UNITED STATES—Online gambling now represents big business in the digital age, with the iGaming niche worth a staggering $5.9 billion as of September 2021.

While this niche is largely driven by online slots (which account for around 70% of the market’s total GGY), table games like blackjack and roulette combine to comprise 15% of the total take.

You can read articles here about roulette and the specifics of this game, but there’s no doubt that it can be a difficult discipline to understand if you’re a newcomer. So, here’s an insight into roulette odds and how you can increase your chances of winning.

Roulette Odds Explained

Roulette is a casino game that has been immortalizknowleded and romanticised in films throughout the ages, but this remains a game of chance where outcomes are determined completely at random.

There are also multiple outcomes available when playing roulette, with multiple betting options on offer across European, French and American iterations.

The bets available in roulette are categorized as either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ bets. The former refer to wagers that have a statistically low chance of coming in but offer access to increased returns, whereas outside bets provide instantly better odds but noticeably smaller payouts.

For example, straight bets require you to wager on one of the 35 numbers (or 37 if you’re playing American roulette) to come in, excluding the zero or double zero, of course. This ‘single number’ bet has a 36/1 or 37/1 shot of being successful, while it will pay out at either 35 or 36x your stake if it does come in.

Other inside bets are available, including three that are particularly popular. These can be executed as follows:

Bet Description Payout Odds
Split Bet Any Two Adjoining Numbers (Vertical or Horizontal) 17/1 17½/1
Street Bet Any Three Horizontal Numbers (1,2,3 or 4,5,6) 11/1 11⅔/1
Corner Bet Any Four Adjoining Numbers in a Block 8/1 8½/1


Outside bets cover a much broader range of betting options and the roulette wheel, which is why they offer access to superior odds of success.

In effect, most are even-money wagers, such as betting on red or black or that the wheel will settle on an odd or even number. Both bet types offer you an approximate 50% chance of success, while paying out at a ratio of 1/1 in relation to your stake.

The same principle applies when you bet on the roulette wheel to land on a number between one and 18 or 19 and 36 (when playing French or European roulette). Once again, these even-money wagers deliver a payout of 1/1, making it preferable for risk-averse gamblers or those that have a smaller starting bankroll.

Using This Knowledge to Improve Your Chances of Winning

As we can see, there’s a clear distinction between inside and outside bets and their respective balance between risk and reward.

With this in mind, such knowledge can be used to inform your underlying betting strategy, which can in turn minimize losses and potentially increase your chances of winning for every single spin.

For example, distributing your betting unit (which is the total stake that you’re willing to commit on each spin of the wheel) even between a number of outside bets provides optimal coverage of the board. As a result, you can optimize your chances of winning and cover a larger range of outcomes without increasing your stake, while also taking into account roulette’s opportunistic nature as a game of chance.

Of course, you can incorporate one or more inside bets in your wager if you desire, but the bulk of your stake should be committed to even-money, outside wagers that enable you to make the most of your bankroll.

You can also improve your chances of winning by recognizing the precise odds and rules associated with specific iterations. For example, the presence of an additional ‘zero’ on the American roulette wheel creates a house edge of 5.20%, which in turn translates into a return-to-player (RTP) rate of 94.80%.

Conversely, the house edge associated with French or European roulette is almost half at 2.70%. So, you can access an RTP rate of 97.30% (which is superior to most slots) and mean that you’ll recoup more on average for every €100 wagered.

As we can see, attempting to understand roulette odds and how they vary from one iteration to another can drive more informed decision making, both in terms of the roulette versions that you play and your core betting strategy.