The USA gambling industry has no one set minimum gambling age which can cause confusion for a lot of young adults interested in 18+ casinos, poker, sports betting, bingo, lottery, etc. In fact, the betting market in the US is comprised of the individual gaming opportunities legalized and made available in each state. These states are permitted to make laws specific to their borders, especially regarding available gaming and betting offers and applicable legal minimum gambling ages.
The available wagering offers in a state are simply forms of gambling which are legalized by law, as well as, active. Some states have games legalized on the books but may not offer it anymore due to the industry dying – this is commonly the case in greyhound racing.
In addition, offshore online casino gambling, as well as offshore online sports betting, poker and pari-mutuel wagering are also legally available in most states at age 18. Below we have provided the legal minimum gambling age for each state according to venue, as well as a direct link to a page with more information about the legal minimum gambling ages in each individual state.
Within these states are regulations on wagering like licensing, taxation, consumer protection, and minimum age restrictions. While there is no one legal gaming age in the United States, it is safe to say the minimum legal gambling age in the USA is typically eighteen. In a few of states, eighteen is the minimum age but some states raise their legal minimum age restriction to twenty-one.
Some states have multiple minimum ages which change per game option offered. For instance, some states may have casinos restricted to those 21 and older while in the same state betting on horse races can be done by 18 year olds. Even stranger, a state can offer casino gambling with two minimum ages – 18 & 21.
Why Do Some States Offer Two Minimum Gambling Ages For The Same Gaming Option?
The legal minimum wagering age for USA casinos can vary by state. Depending on whether there is a specific provision written within the state’s gaming legislation which provides a minimum age requirement, options such as casinos (whether commercial, tribal, shipboard, etc.) can determine their own policies toward minimum aged players as long as their policies do not violate any existing regulations.
For example, if a state allows casino gambling at age 18, but a casino wants to serve alcohol, they can opt to establish a minimum age to enter their property of 21 years and up. These policies are usually affected by whether the casino has an alcohol license, wants to appease local alcohol licensing boards, or wants to avoid accidental underage drinking.
In the latter case mentioned above, gambling venues can exclude young adults who are under 21 from even walking on the game floor. In another situation commonly found in many US states, eighteen year olds may not have legal access to play on electronic gaming machines located at racetracks where they are otherwise allowed to bet on horse races.
What About New Laws?
New gambling laws and regulations made by either the state legislature or the highest court of the nation, the Supreme Court, can affect types of wagering made available like sports betting, online gaming, mobile wagering, poker, casino gaming, and so on. Hand in hand, new legislation in states can also affect legal age restrictions. This change could be positive or negative for those who are eighteen depending if they raised or lowered the minimum age.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Gamble In The U.S.?
The minimum legal gaming age in the United States varies by state. Each state can offer a single or multiple minimum age restrictions. If there are multiple minimum ages these change per game legalized and regulated by the state. From the data collected above, US states can have a minimum gambling age of either 18, 19, and/or 21.
What’s The Legal Gambling Age For US Land Based Casinos?
The legal age in most US casinos varies by state according to state law or alcohol licensing compliance. Typically, the minimum age for casino gambling is either eighteen or twenty-one.
What Is The Legal Gambling Age For US Based Online Casinos?
This answer depends on whether the state offers online casino games from a state licensed and regulated platform. If so, then the minimum age for online casino gambling in the US often mirrors the minimum age for casinos in the state – usually at either eighteen or twenty-one.
What Is The Legal Gambling Age For Offshore Online Casinos?
Regarding licensed offshore online casinos, the minimum legal wagering age is set by the gaming provider. Typically, this age minimum is 18 or 21 and is strictly enforced. However, we often recommend US players to abide by the minimum age restriction recommended by their state for casino gambling.
What Is The Penalty For Underage Gambling?
It is important to abide by all gaming laws made by either the state, federal government, or international jurisdiction. Depending on whether the underage player gambles at domestic venues or an online platform can determine the severity of the penalty on the player. Domestically, punishments for underage gambling can result in immediate arrest and charges for illegal wagering or betting which can include a hefty fine and/or jail time.
On licensed offshore online platforms, underage gamblers will usually face an account freeze, suspension, or deactivation with all winnings forfeited, as well as, a potential to be blacklisted from the brand.