What Are the Legal Gambling Ages in the US?

Silhouettes of a Man Progressing Through Age With a Casino Background

To gamble responsibly, a gambler must bear in mind the law.

After all, this isn’t the Wild West.

Most jurisdictions mandate that gambling age is a minimum age that a player can legally gamble. This age varies contingent on the specific state’s laws.

Of course, some areas don’t have casinos for you to sit down for a game of blackjack or roulette. Yet, almost every state offers residents some way to play the lottery.

Legal gambling ages also vary around the world. As you may have guessed, there are some countries where gambling is a big no-no regardless of how many trips you’ve made around the sun.

The Gambling Age for Online Casinos vs Land-Based Casinos

Usually, the minimum legal gambling age starts at 18 years old. Don’t rush out the door just yet, though, youngsters.

Depending on circumstances and state requirements by a gambling commission or applicable laws, these can vary.

What category of gambling a game falls under can also play a determining role in what constitutes a legal age. When you make such distinctions of ages and types of markets, you sometimes see a range of legal gambling ages for each.

As far as casinos go, there’s typically a clear distinction between the rules regarding real money online casinos and traditional brick and mortar casinos. Regardless of your gambling endeavor, it’s imperative that you adhere to any guidelines put down for legal gambling ages.

Failing to follow the laws about gambling ages is a double-edged sword.

First, you’ll lose whatever money you are wagering.

Secondly, you’re going to have some legal troubles.

Neither of which is pleasant. In fact, they both sound horrible.

The above holds true for any form of gambling, but it’s particularly applicable in casino gambling.

For the world of online casinos, the legal gambling ages can be, at the least, a bit confusing to follow. Online bingo halls, sportsbooks, poker rooms and casinos all have a seemingly endless train of legalities. Several gambling sites seem to set their own minimum age requirements. So, it’s in their best interest and yours to approach with caution if you think it may pose a problem.

Usually, online casinos will warn you upon entering whether a site is restricted in your area.

Luckily, the rules for land-based casinos are much more transparent. In the United States. The legal gambling age is set state by state. You should keep in mind that different laws apply to tribal casinos and they may have different requirements.

Even types of games like slots and video game machines may have totally different legal gambling ages associated with them.

Besides the numerous rule differences between Indian casinos and those under state or federal jurisdiction, there’s another category of different laws.

Casinos on cruise ships and gambling boats have a whole other set of laws to abide to. Most of the time on a cruise ship, the legal gambling age is 18 years old. That’s a full 3 years younger than most United States land-based casinos.

So, essentially you’re going to have to be at least 18 years old to legally gamble in the United States. Most casinos in the country are going to require that you’re 21 to enter. Of course, they’d prefer to have you in as early as possible.

Oh, Canada – What Kind of Age Requirements Do You Have?

Our cousin to the great north is pretty similar to us when it comes to legal gambling age. Just like the United States, they have their own grey areas.

Online gambling in Canada is regulated on a federal level. There are many online casinos you can sign up for, too.

Casino Niagara in Ontario Canada

Any of the casinos in Canada, brick and mortar or online, are required to obtain a government license before opening the doors.

If you’re headed to Manitoba, Alberta, or Quebec you can get in the doors of any casino at 18 years old. Oddly, anywhere else in the country you must be 19 years old.

This follows the same guidelines for drinking. Where the legal age in Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec is 18 and the rest of the country imposes a legal drinking age of 19.

Gambling Ages for Europe

Most European nations have a uniform legal gambling age. Yet, there can be slight variations country to country.

In terms of betting many countries set the legal gambling age at 18 years old. This mirrors the legal gambling ages for lotteries.

Two exceptions being Estonia and Denmark where the gambling age is a mere 16 years old.

Casinos in Europe vary the legal age of customers. Countries like Belgium, Greece, Germany, and Estonia all have a legal casino gambling age of 21. Sweden is a standout at 20 years of age for casino patrons. The other countries have the minimum casino age set at 18 years old.

Countries like Spain and France have recently lowered the legal gambling ages to fall in line with neighboring countries.

Strangely, a few countries have different restrictions. For example, Portugal allows visitors to the country to gamble at 18, while citizens of Portugal must be 21 to gamble.

Malta has a unique situation of their own. Let me be clear, Malta has one of the most outstanding gambling licenses on the planet, provided by the Malta Gaming Authority. In fact, Malta is a hub for many online casinos.

But the legal gambling age in Malta is 18 for tourists. The Maltese residents must be over the age of 25.

Gambling Age in the UK

The Gambling Commission handles and regulates all gambling in the UK. Everything from the licenses to the vast gambling forms is handled by the GC. The UK has a uniform legal gambling age of 18. This age requirement applies to all bingo halls, casinos, betting shops, racetracks and online gambling. This includes online UK casinos.

The minimum age for lotteries including football (soccer) pools and the National Lottery is only 16 years old. The 16 year old requirement also applies to games like coin pushers, claw grabbers and some low stakes gambling machines.

Oceania – Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have a multitude of differences between them. Australia has strict gambling laws.

18 years old is technically the legal gambling age, but not all forms of gambling are legal. The only gambling you’re going to enjoy down under is sports betting or lotteries. There are no online casinos or live betting here.

Of course, many of our Aussie mates have found a loophole. You see, there aren’t any laws prohibiting Aussie citizens from taking advantage of overseas online gambling casinos. So, many Australians simply login to their favorite casino and pass the hours playing real money blackjack with their European friends.

What a time to be alive.

Christchurch Casino in New Zealand

New Zealand has a minimum gambling age of 20 years old. They also have more direct rules about online gambling. Residents of New Zealand are allowed under the current laws to access online casinos from overseas. Yet, if you own one of these companies you are strictly prohibited from advertising your services in New Zealand.

So, it’s similar to the tobacco companies in the United States. Sure, you can buy their product. They can definitely sell their product. However, you won’t see any tobacco commercials on tv or hear them on the radio.

Gambling Age in India

India’s gambling laws are similar to those in the United States. The different Indian states have their own laws and regulations concerning gambling and gambling ages.

Basically, if you’re over 21 years old, gambling is legal.

Online gambling has been legalized in 2 states in India — one is Sikkim, and the other is Nagaland. This really doesn’t matter though, because residents of India don’t have any laws expressly banning their play on online casinos that are offshore.

So, again with the savvy gamblers finding loopholes to get in their gaming fix.


Let’s face it.

That’s a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming if you try to process it all.

The important aspect is to look at the gambling ages in all of the casinos of the world.

If you are itching to get in the casinos or can’t wait to introduce your son or daughter to the wondrous world of casinos, it’s in your best interest to just check the local laws before you go.

These days, laws are constantly being changed to fit the times, and what is the case today, may well be different in 6 months.