How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble?

The legal age for gambling in the United States depends on the type of gambling and the jurisdiction. The legal age for playing online casino games and sports betting is generally 21. Activities like horse betting, daily fantasy sports, and the lottery are normally legal from the age of 18.

States can make their regulations

States in the U.S. allow different forms of gambling within their borders, and state laws can differ on the legal gambling age. For most online gambling that involves betting real money, players must be 21 or over.

Commercial casinos can vary on the legal age limit depending on the state. Commercial casinos in Las Vegas usually have an age limit of 21 and over. However, while Michigan online gambling has an age limit of 21 and over, its land-based tribal casinos may allow players 18 and over. Tribal casinos in other states may also have a minimum age of 18 and over.

Legal online sports betting age

Online sports betting sites usually only allow bettors of 21 and over. Kentucky, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and Wyoming are exceptions to those, and sports bettors must be 18 and over. Some sportsbooks have a uniform minimum age despite the legal betting age in the market.

Online poker

Online poker is legal in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Nevada, and West Virginia. All six states set the minimum age for playing poker at 21 and over. Illegal offshore poker sites may allow players of 18 and over.

‘Sweepstakes’ casinos

In states without online gambling legalization, players may find ‘sweepstakes’ betting sites. They use a controversial loophole in the law to operate. Gamblers use virtual currency to play casino games online. There’s a chance to win cash prizes but players don’t technically bet with real money. These sites confirm a player’s age and identity when claiming a cash prize and report having a minimum age of 18 or over.

Daily fantasy sports (DFS), horse racing and lottery

DFS is allowed in most U.S. markets for anyone 18 or over, but there are several exceptions. Nebraska and Alabama have a minimum age of 19. Louisiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Iowa have a minimum age of 21.

Horse racing in person, at off-track betting facilities, or online, is generally available to bettors of 18 or over. A few states like Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and Iowa set the minimum at 21.

In most states, the legal lottery age is 18 and over. A handful of states do not allow lottery gambling, and in Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, and Arizona, players must be 21 or over to play lottery games.

Despite the age restrictions on gambling, there are many other types of games younger people can enjoy online. They can enjoy quiz games of an educational nature on game-based learning platforms.

How casinos confirm age

With online casinos, confirming a player’s age is a bit different than at a retail casino. At an online casino, players usually need to fill in a first and last name, email address, date of birth, social security number, and present a photo I.D. when they sign up. The operator needs these details to confirm their identity and that they are of the legal age to gamble in the area. They also confirm that a player isn’t creating duplicate accounts.