At online casinos, there are two broad categories of players: those who swear by slot games, and avid players who can’t seem to get enough of classic table games like roulette, blackjack, craps, and baccarat. Of course, some players don’t mind switching between slot games and the roulette wheel.
At first glance, the two types of casino games may seem to bear little resemblance to each other. On the one hand, slot games entail wagering your bets on three or more spinning or cascading reels. On the other hand, roulette games involve betting on a rotating wheel with numbered pockets.
Despite this, one thing is certain: slots and roulette are some of the most popular casino games ever, and they come in several different variations. In fact, some hybrid versions combine the beauty of these two most loved gambling games.
The bigger question, however, is which one is better in terms of gameplay, odds, RTP, and other player-friendly metrics?
In this article, we explore the major differences between roulette and slot games, helping you decide which is best to play for your level of experience and gambling style.
Roulette – Is it an Enticing Goldmine or a Boring Money Guzzler?
Roulette is undoubtedly one of the oldest games in casino history.
Since it was first introduced in French casinos in the late 1790s, roulette has grown to become one of the most loved casino games, too. And it has withstood the rough waters of time, becoming a mainstay feature in virtually all online and land-based casinos.
There’s good reason roulette has been prominent in casino rooms for over two centuries. It is a reasonably simple game to understand and play, making it an easy pick for both rookie and seasoned players.
As with many other table games, online casinos are always trying to expand their roulette offerings in order to keep players coming back for more. But that isn’t all there is to roulette.
Roulette games offer plenty of advantages over other casino games, but they are not without shortcomings. Let’s take a closer look at their pros and cons.
Pros of Roulette Games
Easy gameplay and rules – Roulette’s rules of play are simple and straightforward. The player has to place the bets on the table before the croupier announces “no more bets!”
The spinning wheel has colored pockets that bear numbers matching those on the table. If you think number 5 will come out, simply place your wager on number five on the table. It’s that easy.
Huge variety of betting options – There are few casino games that can beat roulette when it comes to the number of bets you can make. Besides obvious ones like betting straight up on one or more numbers, you can go for outside bets, such as betting on thirds, dozens, columns, colors (red or black), highs or lows, odd or even, and so forth.
Inside, you can opt for split bets, corner bets, five bets, street bets, line bets, five number bets, basket bets, snake bets, and much more. Alternatively, you can decide to make a call bet, which means you call out a number, and your wager will also cover adjacent positions.
Examples of call bets include neighbors (covers two adjacent numbers on either side of the called number), Jeu Zero (covers numbers closest to zero), Voisins du Zero, Tiers du Cylindre, Orphelins, and so on.
As you can see, roulette provides players with a massive choice of betting options. All you have to do is choose bets that will go well with your betting system or strategy.
You can use advanced strategy or winning tactics – Even though you want to have fun and beat boredom, your ultimate goal at an online casino is to win money. After all, no one wants to lose their entire bankroll in the game, even if they’re having a blast.
That’s where roulette brings its A-game. As a well-known game of strategy, you can actually beat roulette. The best way to do this is to use certain betting systems or tactics to tilt odds or edge in your favor.
A great example of a roulette betting system is Martingale. This gem appeared decades ago when casinos had no pre-set table limits (in fact, it is the very reason why they set table limits in the first place). The overarching principle behind this easy-to-implement betting system could not be simpler and more straightforward.
In the Martingale approach, you double your wager every time you lose and go back to the original bet when you finally win. The idea behind this is a no-brainer: if you bet on a given proposition every turn, you are bound to eventually win.
Martingale strategy works best for outside bets. Other major betting systems include the D’Alembert, Fibonacci, the Reverse Martingale, the “Three-To-Two”, the Labouchere, and their combinations.
They generally offer favorable odds – Roulette games have been hailed for their player-friendly payouts because they have high Return to Player which translates to greater odds of winning.
In other words, the house edge for roulette — the statistical advantage it has in favor of the house (casino) — is low compared to other casino games like scratchcards, progressive slots, etc. However, the American version of roulette has a bigger bias in favor of the gambling site.
