Wheel of fortune: Casino version and UK history

Talking about games, have you ever heard of the game called Wheel of Fortune? If your answer is yes then you are definitely in! When you ask about this game to anyone in Europe and America, you will definitely get an answer. Why? Because it is one of the most popular game shows that has ever run on the television. However, not all viewers are aware of the ins and outs of this popular game show.

Therefore, it is our pleasure to share some juicy inputs about the game. Who knows, you might have watched this game when you were still a kid without even knowing its title. So, read on and keep on scrolling down up to the last period. Don’t change tabs now or you’ll miss a lot!

Casino wheel of fortune aka Bonus spinner

Then again, the wheel of fortune is just a wheel that can bring any kind of fortune. Not when it comes to the show, but when we talk about other places. After all, you may have seen these wheels in bars, schools, festivals etc. and all of them have different prizes. You may have been lucky yourself in the past, have you? Let´s have a look at the casino wheel of fortune. At Bonusspinner.com spinning the wheel will give you a guaranteed casino bonus. All these bonuses are from quality casinos, licensed by the UKGC. So far this is a one of a kind source of fortune in the casino industry and you cannot spin it anywhere else.

The 1952 Wheel of Fortune

Did you know that the game show you used to know was not actually the first to use its name? Apparently, there was an older game show that was also called “Wheel of Fortune” in 1952. It was a game show in America that viewers used to enjoy on daytime from 1952 until 1953 on CBS. However, the show’s timeslot was moved to nighttime starting July 7, 1953. The game show was created by Peter Arnell and released by Peter Arnell Productions on October 3, 1952.

The game show was narrated by Hal Simms then hosted by Todd Rusell and Betsy Palmer. But unlike the show we knew today, this 1952 Wheel of Fortune was all about rewarding people. These people were chosen because of their good deeds while viewers get to know their stories behind via national TV. Then, these people were given a privilege to spin the Wheel of Fortune that has a carnival style.

Whatever the wheel gives was their prize but in some cases, the good Samaritans were given a huge cash prize. Thus, those lucky participants were given a chance to take home up to $1,000 after answering trivia questions. Clearly, no one takes home the bacon without giving the right answers. Most importantly, the game’s idea of using a wheel to determine the participants’ reward gave way to the current show.

Guess what, its latest versions were some of the most loved games on television ever in many countries.

1975 Wheel of Fortune

Coming up next as the pioneer of the game show we know today is the US’ version of the game. Also called as “Wheel” for short, this American game show was created by Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr. If you didn’t know yet, Merv Griffin is television host himself in America aside from being a media tycoon. From being a radio and big band singer to being the host of his very own show, he’s really versatile. Being a man who knows what he’s doing, the debut of Wheel of Fortune in America was sure a hit.

The game show was released in 1975 which features several contestants who solve word puzzles. If you’ve ever played Hangman before, you can certainly relate to this game. The more word puzzles you solve the better chances of winning you have by spinning the famous Wheel of Fortune. Basically, the prize you can get which is mostly in cash depends on the giant carnival wheel.

But before we dig deeper, let’s give credits the first man who directed this successful game show – Jeff Goldstein. From the game show’s debut up to the year 1978, Jeff Goldstein directed the game show. In 1978, Dick Carson replaced Goldstein until 1999 before Mark Corwin followed from 1999 up to 2013. In 2013, Bob Cisneros replaced Corwin up to 2015 before Robert Ennis came into the picture up to present.

When it comes to hosting, the first ever man to run the show was Chuck Woolery from 1975 to 1981. Together with Woolery Susan Stafford was the original hostess from 1975 up to 1982 while Charlie O’Donnell was the announcer.

The 1975 Alterations

However, Jack Clark replaced O’Donnell when he left the show in 1980. Apparently, Clark’s role as the announcer didn’t last long after he was reported dead in 1988. Thus, M.G. Kelly took the role for a while until O'Donnell came back in 1989. O'Donnell continued being the show’s announcer until the network’s version was canceled.

However, he kept the job as the announcer until after his death in 2010 when the syndicated show was released. Since then, Jim Thornton replaced O'Donnell as the announcer despite the game show’s host and hostess were altered. Later on, Pat Sajak hosted the show after he replaced Woolery and stayed until 1989. When Stafford left the show in 1982, Vanna White replaced her since then as up to its last episode.

