The Fortune Wheel has been a long-time favorite in casinos around the world. The huge spinning wheel, usually adorned with mirrors and a noisy flapper that draws instant attention, can hardly be ignored, even in a busy casino. The fact that the game is both easy to learn and inexpensive to play, may have something to do with its appeal.
Before the US television show Wheel of Fortune became a hit, casino players queued-up at the giant, spinning Wheel of Fortune at their favorite casino and gambled away their silver dollars. The wheel has several names like Fortune Wheel, Money Wheel and the Big Six (since there are six available bets) and is still a favorite at live casinos as well as online websites.
There are several variations of the Fortune Wheel, but the important aspects of the game are the total number of stops on the large, upright, spinning wheel, and the total paid-out if the flapper were to stop on each of the spaces in an equal fashion. Most of the wheels have 52 spaces with a leather flapper that produces a ticking sound when the wheel is spun, and signifies the winning slot when the wheel stops. Each of the stops, or spaces, is designated with a symbol.
In the United Kingdom, the game is sometimes referred to as the 7’s wheel. In this game, the large wheel has 52 spaces, with 7 possible bets, and each wager has a house edge of 7.7% and the corresponding spots include payoffs of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, and 50 to 1. The seventh wager is also a 50-1 payoff, but a different symbol is used.
Payouts on the Wheel
|Number of Spots||Odds|
|24 spots||1 to 1|
|12 spots||2 to 1|
|8 spots||5 to 1|
|4 spots||10 to 1|
|2 spots||20 to 1|
|1 spot – Symbol A / B||50 to 1|
In Macau and most other casino locations in Asia, the wheels have colors for each of the spots and the highest payoff is 45 to 1, resulting in a higher house edge. In Australia, the wheels may have local animal symbols with payoffs ranging from 1 to 47, but retaining a 7.7% house edge.
Fortune Wheel games both in real world casinos and those online always look something like those pictured above
At many US casinos, the same wheel game has money showing at each of 50 stops, with a Joker on one spot and the casino logo on another. The money (and payoffs) shown are typically $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and two symbols that pay $40. However, like their counterparts in other countries, the 40 to 1 payoff is not for both symbols, they are separate wagers, and only one pays 40-1 for a winning spin.
The house edge rises from 11.1% for a bet on $1 to 24% on a $40 to 1 wager. Since the wheel is divided into 54 spots on the US wheel, the total payoffs if each spot spun evenly in 54 spins would be 249 units, plus the return of 54 wagers for a total of 303. If every spot was covered every spin, the total units wagered would be 378, resulting in an overall house edge of nearly 20%
In Atlantic City, the two highest symbols pay 45 to 1, resulting in a lower house edge of just under 15%.
One of the best things about online gambling is that the games are sometimes offered with odds that are lower than land-based casinos. You can expect an online casino to offer a Wheel of Fortune or Big Six wheel paying 50 to 1 for the highest payout. You may also find special wheels with fewer stops but higher payouts.