantage between European and American styles.

La Partage or Surrender

As we said above, green spaces on the online roulette are for the house, which means you’ll lose any even money wager if the ball lands on such a number. Yet some online roulette games offer consolation of sorts in these situations with special rules. La partage, in European-style, or surrender, in American-style, are two different names for the same rule.

When this rule is in place, you will only lose half your bet if you made an even money wager and the ball lands on a green space. The other half is returned to you. Take a look at the effect that this will have on expected return.

Style/RTP Without Surrender With Surrender
European 97.3% 98.6%
American 94.7% 97.2%

Roulette Imprisonment

Imprisonment is sometimes referred to as “en prison,” in part because it is generally only found in European-style online roulette. This is another rule that comes into play when the ball lands in a green space and you’ve made an even money bet. When this happens, your bet is said to be in prison, meaning that you won’t lose it just yet.

Instead, an imprisoned bet stays in place for the next spin.

  • If that spin lands on one of the numbers you originally had covered with the bet, you get the amount of the bet back.
  • But if it lands on an uncovered number, you would then lose the bet.

With imprisonment in play, your RTP rises from 97.3% to 98.6%. The bottom line is that you should strive to play online roulette games with either surrender or imprisonment in place, unless you have no interest in making even money bets.

Odds and Payback on Individual Online Roulette Bets

It’s important to realize that your RTP and house edge for individual wagers on a roulette board are pretty much the same as they are for the overall game. Roulette is unique in that sense, in that the balance between risk and return is so symmetrical.

Here is a look at the different bets available to you in online roulette, in terms of the amount of numbers covered and the payback you can expect.

  • Single number (straight-up): 35 to 1
  • Two numbers (split): 17 to 1
  • Three numbers (street): 11 to 1
  • Four numbers (corner): 8 to 1
  • Five numbers (basket): 6 to 1
  • Six numbers (six line): 5 to 1
  • 12 numbers (columns, dozen): 2 to 1
  • 18 numbers (odd, even, red, black, 1 to 18, 19 to 36): 1 to 1

With the exception of the basket bet, all of these bets, when looked at individually, feature the same return to player as the entire game as a whole: 97.3% in European style with one green space, and 94.7% in American style with two green spaces. The only difference is the “basket bet” (on 0-00-1-2-3) in American online roulette, which brings in a lower RTP and should generally be avoided.

Different Online Roulette Bets and Variance

Of course, the odds on these bets will do different things to your bankroll if you use them. For example, if you constantly make even money bets, your bankroll will feature relatively little variation. Any rises or falls above the original base level will be minimal.

But if you go with straight bets, your bankroll will go on a much different ride. You’ll be prone to long losing streaks, since your chances of hitting that bet will be only 1 in 37 or 38, depending on which style you play. The other side of the coin is that, if you can hit a few of these bets in short succession, your bankroll should soar.

These examples give you an idea of different variance levels attached to different online roulette bets. When you’re sticking to low-variance bets, you can generally play for a long time with a small bankroll. With high-variance bets, you’ll run more of a risk that your bankroll will disappear in a hurry, although you’ll have more chance for quick winnings in a hurry.

FAQ About Roulette Odds and House Advantage

  • Is There Any Strategy I Can to Improve My Online Roulette Odds?

    One of the things that you have to accept when playing online roulette is that you won’t have any control over the outcome. All you can do is spin the wheel and hope to get lucky on where the ball lands. But trying to guess where that ball lands and making bets based on those guesses won’t help you out much.

    The outcome of individual online roulette spins is based on random number generator software. This software ensures that each spin will be completely random and unpredictable. As a result, you can’t hope to take advantage of any patterns or trends, because they really don’t exist.

  • Can I Use a Betting System to Decrease the House Edge of Online Roulette?

    Since they can’t predict the outcome of the bouncing digital ball, many people try to improve their online roulette chances by using a roulette betting system. Proponents of these systems believe that there is a way to outsmart the game, in a way. But that just isn’t possible.

    The RTP and house edge of online roulette doesn’t change, regardless of what you bet and when. If anything, following a betting system might get you in trouble if you find yourself needing to bet more than the limits allowed by a particular gambling website. You can use a system if you like it, but don’t think it will improve your results.

  • How Will Betting Bonuses Improve My Online Roulette Odds?

    Betting bonuses are one method you can use to improve your potential payback. The best online gambling sites will use them as a way to secure your business. These bonuses might come in the form of signup bonuses or VIP perks for frequent play.

    When you factor these in, you can slightly raise the RTP. In the case of a game like online roulette, that little boost can actually be quite valuable.


Hopefully, we hope that the odds and house advantage for roulette are clearer to you now. If you understand how the game works, chances are you’ll enjoy your experience much more.