It’s probably fair to say that there aren’t many people around nowadays who think Satan truly dedicated a few solid workhours into creating a spinning wheel to randomise number results purely in the hopes they’d use it for gambling.
Seems like a lot of time investment for the personification of all evil.
But nevertheless, it was, for a time, a strongly held belief that the devil was involved in the manufacture of the roulette wheel and this belief even influenced a few countries to ban it. Though that didn’t stick too long, you can play roulette at just about any casino out there; even online, you can have a go at places like https://casino.betfair.com/c/live-roulette with no danger of Lucifer erupting through the floorboards and stealing you away to hell. But where did the legend come from?
The Number of the Beast
Let’s start with the root cause, the whole thing is down to numbers (well, numbers and old religious views towards gambling) and the number 666. In the Book of Revelation, at one point the author asserts that the number 666 is the number of a man and that it is associated with The Beast. This occult number has circulated ever since as the number of the Anti-Christ with a lot of evil portent associated with it. It was even used as a marketing gimmick for the remake of The Omen launching on the 6th June 2006 or, to put it another way, it was on 06/06/06, or just 6/6/6.
You might be wondering what this has to do with roulette wheels, and it’s because the wheel has 36 tiles of 1 to 36 listed on it along with either one or two zero tiles which won’t change the total count because… well, because they’re worth zero. If you add the numbers 1 to 36 together, by pure co-incidence, it equals 666. This is the sort of the thing that could probably have been avoided if there were 38 spots rather than 36 but the fact the wheel added up to “the number of the beast” was seen by some people as proof positive that the roulette wheel was a covert attempt to steal souls and damn people to the pit.
What sort of monster could invent such an insidious device?
Blaise Pascal: Inventor of the Roulette Wheel, Physicist and Devout Christian
Pascal is well known for his contributions to both physics and mathematics, particularly to the field of probability – which is perhaps ironic as he also invented the roulette wheel. Pascal wasn’t trying to invent a speedy gambling device with the devil’s number on it, he was trying to create a perpetual motion device. He did, however, invent a philosophical argument to prove the existence of God based on gambling known as Pascal’s Wager where he divided the options into God Exists/God doesn’t Exist and Worship God/Don’t worship god and gave it as a 25% chance God was real as a result and the only option that would “pay-out”.
So perhaps fair to say that he wasn’t particularly infernally inclined.
So what do you think? Do you still think the Devil is behind the wheel or is it just a fun way to spend some time? Let us know in the comments below.