There's no doubt about it, one of the world leaders in stunning, precision roulette wheel manufacturing is John Huxley. You can find their wheels in plush casinos all around the world from Vegas to Monte Carlo and they have built up a reputation for a broad range of high-quality casino products including tables and other accessories.
If you hire a fun casino for your event, you'll sometimes see them on a roulette table right in front of you. Whilst you can buy lightweight roulette wheels that are specifically made for the fun casino industry, they're fairly expensive to buy brand new. It's mainly the price tag that sees many fun casino operators scouring eBay looking for a cheaper alternative.
John Huxley roulette wheels will set you back a pretty penny if you buy one new but you can actually pick up a used one for a fairly modest price on eBay; typically a few hundred pounds for one that's got a few dings in it.
A genuine, well-maintained ex-casino wheel spins for an eternity!. Well, OK, maybe not that long but you get the point. If you look after it, it really doesn't need any maintenance but if you leave it in a shed or lock-up, expect the chrome plated turret to begin to rust over time. It's also made of really high-quality materials and these wheels are an exception, precision bit of kit; as they're found in real casinos, they need to be. If you've never set foot in a casino, you can still see these roulette wheels on many of the online and live TV gambling channels.
They look fabulous at fun casino events. We've seen a few horrors in our time that look like they've been thrown down a flight of stairs but if you see a good one, it really is a thing of beauty. They're also "full-size", meaning that they're 80cm in diameter which is of course nothing like the size of the cheaper plastic ones you can pick up for a few pounds on eBay or Amazon.
We used to use these wheels at all of our events as they certainly do add a certain panache to the setup. However, there are a few cons... and they're pretty big ones. If they get damaged, they're expensive to repair so you need to constantly make sure no one spills alcohol or sticky, sugary drinks in them. They also constantly suffer from the danger of chips, knocks and dents at fun casino jobs. It's really easy to bash a door frame or catch them on a stone step. If you want to keep these wheels in tip-top condition, you may need the services of a skilled French polisher to bring them back up to spec. The alternative is to carry them around in bespoke wooden transport containers but this adds to the overall weight and would need two people to pick one of them up.
With all this being said, by far the biggest problem with John Huxley roulette wheels at fun casino events is their sheer weight. As they're precision engineered, they're extremely heavy; around 75KGs worth of heavy. If they're in a real casino, this isn't a problem as they always stay in one place but if you're moving them from venue to venue, week in and week out, you need pretty strong arms. Even taking the centre out of them whilst in transport only helps a bit. They are still difficult to even lift up onto the roulette table unless you're a regular on the weights at your local gym.
In summary, whilst they look fab and are cheap to buy secondhand, they're just not practical for fun casinos and there are now some really, really beautiful lightweight alternatives that look equally stunning but are much lighter to carry. We now use these instead as, whilst they represent a significant initial outlay, they're the same size, look just as impressive and are far more easy to carry around.