How Old to Play In a Casino

Andrew Freeman
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Legal age to play in the online casinos.

Each jurisdiction in the world has its legal gambling age. Yet, because there are numerous places around the world and in the United States where you can indulge in casino gaming, the question is, “How old do you have to be to play in a casino?” read on!

To help you find more information on the gambling age in your jurisdiction, we have provided you with this guide to the legal gambling age in the USA and other countries worldwide.

Gambling Age by State

The legal gambling age varies depending on the state and the gambling activity you want to engage in. In most states in the US, and certainly in Nevada, you have to be at least 18 or 21 to play in a casino or you should play at Fairgo casino. The gambling age in Vegas is at least 21 for all available activities, including playing casino games. Presently, there are 35 states where you can gamble online with 21+ years and 22 states that allow 18+ players. Below is a table of the gambling age by state in the USA. Here is a list of online casinos in the USA.

StatesCasinoBingoLotteryPokerSports Betting
Alabama2118+illegal21
Alaska2119
Arizona2121212121
Arkansas2118182118
California18-21181818-2118
Colorado2121212118
Connecticut2118182118
Delaware21181818-2117
Florida2118181818
Georgia18 (on cruise ships)181818
Hawaii2121
Idaho1818181818
Illinois2118182118
Indiana2118182118
Iowa21212121
Kansas2118182121
Kentucky181821
Louisiana2118212118
Maine2118182118
Maryland2118182118
Massachusetts2118182118
Michigan18-2118181818
Minnesota1818181818
Mississippi2118182118
Missouri2118182118
Montana1818181818
Nebraska2118192118
Nevada2121182118
New Hampshire2118181821
New Jersey2118182118
New Mexico2118182118
New York2118182118
North Carolina211821
North Dakota21181821
Ohia18-21181818-2118
Oklahoma1818181818
Oregon2118181818
Pennsylvania2118182118
Rhode Island2118182118
South Dakota18 (at a tribal casino)18
South Carolina21 (on cruise ships)181818
Tennessee18
Texas2118182121
Utah2121
Vermont211821
Virginia21181818
Washington18181818
West Virginia2118182118
Wisconsin2118182121
Wyoming2118182118
The USA states.

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Types of gambling can 18-year-olds participate in

As you see from the table with gambling age by state, the types of gambling activities that 18-year-olds can participate in vary. The main reason is, of course, local laws and regulations. However, some common forms of gambling are generally accessible to those 18 and over across multiple states. Let’s consider them:

  • Bingo: Bingo is accessible to 18-year-olds in many states. Young gamblers can play it because, for the government, it’s seen acceptable form of gambling. Usually, you can play in community centers, churches, and bingo halls.
  • Lottery: Most states allow individuals aged 18 and over to buy lottery tickets. Moreover, citizens can participate in state-specific, multi-state lotteries like Powerball and Mega Millions and scratch-off tickets.
  • Pari-Mutuel Betting: If you are a horse or greyhound racing fan, I’m sure you know this type of betting. Pari-mutuel betting pools the bets on outcomes and divides the total among winners. This is very simple and it’s often available to those 18 and older.
  • Tribal Casinos: If you live or are planning to play in a state with tribal casinos, the minimum age for casino gambling can be 18. Native American tribes can set their gambling ages within their casinos, which sometimes allows for younger gamblers compared to state-run casinos.
  • Online Gambling: Regulations and laws are changing, so with time, some states will allow 18-year-olds to gamble online, including online casinos, sports betting, and poker. At the same time, the availability of online gambling for 18-year-olds depends on the state’s laws and the specific regulations of each online platform.
  • Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): A popular type of gambling is legal in many states and even countries, so players aged 18 and over can make a bet in DFS. Fantasy Sports is a game where players create fantasy teams based on real athletes and compete based on the athletes’ results in real games.

My advice is always to check the local laws of your state or any state you plan to visit for gambling to check age restrictions and other regulations.

Related: Top rated online casinos for the USA Players

US flag.

In most states of the USA, a person is only considered an adult after attaining 21 years of age. This law dictates an individual’s legal status in society and is the basis for the legal gambling age in America, especially if you choose xxx slot machines.

In other words, if individuals under this age were to indulge in online casino gaming and rack up a huge gambling debt, their parents would be legally obligated to pay for them. For this reason, the gambling age in the USA is 21. Nevertheless, some states have made adjustments depending on the gambling activity and at what age an individual is considered an adult.

Minimum gambling age for other countries

Different countries worldwide have the authority to set their specific gambling limits and restrictions and, by extension, set the legal gambling age across their jurisdiction. Below is an overview of popular destinations worldwide and their set gambling age.

UK flag.

The United Kingdom

It is one of the most liberal markets in online gambling. The legal gambling age in the U.K. is 18.

Europe

European flag.

In Europe, there are many jurisdictions, each with its own set of laws governing gambling. Most European countries have set a gambling age of 18; however, some countries, such as Denmark and Estonia, allow individuals at least 16 to participate in pre-selected betting contests. On the other hand, Portugal has a legal gambling age of at least 21 years.

Australia

Australia flag.

In Australia, you must be at least 18 to gamble and participate in sports betting and other legal casino gambling activities. Although online gambling faces major restrictions in the country, players from this jurisdiction can legally revel in sports and horse racing betting. If you are 18 years old.

Hong Kong and Macau

Macao flag.

Other than the national lottery, China restricts any other type of gambling. However, Hong Kong and Macau are considered special administrative regions in China where gambling activities are legalized and we wrote about gambling in Asia. To engage in gambling in these regions, you have to be at least 18 years.

Should I gamble If I Am Underage?

If you are caught gambling and are not of legal gambling age, you might be legally prosecuted or put your guardians/parents in great trouble with the law. A gambler who doesn’t meet the legal gambling requirement is committing a crime for all intents and purposes, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

For instance, according to the Texas gambling laws, you’ll get a fine from 4500 to $1000 placed on your criminal record. In addition to that, your driving license can be suspended. It is even worse for the casino operator if you are underage. The government can blacklist the casino brand by rebuking their license and shutting down the gambling operation.

Thankfully, you can register and gamble through offshore online casino operators who provide a comprehensive casino lobby even if they may not have a license to operate in your country/state. This is a great alternative if you do not meet the legal gambling age. However, you should thoroughly check with your local state authorities to ensure that it is legal and safe.

FAQ

  • How old Do I Have to Be to Gamble in the U.S?

    The legal gambling age in the U.S. varies depending on your state of residence. Generally, you have to be 18-21 years old to wager at a legal online casino.

  • Why are Age restrictions so Important?

    Generally, gambling addiction is not to be underestimated. You wouldn’t want your 13-year-old kid messing up and becoming an addict to wagering. The law should be strict for leaving adolescent teenagers a chance to get in trouble and wager all their parent’s salaries. The gambling age in the U.S. and other countries worldwide is almost always greater than 16.

  • What Penalty Do I Face If I Am Caught Gambling Underage?

    Indeed, there is a penalty for underage gambling in the U.S., and it goes for both the player and the casino operator. However, the penalty varies in size and severity across different states.

  • Can I gamble at 18 if I'm visiting a state with a 21+ age requirement?

    No, you must adhere to the local legal gambling age of 21+ in states with that requirement, regardless of your residency status.

  • Are there any online casinos that allow 18-year-olds to gamble?

    Yes, some offshore online casinos accept 18-year-olds, subject to the laws of their licensing jurisdiction.

Author Michael Evi

Editor. Of course, I like casino games. However, I also like searching for different online casinos, reviewing their terms with bonuses, and sharing my opinion with others. I hope you find this review helpful.