How To Tell If A Roulette Wheel Is Rigged

Every few weeks, someone emails me claiming the local casino cheated them. They make claim such as their roulette wheels are rigged, and the casino is using magnetic balls.

I take the claims seriously, and consider all evidence the players have to present. But in every single case so far, I have not seen any convincing evidence of roulette being rigged in a properly licensed casino. Nevertheless, I’ve been around roulette for some time, and know rigged wheels do exist.

This article explains how to tell if the roulette wheels at your local casino are rigged.

The Casino’s License and Regulation

It might seem like an illogical start, but it’s not. First check the casino’s license, and the jurisdiction of their license. This is important because casino licenses require the casino to adhere to strict standards. And there are very harsh penalties if the casino cheats players.

Gambling is big business that needs regulation. Even more regulated than gambling are the financial markets, which are due for an overhaul due to cryptocurrency trader scams. Cryptos are also making their way into online casinos in a big way. But the larger casinos still don’t accept cryptos, because of the poor regulation. Regulations can be both good and bad. But in the case of casinos, it’s a very good thing.

For example, an online casino in the middle of the Pacific ocean may not be subject to strict regulations. At least not as strict as a licensed casino in the UK.

It doesn’t mean casinos outside major jurisdictions are dishonest. After all, there are many reputable and honest casinos licensed in regions such as Malta.

Understand The Type of Ball and Expected Behavior

Online casinos like FruityKing offer a variety of types of roulette, including live roulette with real wheels. This gives you the opportunity to apply roulette physics systems from home.

There are two main types of roulette balls. These are teflon, and ivorine. The differences are shown below.

Types of Roulette Balls

Usually the Teflon balls are a flat white. And the ivorine balls are pale yellow. The ivorine balls are much bouncier, so it’s best to avoid them.

This means their behavior is much less predictable, and more erratic. Their surface is also harder to touch, therefore makes a kind of ping sound when it hits the rotor. The sound of a Teflon ball falling is much quieter – almost like a thud.

The point is the ivorine ball can have some crazy behavior. It is very elastic, and can bounce a bit like a rubber ball. It can also spin and bounce back in ways that look unnatural. So this kind of ball is the most common I receive complaints about. But if you are seeing this ball first-hand, and have had significant experience with it, you know the behavior is quite normal.

Record and Review Video Footage

I’ve probably seen around 500,000 spins in my lifetime. This encompasses a wide variety of types of wheels and balls. So I’ve seen all kinds of behavior that an inexperienced person would consider abnormal.

When players claim their local casino’s wheels are rigged, I asked them to secretly record a few of the spins they find suspicious. This gives me all I need to determine if the claims have substance.

To record the spin, you only need to download a background recording app for a mobile phone. This allows you to record video, with the phone screen off. Then it’s a matter of holding the phone discreetly in your hand, while standing next to the wheel. But be aware that this is often illegal. Although if you need to record suspicious spins, you might be playing in an illegal underground casino anyway.

Signs of Magnetic Balls

Some types of balls can backtrack and bounce back, as if they were influenced by magnetic field. Again I can easily review video footage, and tell you if the behavior is normal. But if the ball is magnetic, then it will appear to stick to a pocket and slightly rock back and forth. The behavior is quite obvious if you know what to look for.

Don’t Confuse Bad Luck With Cheating Casinos

When I was an inexperienced player, I developed a system that won for around a year. I thought I had beaten roulette. But in reality I was just experiencing short-term wins. Yes, even a year of play is relatively short term, if you’re only betting on a few hundred spins per week. But eventually I started to lose. And instead of blaming my bad system, I assumed the casino was somehow cheating.

Again the reality was my system just sucked. I know that now, but back then I saw it very differently. So I know the mindset of the player when they claim their roulette wheels are rigged. Before you go accusing the casino of cheating, take a good hard look at your system.

Improve Your Roulette Skills By Knowing The Odds

The odds for roulette are displayed on or around the roulette betting table. But have you actually paid attention to them?

Most players only have a vague understanding of them. Sure, they might know on the European wheel there are 37 pockets. And that it means they have a 1 in 37 chance of winning on single number bets.

But here’s where the average player’s understanding of roulette odds goes wrong.

