roulette (rōlĕtˈ) [key], game of chance popular in gambling casinos, and in a simplified form elsewhere. In gambling houses the roulette wheel is set in an oblong table. Its outer area is marked off into 37 (in Europe) or 38 (in the United States) spaces, each of which has retaining walls so that a small ball may come to rest in one. The sectors, alternately red and black, are numbered 1 to 36; there is also a green (or sometimes white) 0 and in the United States an additional 00. On the table is an arrangement of red and black squares numbered in correspondence with the wheel. In addition, there are spaces for other types of bets: manque, that the winning number will be 1–18; passe, that it will be 19–36; pair, that it will be an even number; impair, that it will be odd; rouge, that it will be red; noir, that it will be black. All bets are placed against the house and are indicated by placing stakes on the layout. The croupier spins the wheel and tosses the ball onto it; its final place of rest indicates the winning bets. Many betting combinations are allowed, with varying odds and maximum stakes. Roulette dates from the late 18th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.