Roulette as we know it dates back as far as the 17th century, when French mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal, attempted to defy physics and create a perpetual motion machine. Naturally, his invention failed, and he had unknowingly birthed the Roulette wheel that would later spin into popularity and be the reason for the opening of one of the greatest casinos of all time – the Monte Carlo casino.
Read on to find out more.
Francois and Louis Blanc
It was two brothers, however, who really stood at the centre of the Roulette empire, as they found a way to lower the house edge and bring even more visitors to struggling casinos across Europe.
Francois Blanc was born in 1806, and grew up with his brother Louis in a small town in southeastern France. Francois died in 1877, but not without leaving behind a Roulette legacy. He became known as the “Wizard of Homburg” and “Magician of Monte Carlo” for the empire he built.
The brothers loved when the circus came to town, and eventually grew up to join one. They travelled across France learning the tricks of the trade, but didn’t earn their fortune as entertainers. Eventually, the pair laid roots in Marseille whilst working at a casino, and used their earnings from this to open a bank in Bordeaux.
To make their fortune, however, the duo used questionable practices through the bank, which later became outlawed. The brothers were arrested, and despite serving no time in jail, they were fined for bribing local officials. After this, they fled to Paris.
Back to the gaming world
In Paris, Francois and Louis Blanc returned to the casino scene, where they began offering betting opportunities that got around the anti-gambling laws in France at the time. Due to this, the Blancs moved again, this time to Hamburg in Germany. Hamburg was struggling financially at the time, so based on their previous success, Francois signed a contract with the local monarch to help boost the gambling and entertainment industries. It didn’t take long for Hamburg to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, but Francois wasn’t finished quite yet.
As casinos in Europe gained more traction, Francois sought out a way to set Hamburg apart from the rest of the world. In 1843, he developed the European Roulette wheel – creating a game with just one zero pocket, instead of the version with the single zero and double zero pocket, which later became known as the American Roulette wheel. Through simple maths, the brothers took the Roulette wheel’s house edge down from 5.26% to 2.70%, causing an all-time rise in the popularity of gambling in Hamburg.
The Roulette empire
Unfortunately, Frankfurt outlawed gambling in the 1860s, which drove the brothers out of Hamburg, as the city no longer needed the casino tourism. Luckily, the Blanc’s empire hadn’t gone unnoticed by Prince Charles III of Monaco, who was fighting to avoid bankruptcy and had made countless efforts to persuade Francois to sign a deal and run his casino. Upon agreement, Francois suggested they name the first modern casino the Monte Carlo casino, and put all their money into the hopes that this casino would attract tourists from all over.
Their gamble paid off, as over 30,000 people visited the casino within it’s first year, where the unique European Roulette wheel took pride of place, and Francois and Louis Blanc could finally settle down, trusting that the Royal family would hold up their side of the deal and keep gambling legal throughout Monaco. The brothers made millions, and would go down in history as the pioneers of a new take on the popular Roulette wheel. and the founders of the European Roulette empire.
All forms of Roulette are available to play at an online casino, where you can play online Roulette for real money, trying your luck and discovering for yourself the wonders of the empire that Francois and Louis Blanc created.