Gambling is legal in most U.S. states and in most countries around the world. But the age at which you can place your first official wager is different depending on your location.
Gambling is legal in the United States, but restricted. Most laws are up to the individual states, which in many cases allow certain types of gambling but not other kinds. How old do you have to be to gamble? In some states, wagers can be placed at age 18, in others it’s 21. Click on the state name in the table below to learn more about online casino gambling and sports betting in that state.
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While many states require players to be 21 to gamble at casinos, others offer an 18-year-old threshold. The difference in most cases involves whether the casino sells alcohol.
States where the minimum legal age for casino gambling is 18 (typically this applies to tribal casinos, though some states allow casinos that don’t serve alcohol to allow players who are 18 and older):
Georgia has strict anti-gambling laws, but those 18 and older can bet while on cruise ships off the coast.
Countries vary on how betting is regulated and the minimum legal age to gamble.
United Kingdom: The minimum age across the U.K. is 18 years old, but that number dips to just 16 for lotteries and soccer pools. Many of the world’s top online casinos and sportsbooks are based in the U.K.
China: Gambling in mainland China has been illegal since the Communist Party took over the country in 1947. The territories of Hong Kong and Macau are global legal gambling destinations. Macau is one of the world’s top gambling destinations and you can be 18 and hit the tables there — unless you’re from there. The minimum age for locals is 21.
Japan: The minimum age is 20, but most gambling is technically illegal, with exceptions including horse racing and auto racing.
Brazil: Gambling in South America’s largest country has been illegal since 1948, with some exceptions (poker and horse racing at houses and racetracks, respectively). Bills have been introduced to allow gaming and to allow the government in on an unregulated market worth billions of U.S. dollars.
India: The legal gambling age in the country of one billion is 21, though different states have different local laws, similar to the U.S. Online gaming has been legalized in just two states though there are no laws prohibiting playing on offshore sites.
Canada: The legal age to gamble in Canada is 19, whether it be casino gambling or at a sportsbook.
New Zealand and Australia: In Australia, sports betting and lotteries are legal at age 18, but online casinos and live betting are illegal for all. However, there is no penalty to play at online offshore casinos. The minimum age in New Zealand is 20.
Russia: Online gambling is illegal in Russia but sports betting is OK. The legal age is 18.
Europe: The majority of European countries have a minimum age of 18 to gamble, but there are several exceptions. In Belgium, Germany, Greece and Lithuania, the legal age is 21. In Denmark and Estonia, it’s only 16. Spain and France are, like the U.K., 18. In Portugal, tourists can gamble at age 18 but Portuguese nationals must wait until they’re 21.
Depends where you are. The majority of U.S. states require a minimum age of 21 to play at a land-based casino or an online casino, but those who are 18 and older can play in person in more than 10 states where alcohol is prohibited.
Gambling is legal under federal law, but states are allowed to place restrictions. Gaming commissions run by state governments set up the rules and regulations for their territory.
The legal age to gamble in Las Vegas is 21. What is the gambling age in California?
The legal gambling age is 18 in California, though most casinos require players to be 21 to enter because of alcohol sales.
Gamblers can place bets at 18 in Oklahoma, though casinos that serve alcoholic beverages have a 21-year-old requirement.
You must be 21 to play slot machines at the Indian casinos in Florida but can play bingo or poker at age 18.
In most states, the age requirement is 21, but each state has its own set of rules, and many have lowered the minimum to 18 for establishments that don’t sell alcohol.
No. The federal minimum drinking age is 21.
They can be. Different states and countries have varying regulations for online vs. brick-and-mortar casinos, and the age restriction may be different for poker vs. casino vs. sports betting. Regulated casinos will have restrictions in place, so you’ll know the legalities when you attempt to register.
Minors who knowingly engage in underage gambling can be fined and cited with a misdemeanor. Casinos that get caught having underage players will at least get fined, and habitual offenders could lose their license, so they make every effort to deter underage gambling.
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