Roulette is synonymous with gambling and is one of the most popular casino games all over the world. Even those unfamiliar with gambling know what a roulette wheel looks like and, more or less, how to play the game. However, if you are a Marylander or visitor to Maryland who would like to give roulette a try, you’re going to need more information than that.
Look below for information about your options for roulette in the state. We can’t guarantee that you’ll win, but at least you won’t find yourself getting dizzy between the different bets you can make and the motion of the ever-spinning wheel.
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Can I play roulette legally in MD?
Yes. All six of Maryland’s casino venues offer roulette as part of their roster of table games. The number of tables and variants you’ll find will differ depending on the location, but you will be able to find at least one live roulette table no matter where you go.
Maryland is one of a few states to have legalized table games separately from legalizing casinos in general. Although the first casino opened in 2010, table games were not available until a voter referendum in November 2012 allowed them in the state. Incidentally, this same referendum also allowed the casinos to stay open around the clock and authorized the construction of a sixth casino location in Prince George’s County. That sixth property is now MGM National Harbor.
Is online roulette legal in Maryland?
Not really. There is no provision in MD state gambling law to allow for online roulette in Maryland. No online casinos are licensed to offer online roulette games in Maryland, either. Any information you see to the contrary is mistaken or represents a distorted view of Maryland law.
Some sites may argue that there are online roulette and casino gambling options for people in Maryland. Those options are not licensed or permitted by Maryland authorities, though. Instead, they are offshore sites that offer gambling from outside the United States. Because of this, they come with a host of safety issues borne from the fact that they do not have to comply with Maryland or US legal or regulatory standards.
The lone exceptions are social and sweepstakes casinos. Sites like Pulsz and Chumba Casino offer a variety of casino games, including roulette online. On those sites you’ll find the following roulette choices:
- American Roulette 3D — Pulsz
- American Roulette — Chumba
- American Roulette x2 — Chumba
No matter which option you select, the games will work similarly to the roulette you find at any land-based casino in Maryland. The biggest difference is instead of playing roulette with real money, you play with virtual currencies. However, in some cases, you can redeem your winnings for actual cash prizes.
How to play roulette in Maryland
If you want to play roulette in Maryland, it’s important to know the nuts and bolts of the game before you venture to one of the state’s casinos. Here’s exactly what to expect.
Each roulette table features a long felt playing board and the game’s signature wheel. Every wheel has 36 numbered slots on it and either a single-zero space or both a single- and double-zero space. The 36 numbers are painted in alternating red and black colors, and any zeroes are green. The wheel nests in a large wooden bowl with a prominent lip on it. Usually, the wheel spins perpetually through some combination of magnets embedded beneath the wheel or motors.
At the beginning of each round of play, the croupier who runs the game allows players to wager on a series of options on the felt playing board. After a bit of time, the croupier spins a small white ball around the lip of the bowl. As the ball loses speed, the croupier closes out the betting for the round. Gravity and the various knobs and bumps on the wheel combine to guide the ball into one of the slots on the wheel at random.
Players who have successfully wagered on the outcome of the ball’s landing receive payment according to the odds at the table. The most basic of these wagers is a single bet on one of the 36 numbers. A successful wager on the number pays out 35-to-1.
Although realizing a profit of 35 times your wager sounds nice, it’s important to understand the math underlying the payout. Picking the correct number out of 36 is, of course, a 1-in-36 proposition. Additionally, the presence of one or more zero spaces on the wheel pushes those odds to 1-in-37 (for games with a single zero) or 1-in-38 (for games with 0 and 00). Within that discrepancy lies the house advantage for roulette.
The most common roulette to play in Maryland is American roulette. American roulette typically features a zero and a double zero space on its wheel. Because you’re set to receive a 35-to-1 payout on a 37-to-1 bet, you are surrendering a 5.26% edge to the house on each round that you play. In other words, for every $100 you bet, you can expect to lose $5.26 of it because of the two zeroes.
European roulette wheels, on the other hand, usually have a single zero. In that case, the house edge is only 2.7%, or just over half that of their American counterparts. That style of wheel is less common in US casinos (including those in Maryland), and is often only for players willing to play at higher stakes.
Although there are other bets that you can make on roulette tables, the house edge typically remains the same. At the end of the day, you’ll only be able to select nearly half or nearly a third of the numbers with a single wager, and your losses lie waiting for you in those “nearlies.” Nevertheless, here are some of the other betting options and their standard payouts that you’ll find on most Maryland roulette tables:
- Single numbers: 35-to-1
- Split bets (two adjoining numbers): 17-to-1
- Corners (four adjoining numbers): 8-to-1
- Streets (three adjacent numbers in a row): 11-to-1
- Columns (12 of the numbers on the grid): 2-to-1
- Red or black: 1-to-1
- Even or odd: 1-to-1
- 1-12, 13-24, 25-36: 2-to-1
- 1-18, 19-36: 1-to-1
It is possible to bet on the zeroes, by the way. However, they pay out exactly the same as any single number wager would. Don’t be fooled by the different color — they are numbers like any of the others.