Did you know that European and French roulettes boast a sub 2 percent house edge? Thanks to the fact that they have a single zero slot and betting options like La Partage and En Prison, they give players a considerable advantage over the house.
You can find many variants online – Although they can’t compare to slots, online casinos offer a wide selection of variants of roulette games. Don’t be surprised to find that some gambling sites offer roulette games featuring multiple wheels.
Some roulette games come with special bonus offers and prizes designed to keep them enticing, fresh, and exciting, as well as improve the overall online gambling experience.
On top of classics like American, French and European roulette, you can find other variants like Spingo (which combines familiar features of roulette, lotto and bingo), multi-ball roulette, multi-wheel roulette, and live dealer roulette (which is the closest thing you will get to land-based roulette experience).
Roulette is a genuinely exhilarating casino game that can jostle your adrenaline. This is especially true when you are watching the ball roll, hoping that it will land in your favor. The thrill of winning by itself makes the game worthwhile. Even still, roulette is far from a perfect game.
Cons of Roulette Games
They can be very addictive – If you are not a particularly disciplined player, playing roulette games can turn into gambling addiction. With instant-play online versions, you may find yourself going deeper and deeper into losses and debt.
For that reason, prudent bankroll management is recommended when playing roulette. As with any good measure in the gambling world, it all starts by setting your ideal win and loss limits. In a case where lady-luck isn’t in your favor, you will have a cap or a point at which you will force yourself to cut your losses and quit the game.
On the flip side, if you are on a winning streak, a win limit will tell you when to call it quits and count your blessing. Chasing losses or pressing too long on a winning streak almost always ends on a bad note.
You must also not ignore the concept of statistical independence. For instance, don’t imagine that a high number will be hit next even if the last 10 or so outcomes were low numbers. All roulette results are random and statistically independent.
May require extensive skills – As a rule of thumb, the more knowledge and skill a game requires, the harder it is, and the lower the house edge. Unfortunately, some bets or roulette games that offer the best odds often call for extensive skills or knowing a difficult betting strategy.
For example, Fibonacci is one of the best roulette betting systems but it isn’t exactly easy to grasp the ins and outs of the approach. To use it, you must understand the complex mathematical concept of the Fibonacci sequence.
Slot Games – Profitable or Bankroll-Wasting?
If you have played at any online casino, the chances are fairly good that you’ve been tempted by the allure of slot games. First introduced to the gambling scene at the turn of the 19th century, slot machines have become a prominent part of casino gambling.
Early slot games came in the form of a coin-operated machine with a money acceptor slot. To play, players had to insert coins and yank down the arm to get the reels spinning. Slot machines now usually come with three or more reels populated by symbols and gameplay features.
The player wins or loses depending on the paytable and the combinations of matching symbols. To win, most of them need matching combinations of at least three of a kind, read from the left side of the reel toward the right.
Today’s slot games boast stunning graphics, enchanting themes, and diversity of symbols. In addition, they include special features like bonus rounds, regular and progressive jackpots, stacked wilds, multipliers, and much more.
Pros of Slot Games
They are truly random – This can be a blessing or a curse depending on where you sit. If you are a player who prefers strategy over luck, you are literally out of luck when it comes to slots.
Slot machines and online slots make use of Random Number Generators (RNGs). These are computerized systems that produce truly random combinations, making slots a genuine game of pure luck. This also makes it hard for slot games to be rigged, giving every player an equal chance of winning.
They are exciting and relatively easy to play – The gameplay may vary greatly from one slot game to another, but nearly all slots are simple to play. Even better, they come in a massive variety that includes video slots, video poker slots, classic slots, 3D slots, cascading slots, multi-payline slots, mobile slots, and lots more in between.
They are graphically and visually appealing as well. If you are looking for casino games that feature the richest graphics and visuals, look no further than slots. Software providers like RTG, NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, and Yggdrasil Gaming offer slot titles that come with cinematic-grade graphics and studio quality.
If that isn’t good enough, slots also come with a lovely range of themes to entice all levels and types of players. Here think themes such as fairy tales, mythical creatures, TV shows, films, sports, celebrities, wildlife, and much more – there’s definitely something for everyone.
