Gambling legal age – How old do you have to be to gamble?

Many new, enthusiastic bettors finished reading their first US gambling guide for beginners and now want to venture into the world themselves. They may have failed to stop and wonder, though – how old do you have to be to go to a casino?

Per the very definition of gambling, it’s always been considered a vice of human behavior. The regulations surrounding the activity reflect that. However, not every nation sets the same standards when it comes to age limits for casinos.

So, today, we answer the question of how old you have to be to gamble to help you ensure you’re abiding by the laws. Read on to learn the legal gambling age across the states and the reasons behind these limits. Afterwards, you can check out our 1.01 betting strategy and matched betting strategy guides for more gambling info.

  • Gambling age legislation varies by countries
  • Even in America, US gambling ages are different
  • Gambling legal age may also depend on the category of gambling
  • Gambling age by state also differs between land-based and online casinos
  • Once you ensure it’s legal to bet, you’ll need to learn betting rules

The minimum gambling legal age across the world tends to start about 18 years old.

It varies per state, though. The specifics you’ll find depend on the national legislation as well as the requirements by the gambling commissions that license the operators. There may also be a different gambling legal age for each type of gambling.

Either way, following the legislation is critical. Otherwise, you’ll not only lose your winnings, but you may also get into legal trouble.

These legalities may annoy you, but there are specific real reasons why they exist. So, let’s take a look at the several reasons why that’s the case, and not everybody can read a ‘sports betting explained‘ guide and head to place a wager.

The Age of Majority

This factor seems the most important. Even if people of the same age differ in mental and emotional maturity, the age of majority still prevails.

This number determines when a person may enter into contracts. Gambling companies that abide by the law can’t create contracts with minors.

This factor is also the reason behind verification processes during registration. That way, the operator is protecting both you and themselves.

Gambling Activities Laws

Across the world, governments decided on the gambling legal age and banned minors from playing in casinos.

These complex law systems aim to protect young individuals from vices and choices that can affect their lives in the long-term. After all, teenagers don’t get prosecuted even if they play – it’s on the establishments and their parents to take care of it.

Intellectual and Emotional Maturity

When it comes to adults, between 5% and 10% hold a diagnosis of gambling addictions. Among them, many acquired these habits while in adolescence.

While science is yet to determine when people fully mature into adulthood, the estimates range between 18 and 26 years old. So, it makes sense that people below that age shouldn’t engage in high-risk activities. Gambling is an activity centered around risks.

Financial Responsibility

When you gamble, you put a particular financial value on the stake, and if you lose, you have to cover your losses.

Although many operators offer fair odds and generous benefits, your damage is their profit. So, their most desirable customers are those with steady incomes who can invest money into entertainment.

So, all in all, laws restricting the gambling legal age seek to ensure a chance for teenagers to grow to full maturity in a safe environment. Having covered the reasons, let’s take a look at how these laws vary across the world.

Gambling Ages Worldwide

When it comes to the world, laws differ. In most cases, casinos for 18 and up are the norm, but not everywhere.

Sometimes, it’s 21 years old, and some countries go a year up, down, or in between the values. There are even several compelling cases where almost no restrictions exist.

For example, in Afghanistan, all gambling in land-based casinos is 100% forbidden, but anyone can join an online betting site.

Tunisia doesn’t have a gambling legal age. In Malawi, the gambling legal age is as low as five. Their justification is that, at that age, kids understand the concept of money.

What About the US?

The situation is somewhat more straightforward in the US. When you turn 18, you may vote, join the army, and play the lottery. At 21, you may drink and enjoy casinos. It’s not as unified in reality, though.

Legalized gambling in the US made the activity flourish.

Even so, no single gambling legal age exists across the states, as is the case for the European Union. Instead, every state has jurisdiction. They set the requirement for the citizens, and decide whether it should differ per gambling type, too.

The majority stuck to the limit of 21+, but they also tend to allow those over 18 to take part in state-regulated gambling activities – in particular, the national lottery. The best examples of this approach involve Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, and Maine.

The gambling age in PA, one of the most popular gambling states today, follows this concept, too. Another state famous for its casinos, Nevada, also doesn’t feature laws as loose as one would expect. In fact, no matter where you are (Las Vegas included), the Nevada gambling age is 21.

On the other hand, some states decided to keep their gambling legal age low across activities and allow 18-year-olds free play.

For example, in Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Idaho, the gambling legal age is 18 for placing wagers on any sports betting money line and casino game.

In the middle, we have several states, such as California, Florida, Wisconsin, and Oregon, where the gambling legal age for specific bets is 18, while the gambling legal age is 21 to access them all.

California is a bit different from others in this regard. Being home to over 100 casino-featuring cities, the most significant number anywhere in the US, the gambling legal age is 18 in more places than not. Especially in Southern California, the gambling legal age is mostly 18.

Finally, some American states keep their situational gambling legal age regulations. That way, they modify the limits and restrictions based on location.

In South Dakota, for instance, the gambling legal age is 18 for those who gamble in Native American reservations. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Michigan, where the gambling legal age is 32 for joining a poker room.

There are several particulars about the gambling legal age in the US. While you look through legislation, you may run into different rules for different gambling legal age types. Let’s finish by taking a closer look at these finesses.

Pari-Mutuel Betting

In pari-mutuel betting, the final payout gets determined after all the bets are placed. This approach differs from the fixed odds which casinos set, and the gambling legal age is 18 in more states than for other betting types.

The most popular place where you’ll find these wagers are race tracks, especially for horses. While, for example, you can’t pursue gambling over/under, you may bet on horse racing in several states at 18.


As the first place of bingo betting used to be the churches, it’s no wonder the limitations are somewhat looser for this wager type. Casino bingo halls do come with a gambling legal age, but many states allow it at 18, not 21.

Mixed Limits

As we mentioned earlier, some states allow certain bet types earlier than others. In Florida, for instance, you have to be 21 for slots, but 18 for poker.

Sound Out Our Most Liked Betting Strategies & Guides

Once you figure out the gambling legal age where you live, it’s time that you find the best operator and start playing. However, before you do that, it’s time to get informed on the best betting strategies.

Here on Gambling Guy, we offer betting guides on every type of playing you can enjoy. Be sure to check them out and play intelligently.

From point spreads to sports betting bankroll management, we explain everything you need to know – and more!

Now that you’re aware of gambling legal age across states, you can engage with your hobby legally and safely.

Whatever the case may be in your country, be sure to get informed on what to expect and follow the laws. If you’re traveling, don’t assume that the rules are the same – you may run into a nasty surprise.

Finally, be sure that you don’t jump on the bandwagon as soon as it becomes legal for you.

Instead, for example, read about betting odds explained before you create a sportsbook account. That way, you’ll prove to yourself and others that you’re indeed a responsible adult who deserves the right to gamble. You might even want to check out how sportsbooks make money.

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