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When Zero Was Banned From Britain’s Roulette Tables

December 21, 2023

If you play roulette online then you’ll have already encountered many different variants of the casino classic.

You can probably reel them off like Bubba’s shrimp recipes in Forrest Gump: there’s French roulette, European roulette, American roulette, Age of the Gods bonus roulette, Lightning Roulette…

But have you heard of British roulette? Didn’t think so.

What is British Roulette?

British Roulette is very similar to European Roulette, but with one key difference: there is no zero. Whereas American Roulette adds an additional zero (the double zero) to increase the house edge, British Roulette does the opposite.

In 1967, the House of Lords ruled that the zero pocket was illegal under British gaming laws. Removing the zero of course removed the house edge, meaning that wagers placed on red or black, odd or even and high or low numbers had exactly even odds.

The result was that the Metropolitan Police sent officers into casinos to look for wheels still using the illegal zero. This helped to create British Roulette. So why haven’t you heard of it before?

Well, British Roulette was short-lived. In 1968, new legislation was introduced to gaming regulations that explicitly allowed the zero pocket in roulette wheels. This brought back the house edge to roulette games, which would have otherwise likely died off in the UK, and relegated British roulette to a quirky footnote of history.