Large payouts and jackpots – Compared to other casino games, slot games provide players with massive payouts. This is particularly the case for progressive slot games that come with humongous jackpots that can turn you into a multi-millionaire.
Statistically speaking, however, the chances of winning such big jackpots are very slim. However, they bring an extra layer of excitement and anticipation to the gameplay. The best news is that more and more online players keep landing on mega jackpots worth millions of dollars in the payout.
For example, an unnamed software engineer walked away with a whopping $39.7 million in Megabucks jackpot win in 2003 at Excalibur in Las Vegas. Interestingly, the LA-based engineer had a small bankroll of $100, landing the biggest jackpot in casino history.
News of such big jackpot wins is dotted all over the internet, which is why progressive jackpot slot games have lately become wildly popular online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Cons of Slot Games
Higher house edge – The payout percentage or probability of winning for most slot games is comparatively lower than the vast majority of other games offered by online casinos, including table games like roulette.
By the same token, this means that the house edge (which refers to the relative bias given by the game to the house) is relatively high. In theory, that implies that you should expect to lose more money when you play slot games than when you play other casino games.
No advance strategy can help – Even those who are accustomed to using strategies on other casino games will find that these strategies simply don’t apply to slots. They are truly random, thanks to their Random Number Generators. In a nutshell, you can’t really beat slots. If you win, it’s probably random too.
They can also be addictive – The prospects of winning a large payout or mega jackpot can easily cloud your judgment.
If you are not careful and disciplined, you can end up exhausting your savings or running into debt while playing slots. In fact, certain reports have intimated that slot games are more likely to lead to gambling problems like addiction than any other casino offerings.
Slot or Roulette Games – Which One is Better?
As we’ve seen, both types of casino games have their advantages and shortcomings. So, when it comes to choosing and comparing roulette games and slots, your choice boils down to three factors:
(a) Odds (Probability of Winning)
As with all table games, roulette games typically offer better odds or higher probability of winning than slot games. This disparity is very prominent in land-based casinos where the house edge can be as high as 35 percent.
As mentioned, slot games integrate RNG technology that not only makes the game genuinely random but also awards each slot a specific house advantage. This is usually expressed in the form of return to the player percentage, or what’s popularly called RTP.
At brick-and-mortar casinos, the RTP is substantially lower, with some Vegas casinos offering a meager RTP of 65 percent on certain slots. Comparatively, some online casinos can offer significantly higher RTP, ranging from 80 to 98 percent.
On the other hand, the RTP for roulette often varies depending on the type. When playing French Roulette, for instance, the house can be as little as 1.35 percent on even bets such as red or black, high or low, odd or even, etc. On similar bets, the house edge for the American version can be as high as 5.26 percent.
If you do the math, that means roulette RTP ranges from 94.74 to 98.65 percent, which is notably high.
However you look at it, roulette games are a clear choice if you consider only odds or house edges. So, if RTP or probability of winning is a defining factor for you, then roulette games are better for you.
(b) Potential Payouts
Money, money, money. Let’s not kid ourselves. Winning big money is always our top priority when playing at an online or physical casino. If this sounds like you, then slots will appeal the most to you.
Progressive slots, in particular, can pay out hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars when you hit a jackpot. Let’s not forget slot games come with features like bonus rounds, multipliers, stacked wilds, and minor jackpots, all of which can pay out handsomely.
For roulette, the highest payout is 35 to 1 which is pretty low compared to a bonus slot round which can pay out between 20x and 5,000x your wager.
For this reason, slot games are preferable if you are after large payouts.
(c) Type of Player
Not all casino players are created equal. If you are a tactical or strategic player, it is a no-brainer to play roulette games. However, slot games can offer much more thrill to players who are after having fun.
Because of their simple gameplay and rules, roulette games are best for newbies who want to start playing right away. If you are a high roller player, both slot and roulette games can be equally appealing depending on their bet or table limits.
Roulette games tend to have higher cash-out or withdrawal limits, which is why they are popular with whale players. In contrast, if you have a small bankroll, you can go for a low variance slot or low table limit roulette game.
It is important to consider the house edge, variance, odds, integrity, and other factors before choosing the best casino game for you. On all accounts, roulette games seem to trump slot games.