Online Gambling Minimum Age: When Can I Play?

The betting industry is usually regulated by State laws. These laws may be very strict or less stringent depending on how the State views the industry, and the majority of the legislation is targeted at promoting responsible betting among players. For example, many states set the age limit of players engaging in online betting through the laws, but this age limit varies from State to State. Although, some States declare gambling illegal irrespective of age. Hence, players are advised to be aware of the various laws regulating gambling activities in their various States.

For a detailed and comprehensive review on legal gambling age limit around the world, continue reading this article.

Important Points about Online Gambling Minimum Age
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  • The legal gambling age is usually between age 18 and 21

  • States like Oklahoma and Maine place the age limit for playing Bingo at 16 years

  • Underage gambling is treated as a regular criminal offense in the US

Gambling in the US

The online betting legal age in the US is usually the same as gambling at a live or regular casino. However, this age may sometimes vary depending on the type of games you are playing and the State you are playing from. The legal gambling age in the United State is usually between ages 18 and 21. In the extreme cases of rarity, States like Oklahoma and Maine place the age limit for playing Bingo at 16 years.

Precautionary Measures against Underage Betting In the US

The US legislation forbids illegal internet betting with various federal legislations with different consequences in each unlawful circumstance.  The law prohibits the operation of illicit casinos, it doesn’t matter whether the casino is online (can be accessed through desktop, site, apps, etc.) or live/land-based (with physical facilities and infrastructure). In other words, all casinos must be licensed and regulated by the appropriate gambling commission.

The information of any person convicted of underage gambling is documented in the State’s criminal record, meaning that underage betting is treated as a regular criminal offense in the US. Any person convicted of underage gambling will have his driving license withdrawn for about six months, he will also pay a fine in the tune of $500 to $1000.

If the offender has not attained the age of 16 or if he has not attained the legal age of requesting for a driving license, the State authorities will delay his driving license processing by extra six months.

Where a guardian or parent allows an underage person to engage in poker or other betting activities, the guardian or parent will be arrested for disorderly behavior.

In states like Alabama, if an adult uses a minor in placing a bet, that adult will be guilty of misdemeanor irrespective of whether the minor plays the game or not. That minor will be subjected to juvenile laws.

The Delaware authorities place substantial legal restrictions on poker and other betting activities. Any person willing to participate in the state lottery must be 18 and above. But in Delaware, you could buy lottery tickets and present them to a minor as a gift. You must, however, be 21 years old and above to play slots either online casino or live casino.

The authorities of Arkansas prohibit persons that have not attained the legal age of 18 from being patrons of pari-mutuel or wagering certificate system operated by it. This only applies to horse racing. However, this doesn’t mean that the minor cannot attend the races.

Different states have set up committees to oversee betting activities and also to prevent underage betting and illegal gambling in States prohibiting it. The American Gaming Association is saddled with the responsibility of nipping unlawful gambling activities, businesses, and casinos in the bud with its partnership with the relevant law enforcement agencies. The major objectives of American Gaming Association include: creating awareness and educating citizens about the negative sides of gambling, making research on the various forms of illicit betting, connecting with state authorities in preventing underage gambling and so on.

Check the table below for the online gambling minimum age of U.S States. This table also displays the online gambling minimum age for some particular games:

Online Betting Age Limit in US StatesHorse RacingCasinolotteryBingoPokerWyoming1821181821WisconsinNo Data21181821West Virginia1821181821Washington1818181818Virginia1821181818VermontNo Data21181821UtahNo Data21No Data1821Texas1821182121TennesseeNo DataNo Data1818No DataSouth CarolinaNo Data21181818South Dakota1818181821Rhode Island1821181821Pennsylvania1821181821Oregon1821181818Oklahoma1818181618Ohio1818 - 21181818 - 21North Dakota1818 - 21181818 - 21North CarolinaNo Data21181821New York1821181821New Mexico182118No Age Limit21New Jersey1821181821New Hampshire1821181818NevadaNo Data21No Data2121Nebraska1921191821Montana1818181818Missouri1821181821Mississippi1821No Data1821Minnesota1818181818Michigan1818 - 21181818 - 21Massachusetts1821181821Maryland1821181821Maine1821181621Louisiana1821211821Kentucky18No Data1818No DataKansas1821181821Iowa2121212121Indiana1821181821Illinois1821181821Idaho1818181818Hawaii1821181821Georgia1818181818Florida1821181818Delaware1821181818 - 21Connecticut1821181821Colorado1821181821California1818 - 21181818 - 21Arkansas1821181821Arizona2121211821AlaskaNo Data21No Data19No DataAlabama1821No Data1821

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Gambling in Europe

European Countries have almost the same gambling minimum age with slight variations. The online betting age limit for players in many European Countries is 18. Estonia and Denmark set theirs at 16 years. The online betting age limit may vary when playing at casinos. Countries like Greece, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, and Belgium set their minimum gambling age at 21 years. Sweden's age limit is 20 years. France and Spain reduced their legal gambling age limit recently.

However, in Portugal’s gambling rules, tourist who are 18 years and above are allowed to gamble while citizens must be at least 21 years to gamble. Almost the same situation happens in Malta, the only difference is that the citizens are allowed to gamble at age 25.

Gambling in the UK

The UK Gambling Commission regulates the betting market in the UK and issues license to casinos. The online gambling minimum age in the UK is 18. However, you only need to be 16 years old to play games like football pools and the National Lottery.

Gambling in New Zealand and Australia

The minimum gambling age in New Zealand is 21 years. NZ legislation is particular about online gambling with residents permitted to play offshore online casino games. While the legal betting age in Australia is 18. But the only gambling activities permitted by legislation are lotteries and sports betting; live betting and online casino are prohibited. Australia Citizens can, however, play offshore online casino games.

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Online Gambling Minimum Age FAQs

The legal betting age for online and live casino is not always the same. Sometimes they vary, some online casinos place the limit at 18 years while some at 21 depending on the state. State laws plays a pivotal determinant in what legal age a certain online casino will set.

The consequences of illegal gambling range from criminal punishments to loss of driving license and losing of money/winnings for underage gamblers. Restrictions are placed on your gambling activities to promote responsible and positive gambling. The law wants you to be mentally matured to gamble.

There are several regulating and licensing gambling associations that are recognized internationally. Some States, however, regulate the gambling market through government legislation and authority. This is essential so as to protect the interest of the gamblers. Your mind should be at rest when making that winning wager.

Legal Age to Gamble

Several laws are regulating the eligibility of players engaging in gambling activities, whether live or online casinos. And these betting laws vary from state to state. The significant aspect of these laws target the online minimum gambling age and when to play. These rules aim to improve responsible gambling with severe consequences for anyone who flouts them. Hence, you must be aware of the various laws regulating gambling activities in your State to be on the safer side.
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