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US Online Gambling Sites » What is the Legal Age for Gambling?

What is the Legal Age for Gambling?

Last Updated on 03/29/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Gambling online is legal (depending on where you live). It requires judicial oversight because anything to do with the exchange of cash and games of chance need to be regulated. Similarly, the gambling legal age is also governed by law.

Sports betting companies and legal age online casinos in the U.S. are subject to strict gambling laws on both the federal and state level.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the gambling legal age, and more specifically, the age requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • Gambling is governed by state and federal law.
  • U.S. gambling legal age ranges from 18 to 21.
  • The gambling legal age varies from state to state.
  • Native American casinos set their own gambling legal age.
  • Gambling legal age depends on the type of gambling too.

While gambling and taking advantage of the best sportsbook odds from the No.1 bookies can be fun and even lucrative – it’s a hobby reserved for adults. The age limit is one of the most significant restrictions in the online gambling industry.

No government in the world tolerates underage gambling, and if you understand how sportsbooks make money, you’ll know that they won’t tolerate it, either. Let’s go over everything you need to know.

Necessary Considerations

To engage in any betting activity, and sometimes even to read about gambling over/under or similar topics, you’ll need to be within the gambling legal age limit according to where you live.

In the U.S., you’ll need to be 18 and over to gamble in about 22 states, while for some 35 other states, the gambling legal age is 21+. Native American casinos, on the other hand, have sovereignty, so they get to decide the gambling legal age for their establishments. However, some U.S. states have explicitly prohibited online gambling altogether, so it’s best to always check your local laws..Once you’re sure that you may bet, have a look at the requirements for the type that interests you. Various kinds of gambling have different gambling legal age restrictions too. For example, in Alabama, you have to be 21 to gamble at casinos, while only 18 for horse betting in the U.S.A – this is true for all No.1 bookies.

Another consideration is the difference between the online casino legal age and that of land-based casinos. In the eyes of the legislators, gambling online and offline are two separate things, so the gambling legal age is also affected.

Every operator has to abide by the federal and state gambling laws where they provide services. The gambling legal age laws exist to protect minors, which is a cornerstone of any civil society.

How Do Operators Verify Your Age?

Casinos and sportsbooks have to set up processes that help them ensure that you, the bettor, are of a gambling legal age to protect themselves. So, during the registration process, they’ll ask you to verify your age, and sometimes even your residence, by providing one or more of the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your identification card
  • Proof of residence

As a rule, the verification process happens quickly, so, if you’re legal, you’ll be able to start playing in no time. On the other hand, if you don’t verify your identity, you’ll have difficulties accessing and financing your account.

In some instances, you’ll only be asked for verification once you request a withdrawal. If you fail to do this, you stand to forfeit any deposits, bonuses, and winnings.

Why Do Restrictions Vary Across States?

In America, federal law makes gambling legal for all states. Still, each state regulates it and its age according to their independent lawmakers.

Types of Gambling

Once you ensure you may gamble by law and verify your account, there are various activities you can engage in to potentially earn a profit. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

Casino Games

Land-based casinos are everywhere, from the places considered the top gambling destinations to your hometown’s main street. However, with the boom of the online gambling market, there are also many online operators offering the same perks.

Among the most popular casino games that you’ll find in real life as well as online include slots in so many variations, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and many more. Online, you may even join a live table.

Poker

Poker is much-loved with regular and new casino-goers alike ever since the 2000s. Nowadays, you may find it in its many shapes and forms on the internet.

Remember that in most cases, even if the gambling age is typically 18, high-stake poker games online require you to be 21 to join.

Bingo

A classic for the halls that moved online, big bingo fans can now find sites dedicated only to this game. There are also variations such as the popular keno to keep things interesting.

Lottery

Most countries have their own National Lotteries, and counties and states of federations have their local versions too. This game of chance differs from actual betting thanks to the size of the jackpot and the small chances of achieving it.

So, in many countries, you may try a ticket or a few years earlier than you may join other casino activities.

Sports Betting and Race Tracks

Betting on sports and races has a long history across the world, and today, most big-name operators also offer a sportsbook.

Sports and races are one of the most famous online betting markets, too, with so many betting markets on various leagues.

It even extended to entertainment betting, which allows you to place a wager on the next U.S. president, play daily fantasy sports for cash, and so much more.

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In most countries around the globe, people come of age when they turn 18. Once they stop being minors, they’re legally allowed to gamble. However, some countries are an exception to the rule. Let’s take a quick look per continent.

North America

In most American states, the gambling and sports betting legal age are 18, but some countries are exceptions. For example, you’ll have to be 21 in Iowa, Louisiana, and Arizona, while the requirement is 19 in Nebraska.

There are also differences depending on the gambling you’re engaging in – in Arkansas, for instance, you can play the lottery when you’re 18 and enter a casino only when you turn 21.

In Canada, it’s much more straightforward – you need to be over 19 to gamble, except for Manitoba, Alberta, and Quebec, where 18 is enough.

South America

Until 2006, there have been strict anti-gambling attitudes present all over the continent, but since then, they’ve put in a lot of effort to legalize and regulate the activity. At the moment, you may join a venue as long as you’re over 18 years old.

Europe

Thanks to the European Union, the gambling laws around Europe are quite unified. Across the 43 countries, the gambling legal age is 18 – Greece is the only exception, where you have to be over 23.

Asia

In most Asian countries, you’ll need to be 21 to gamble. There are some expected exceptions, such as South Korea and the Cocos Islands, as well as an interesting one.

In Macau, as a resident, you aren’t allowed to gamble if you’re under 21, but foreign tourists aged 18 and over may join everything from massive jackpots to poker tables without a worry.

Africa

Africa is home to strange gambling laws. In the majority of the country, you may gamble when you’re over 18, as long as the state allows it.

There are differences in some countries, such as Egypt and Nigeria. However, in Malawi, children over 5 years old may gamble because they’re supposed to have a concept of money then.

Australia

Finally, in Australia, there has been a lot of turmoil around gambling. In 2001, any online betting was banned in Australia, and it took ten years for that law to change. Today, the gambling legal age across the continent is 18.

What If I Am Under The Legal Age?

Per the gambling definition, the operator doesn’t have to pay anything to you if you don’t prove your age. So, in this case, if the establishment you joined finds out, you’ll lose all your winnings.

Even if you took advantage of a No.1 bookie US sportsbook bonus and played without depositing your own money, you won’t be able to keep your winnings if you’re a minor. The venue will, instead, terminate your account and not pay you out.

What Other Betting/Casino Guides & Strategies Are Available?

Once you’ve ensured that your birth date grants you gambling legal age, it’s time that you start betting yourself.

With us, you’ll find recommendations for everything from N.J. online gambling, the best P.A. online gambling sites, and much more.

You can even browse our list of U.S. gambling apps if you enjoy gambling on the go.

Conclusion

Finally, make sure that you’re aware of and abide by the sports betting rules as well as those for online casino games and new casino sites.

While it can be tricky, especially if you’re borderline – between 18 and 21, let’s say – it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Don’t be discouraged, either – if you can’t join the best U.S. sportsbooks, the chances are still high that you can take advantage of online casino promotions at any No.1 casino.

So, even before you start your sportsbook register, make sure you tick all the boxes. You’ll often find the requirements in the terms and conditions. Be sure that you join only secure online casinos and follow the rules, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable time playing there.

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