Later on, Sajak was given a big break to host his own late-night show so Rolf Benirschke replaced him. Benirschke’s debut was in December 1988 after Sajak’s last episode. But after experiencing a roller coaster ride, NBC finally stopped airing the show on June 30. Luckily, the show that the viewers started to love was canceled only to be moved in CBS. On July 17, Wheel of Fortune returned with a bang with the same hostess Vanna White and host Pat Sajak.

Clearly, the show and its viewers admire Sajak’s hosting skills more than his late night show which didn’t last long. So, Sajak returned as the show’s new host in the syndicated version. In fact, the new Wheel of Fortune was considered as the “longest running syndicated TV show in the U.S. With more than 6,000 aired episodes, TV Guide called the show as the “top-rated syndicated series” in its 2008 article.

In 2013, the show was ranked as 2nd in the magazine’s list of 60 greatest game shows in history. The syndicated series just also slew it 36th season which premiered last September 10, 2018. But the show’s success doesn’t end there as it also has over 50 international adaptations worldwide.

1988 Wheel of Fortune

Based on the American Wheel of Fortune version that is still aired until now, the Brits also made their own. Finally, the Brits had their own version of the popular American game show which was aired on July 19, 1988. The UK’s version of Wheel of Fortune was produced by STV which is also known as the Scottish Television. The show was aired in the ITV network after replacing STV’s previous prime time game show. Just like the original version in the U.S.

Wheel of Fortune, the UK version challenges contestants to solve word puzzles. Of course, there’s also the massive carnival wheel that contestants spin to determine the reward they could take home. However, the network and producers of the UK version decided to make some minor changes to make its own mark. Moving on, the game show was originally hosted by Scot Nicky Campbell from 1988 to 1996.

Campbell hosted the show with his co-host Angela Ekaette in 1988 who was replaced by Carol Smillie in 1989. Campbells serene and gentle nature and hosting skills brought tons of viewers and high ratings to the show. At the same time, the former model and hostess Carol Smillie’s natural beauty helped boost the show’s ratings. In 1994, Smillie was replaced by Jenny Powell who was able to work with Campbell before he left in 1996.

“Brad’s Box” and “Leslie’s Luxury”

In 1997, the show went on with the new host Bradley Walsh and Jenny Powell. With a new host came with something new called “Brad’s Box” which contained an exclusive on-the-spot-prize. Contestants who landed on a specific square were the only ones who can pick a prize from the box. But just like the original version of the game show, the host and hostess were being replaced all the time. Walsh left after a year to focus on being a father and was replaced by John Leslie in 1998.

When Leslie was introduced as the new host, Brad’s Box was removed and changed to “Leslie’s Luxury!”. But soon after 5 years of co-hosting the game show, Powell left in 2000 and was replaced by Tracy Shaw. As a stand-in, Shaw just finished the remaining weeks before she was replaced by Terri Seymour in 2001. Apparently, John Leslie left the show the same year Powell left in 2000 so Paul Hendy replaced him.

After more than a decade of airing the UK’s version of Wheel of Fortune, the network ended its show in 2001. Thus, the last episodes of the show were finished by Hendy and Seymour with Steve Hamilton as the announcer.

UK’s Wheel of Fortune Gameplay

Unlike the original version of the game show, UK’s version introduced some changes in the gameplay, especially in its prize. Originally, the numbers on the wheel determined the cash prize that a contestant can take home. But in the UK version, the numbers on the wheel were not equal to cash but points. Thus, there was no cash value in any amount of number a contestant got from the wheel. The purpose of getting a higher amount of points was to determine the contestant who was the winner in that round.

The other purpose of earning points was to determine who enters the Grand Finals. Why the certain change? This was due to the rules that the Independent Broadcasting Authority implemented from 1960 to 1992. At the same time, its successor which was the Independent Television Commission enforced caps on the jackpot prize. This was applied to what all game shows’ would give away weekly for the last two years.

This standardized the offered prizes of game shows for each episode and made sure that no program breaks the rules. Moving on, all earned points of a contestant on a certain round was saved and carried to the next round. But the best part of this points system was the previous points of a contestant that was unaffected by Bankruptcy. This means that a contestant still had remaining points even if he got Bankrupt in a certain round that followed.

In addition, this certain rule allowed contestants to become the winner even if they weren’t able to solve a word puzzle.