When Your Bets Ignore The Odds

A typical casino player’s system doesn’t even consider the real roulette odds. Take for example the Martingale system, which is only a betting progression. In simple terms, you increase bet size after losses.

If you understand casino advantage play and genuinely effective strategies, you’d know you must improve odds. So what does the Martingale do for the odds of winning? Nothing. So it changes nothing except the rate of losing.

Most gambling systems are fundamentally the same – they don’t change the odds.

Does Your System Change The Odds?

If you’re still new to roulette, you might ask how the odds could be changed. After all, aren’t they fixed and based on the betting table layout? Umm, no.

The odds are determined by far more than just the wheel or table layout. To explain this, let’s put it into perspective . . .

Consider in a horse race, a particular horse has odds of 10 to 1. This means for every $1 you bet, you get back $10 if the horse wins. We might call this the “odds”, but really it’s just the payout. And the payout actually has nothing to do with the real odds. I’ll come back to this later.

Understanding How Horse Bookies Profit

Horse racing bookies don’t care which horse wins. They just consider what people have bet on which horses, and offer unfair payouts to ensure they profit. In other words, even when you win, you aren’t paid a fair amount. But this requires additional explanation:

For simplicity, let’s say there were 3 horses that were perfectly matched. The “odds” for each of the horse to win are 1 in 3, or 33.33%.

The “payout” would be 3-1 if the bookie was fair. So if you bet $10 on all three horse, you’d invest $30 and definitely win. But you’d get back $30, which is a net result of $0. But at least they’d be “fair” payouts.

But in the real world, bookies want to profit. So in this case, the payout they offer might be only 2-1. In this case, the bookie knows the “odds” of any horse winning is 1 in 3. And they don’t care. They only care their payout is below the odds.

Fixed Odds Vs Variable Odds

The next point to understand is if bookies offer fixed odds, they risk losing. That’s because their calculations may be wrong. In the example above, perhaps the bookie thinks the odds are 1 in 3 for each horse. But perhaps one of the horses has an unnoticed injury and barely stands a chance of winning. This would tip the odds well in favor of punters who bet on the other two horses.

So why do bookies offer fixed odds at all? Because it’s what many punters want. But what most punters don’t understand is the fixed odds usually come at the cost of even less-fair payouts. Specifically less-fair than variable odds.

Variable odds are odds that change constantly, and are based on what each punter bets. As each new punter places bets, the bookie makes new calculations and varies the payouts. This absolutely guarantees that the bookie will profit each and every race.

The Real Odds In Roulette

All gambling games are fundamentally the same, in the sense they offer unfair payouts for the odds. In the dice game of Craps, each dice determines the odds. And the payouts are always unfair for the odds. In roulette, the odds are determined by variables like a roulette wheel and ball. In these cases, the dice, and roulette wheel and ball are the “equipment”. Together with your bets, the “equipment” determines your odds of winning. But it is specifically the difference between odds and payout that determine your profit or loss. This “difference” is known as the “house edge”.

And I know you’ve likely heard of the “house edge”. And if you’re reasonably educated, you’d know the math behind it.

Most people on the surface appear educated. And they may be. But the logic escapes most gamblers when it comes to understanding why their gambling strategy doesn’t work. And here’s what most players don’t understand:

Most gambling systems don’t at all change the odds of winning. The patterns they bet on almost always exist only in their imagination.

There’s no shortage of examples I could give. But a classic one is thinking after perhaps ten REDS in a row, that RED or BLACK or more of less likely to spin next. Some players will think the RED streak is likely to continue. And other players will think BLACK is “due” to spin. Both the players are wrong. Because each color is just as likely as each other. And in the middle is a green pocket, and the casino owner rubbing their hands, knowing there will be winners and losers. But to them, who cares? They know in the long-term, they’ll profit no matter which players win or lose.

Advice For Moving Forward

Be honest with yourself when assessing the effectiveness of any gambling strategy. If you aren’t improving the odds of winning to be better than random, your system is northing more than random bets.

Never test with real money. Your system will eventually fail for as long as you ignore the basics, and actually change the odds.

And finally, to change your odds and win long-term, you absolutely must properly understand the mechanism that determines the winning event. In the case of roulette, it’s the physical ball and wheel – and the related physical variables that determine the winning number.