The US Legal Gambling Age in the Different States

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As many of you probably know, the gambling laws in the United States differ greatly within the different states. Even though in one state gambling may be permitted for individuals over the age of 18, in others, it may be prohibited for people to lay bets unless they are 21 or older. In the following paragraphs, we will focus on the US legal gambling age, and we’ll elaborate on some of the restrictions and exceptions that should be taken into account by potential gamblers.

Is the US Legal Gambling Age the Same for All Activities?

One interesting fact about the US gambling laws is that the US legal gambling age may differ depending on the activities an individual takes part in. For example, betting on horse races may be permitted for people who are at least 18 years of age. However, gambling at casinos may be strictly prohibited for those younger than 21.

Therefore, to have an unproblematic betting experience, you should first get completely familiar with the current laws in your state of residence. In the next paragraphs, we will deliver additional information about the US gambling age, and we strongly encourage you to read all sections presented on this page.

  •  US Legal Gambling Age by State
  •  States Where the US Legal Gambling Age Is 18
  •  States Where the US Legal Gambling Age Is 21
  •  Specificities Regarding the US Gambling Age
  •  Offline Vs Online Gambling Age
  •  US Gambling Age for Pari-Mutuel Betting
US Legal Gambling Age by State

Many people get confused when they find out that the US legal gambling age is not the same in all states. For instance, in some American states, people who are 18 or older are completely allowed to participate in any form of gambling, including betting at casinos, online gambling, betting on sports, and so on.

On the other hand, most US states do not permit individuals younger than 21 to take part in the activities listed above, as well as playing in poker rooms. The gambling laws in most such states, however, do not forbid citizens who are at least 18 years old to play the lottery.

It is highly advisable to get familiar with all regulations regarding gambling activities in your state before engaging in any of them. This way, you will avoid any potential legal problems. For your convenience, in the next table, we will list some of the US states and the respective gambling age in each one of them.

New Jersey21
North Dakota18-21
States Where the US Legal Gambling Age Is 18

Undeniably, the number of states where the casino gambling age is 21 is much higher than that of states allowing people who are 18 to lay real money bets. In fact, the only states where 18 is the legal gambling age are Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Washington. In Georgia, people who are 18 or older can gamble on cruise ships.

An interesting fact is that, as we have already mentioned, in some states, the legal gambling age differs depending on the activity the individual participates in. For example, in some US states like South Dakota, for example, betting at tribal casinos is permitted to individuals who are 18 years of age. Gambling at commercial casinos, however, is not allowed for those younger than 21. Here are the rest of the states where the gambling age varies between 18 and 21:

  • California
  • Michigan
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

In California, for example, individual casinos decide what the legal gambling age will be for their visitors. Most of them require gamblers to be at least 21 years of age due to the fact that alcohol is being served in all brick-and-mortar casinos. Some of them, however, allow younger individuals to enter the premises of their gambling houses, where they are usually presented with slots, keno, blackjack, and poker tables.

The online gambling age in most online casinos, on the other hand, is 18. Operators permit visitors to create their accounts and to lay real money bets in case they provide all necessary documents that prove their identity. Needless to say, there may be certain exceptions, so please, make sure you read the full terms and conditions of the casino before you proceed to the creation of your account.

States Where the US Legal Gambling Age Is 21

The majority of US states have established strict rules when it comes to gambling at physical establishments. In states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, and many more, citizens are not allowed to lay wagers unless they are at least 21 years of age. It goes without saying that, depending on the state, there may be certain exceptions.

For example, in many of these states, the casino age limit for online bettors is 18. Plus, in Pennsylvania, for example, betting on horses is completely permitted for individuals who are 18 or older. The latter, however, does not apply to all states where the legal gambling age is 21.

Betting on sports is another activity young bettors may engage in. In many parts of the United States where online wagering is legal, 18-year-olds have the legal right to place real money wagers on all supported markets, such as football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, tennis, horses, and so on.

The rest of the gambling activities, such as playing roulette, spinning the reels of slot machines, or playing poker with real money, is only permitted to those who are of legal age. Individuals under the age of 21 will not be allowed to enter the grounds of any commercial casino located within the respective state.

Specificities Regarding the US Gambling Age

As you have probably figured out already, when it comes to the US gambling laws, one may stumble upon many peculiarities. To be as helpful as possible, we will provide you with additional information regarding the US gambling age for different betting activities. We will also try to explain why certain forms of gambling are permitted to younger individuals while others are prohibited to those under the age of 21.

Offline Vs Online Gambling Age

In one of the previous sections, we mentioned that the casino age limit might be different for online and land-based casinos. In most cases, 18-year-olds have the legal right to register at online gambling websites. Nonetheless, each one of them is obligated to present a valid document that proves he is at least 18 years of age. According to the laws governing online casinos, using someone else’s credentials is strictly prohibited.

Gambling at physical gambling clubs, on the other hand, is often forbidden for those under the age of 21. Of course, the latter does not apply to certain states where the US gambling age is 18. In most parts of the United States, however, the regulations regarding betting at physical casinos are much more stringent than those associated with online casino wagering.

Gambling Age USA and Pari-Mutuel Wagering

If you are someone who is fascinated with horse racing, you will perhaps be happy to find out that pari-mutuel wagering is permitted to those who are at least 18 years of age in most US states that have legalized this form of gambling. Individuals are allowed to lay bets at racetracks and off-track betting facilities.

Citizens of American states that have also legalized online sports betting may also try out their luck with other sports disciplines at any time. Virtual sportsbooks are extremely popular among bettors because they provide them with the opportunity to gamble whenever they want, regardless of their current location.


We hope we have provided answers to any potential questions you may have had during your stay here. To conclude, however, we will deliver more information concerning the current US gambling age by state, and we will also highlight a few important factors regarding the gambling laws. We strongly encourage you to go through our page one more time and to even gather additional data about the legal regulations in the US before you engage in any form of gambling.

Is the gambling age the same in all US states?

No, the legal gambling age differs in the US states. In some of them, it is 18, and in others, it is 21. In certain states, 18-year-olds are only allowed to engage in specific gambling activities like the lottery, bingo, online betting, or pari-mutuel wagering.

Is the legal gambling age the same for online and offline betting?

Online betting is incredibly popular, and it is much more preferred than betting at physical facilities. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the online gambling age is usually 18, even in states where the casino age limit is 21. In such cases, the latter only applies to brick-and-mortar casinos. Online bettors are permitted to create accounts on gambling websites as long as they are at least 18 years of age.

Which are the states where the legal age for gambling is 18?

Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Washington, and Oklahoma are all states where the legal gambling age is 18. In all of these states, people are allowed to play bingo and raffles. In some of them, pari-mutuel wagering is also legal. However, slot machines are strictly prohibited in all five of them, which means that you will not find a tribal casino featuring slots.

What is the legal age to gamble in Vegas?

The legal gambling age in Las Vegas is 21. As we have previously mentioned in one of our sections, the majority of the US states, including Nevada, do not permit people younger than 21 to gamble. There may be certain exceptions when it comes to racetrack betting, simulcast wagering, and online gambling. Access to commercial casinos, however, is only granted to those of legal age.

Is horse betting popular in the US?

Pari-mutuel wagering is incredibly popular in the US. The good news is that this form of gambling is legal in the majority of states. Additionally, the legal age for betting is often 18 rather than 21, which gives younger people a chance to engage in a fun wagering activity.

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