First Three Series of the Game Show

After all, the main point of this game was to earn and earn more points until you got the highest. Thus, contestants were also given a chance to skip a turn if they don’t know the answer to the puzzle. This was considered as a smart move instead of losing their hard-earned points in case they get a Bankrupt. Whoever earned the biggest number of points was considered as the winner. Right before the game starts, players were already asked to spin the wheel to determine who plays first.

So basically, the one who got the highest amount of points spun first during the first round. Based on the program, contestants also were asked a 50/50 trivia question and whoever got the right answer spun the wheel. In this case, the contestant had to pick any letter if he or she landed on a number after spinning. The contestant who had his or her chosen letter on the puzzle board earned a certain value. Then, the value was multiplied by how many times the letter appeared on the board.

Contestants were also allowed to buy a vowel letter which was then worth 250 points no matter how many times it appeared on the board. Once the bought vowel appeared on the board, the contestant should spin the wheel until his or her turn ended. How contestants did finish their turns? This depends on the following situations that include:

• Landed on a number then selected a letter that didn’t appeared on the puzzle board = zero points (no points were deducted to the contestant either)

• Bought a vowel letter that didn’t appeared on the puzzle board (250 points were still deducted from the contestant’s earned points)

• Landed on the space with “Lose a Turn”

• Landed on the space with “Bankrupt” (the current round’s total points were only removed not the points he or she earned from the previous rounds)

• Tried to solve the word puzzle but failed to provide the correct answer

The contestant who landed on the space with “Free Spin” was given a “Free Spin” token and another spin. The Free Spin token could be used if the contestant selected letter that didn’t appeared on the board. It was also applicable if he or she landed on the Bankrupt or on the Lose a Turn space. The contestant just had to give back the token to the host to spin the wheel again. If all contestants were given Free Tokens, they were allowed to alternatively use it to spin again.

Any contestant who failed to give the right answer to the 50/50 trivia question wasn’t allowed to spin the wheel. In this case, it’s the next contestant’s turn to play and spin the wheel.

From Speed Round to the Fourth Series Onwards

During the speed round, the center contestant’s point value depended on the where the arrow pointed. This was also the round where the host spun the wheel and the letters value were not relevant. The consonant’s valued depended on what was the outcome on the wheel and no more 50/50 questions were asked. In addition, the contestant who’s positioned on the left got the first turn.

Starting from the fourth series onwards, the 50/50 trivia questions that were asked to contestants individually were completely dropped. As a replacement, contestants were then asked questions regarding general knowledge. The first contestant who buzzed and answered correctly was allowed to spin the wheel. Moreover, this new rule included the speed-up round. The points on the wheel were also doubled starting from the round 3 onwards.

The yellow arrow of the contestant determined the value of each consonant during the speed up round. It was also the round’s final spin where Leslie used to throw his famous catchphrase “No more spinning, just winning!”

The Final Round

In cases where a tie occurred during this round, all contestants who got the same points were given another spin. Whoever spun with the highest value could push through with the game. Once the contestant reached the Grand Finale, he or she should choose one from the three bonus prizes to win. These prizes included a cash prize, a car, and a luxury holiday. However, the prize 1994 jackpot was altered and allowed the final contestant to win a car and a £10,000.

This was after the final word puzzle was solved. In fact, there was a single episode in 1994 when the jackpot included £10,000 cash and two cars! The following year from 1995 until 1998, it was changed again wherein the contestant chose one from the two envelopes. Between the two envelopes, one contained the car prize while the other contained the £20,000. The Grand Finale went from choosing the prize to choosing five consonant letters and a single vowel.

The final contestant only had 15 seconds to solve the word puzzle which can be done word by word. Thus, each word in the phrase, title, or sentence could be solved individually before moving to the next word. If the puzzle was “A BLACK ARROW”, the contestant could answer “A”, then “BLACK”, and “ARROW” to solve the puzzle. In addition, the “Lose a Turn” space on the wheel was changed into “Miss a Turn” during the final round.

A “500 Gamble” wedge was also added onto the wheel. This was added to the contestant could either get 500 points per letter or gamble their score during the round. If the contestant chose to gamble, a correct answer means his or her score would be multiplied. Each letter in the puzzle was worth 1,000 then 2,000 starting with the third round then added to the total. But if the answer was wrong, the total score for that round was removed which was the same with Bankrupt.


There you have it! Some of the rules and concept of the game be removed and altered on some versions but the wheel remains. The value of the numbers on the wheel may be changed as well as its other wedges and prizes. However, the thought of the game wherein the contestants’ fortune depends in the wheel stays true to every version.