One last bit of lingo to know is that if you hear someone talking about “inside bets,” they mean the wagers inside the grid of numbers. Any bets that are outside the grid, then, are “outside bets.”
Standard roulette variants
We have already touched on some of the roulette variants you might encounter in Maryland casinos. We do not, however, vouch for the availability of any of these variants at any particular casino. Furthermore, it is possible that you might see variants that don’t appear in the list below.
In all likelihood, any variant is mostly going to boil down to an extra side bet that you can make, rather than a substantive change to the gameplay. Here are the three main variants of roulette:
- American — Each wheel has 36 red or black numbers and two zero spaces, and it bears a house edge of 5.26% for most of the available bets. Thus, its return-to-player percentage is 94.74%. No matter what types of roulette a Maryland casino might have, this will likely be front and center.
- European — We already mentioned this form of roulette, too. European wheels have only a single zero position and 37 total slots. The loss of one of the zeroes reduces the house edge dramatically to 2.7%.
- French — A French roulette wheel is even more favorable to players than the European one. It has the same 37 spaces as a European wheel, and it operates in the same way. The only difference is the presence of two player-friendly rules dubbed “la partage” and “en prison,” with the game employing one or the other. La partage means the house will split any losing 1-to-1 wagers with the player. Thus, at your worst, you’ll only lose half your wager on bets like red/black, odd/even or high/low. En prison freezes any of these even-money wagers for an additional spin if they happen to lose.
Locations for roulette in Maryland
If you’re looking for roulette to play in person in Maryland, there are really only six choices:
- Hollywood Casino Perryville: 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Parkway, Perryville, MD 21903
- Horseshoe Casino Baltimore: 1525 Russell St., Baltimore, MD 21230
- Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland: 7002 Arundel Mills Circle No. 7777, Hanover, MD 21076
- MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, MD 20745
- Ocean Downs Casino: 10218 Racetrack Road, Berlin, MD 21811
- Rocky Gap Casino Resort: 16701 Lakeview Road NE, Flintstone, MD 21530
Tips for playing roulette
Roulette is fun. However, just like with sports betting, horse betting, blackjack or other kinds of gambling, roulette is more fun if you have a decent understanding about how the game plays and the different ways to wager. There’s no guarantee you will win if you adopt these tips, but they can certainly give you some ideas about what to do.
Look for the imports
By now, the first thing to do is probably obvious. You want to play on a European or French wheel whenever you can. The lower house edges of these wheels absolutely carry a benefit over the American wheel. However, don’t expect them to be in any particular casino, since the lower profitability is not a favorite of casino management. Also, if you do find them, expect to see a rather high minimum bet. Playing on more favorable wheels is often a privilege for the big spenders and the whales, whom the casino wants to keep happy and playing as long as possible.
Play roulette like Monopoly
This next tip will do nothing to affect the profitability or outlook for your game. However, we recommend that you confine your bets to a single section of the wheel, rather than scattering your bets around and trying to hit your “lucky” numbers. By carving out a section of real estate, as good Monopoly players do, you might find it easier to keep track of your wagers and root for the ball to land in certain sections of the wheel, rather than individual numbers.
Walk away soon
No matter the type of wheel you’re playing, don’t settle in and decide to play for very long periods of time. The house advantage is a long-term factor, rather than a short-term one, and you put yourself at greater risk of losing with every additional minute you sit at the table. If you manage to make a decent-sized score, either leave right away, or set aside a portion of your profit and don’t touch it anymore. It’s fun to ride the wave when you’re gambling, but you have to make sure that you’re surfing and not drowning.
Ignore the board … for the most part
Many casinos keep track of the most recent places the ball has landed on each wheel with a large, lighted display board. Many players mistakenly believe that betting on a particular number based upon the previous results is a good idea, since that number is “hot.” Don’t do that. Each spin is independent.
Don’t bet the house, the rent, or anything else you need
Our final tip is that you shouldn’t bet with the money that you need for anything at all. Most people understand that betting the mortgage, the rent, or the utilities is a major no-no. However, we go a step farther to say that gambling should be the very last use that you have for your money. Even if the purchase in question is a mundane one — a Starbucks with your partner or a small toy for your child, perhaps — it is still a more valid recipient of your cash than a roulette wheel. Bet only with money that you do not need or want to use anywhere else.