The word roulette comes from the Latin word rollare, which means to roll a dice. In its early years, roulette was used for gambling at raffles (it was not, as some people believe, invented in America), where each player had one chance to roll the dice and then take their share of the money won. It was commonly played in bars, saloons and on a board in the shape of a circle. It is thought that the earliest mention of roulette appeared in 1637 in England, though at its time the name “rally” was preferred as a term for gambling.
It was common enough, and in a fairly widespread market, that some towns even had their own roulette courts – the first one on Horse’s Neck Road in London closed in 1746 – and even one existed in Washington, D.C., during the Revolutionary War.
It became popular and fashionable among people of the higher class, particularly as the American Revolution became a reality. It was also very popular in France and England, and other countries saw a boom in the playing of the game. The British and French royals were especially keen to cash in on the lucrative American market, and the British crown was the only party to offer roulette and other “game-room” games at court.
How popular was the game of roulette and other games of chance?
In 1775, the first record that roulette had a commercial success (according to Oxford English Dictionary) was at a saloon on the North of England. In France, where it did have a commercial popularity, it was popular for over two-and-a-half centuries, and played in the courts of the French aristocracy and the French republic.
In 1830, the English-speaking world learned of the history of roulette, and English-speaking tourists visiting Paris brought back the game with the same enthusiasm that Americans brought back a few years later. In the 1930s, the British found French play of the game a lucrative business and many people from France started to come to the United States to play.
In the 1950s, the Russian government began to introduce roulette as a cultural phenomenon. Russian Roulette was created on the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. People were drawn to the game for the opportunity to do good by gambling.
In the 1960s, the United States went into a frenzy of public gambling and in the 1970s the number of casinos opened in the United States was
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