How old you have to be to gamble?

Gambling has been a popular pastime for centuries, captivating individuals with the thrill of chance and the allure of potentially lucrative winnings. However, amidst the excitement, societies around the world recognize the need to establish regulations to protect individuals, particularly minors, from the potential harms associated with gambling. As a result, countries worldwide have implemented laws setting a minimum age for participation in gambling activities.

Gambling age around world

Source: Wikipedia.

Minimum legal age to enter a casino by country (2023):

  • black – Illegal,
  • light blue – 25 or older,
  • orange – 21 or older,
  • orange/green – 21 or 18 (depends on the casino),
  • purple – 20,
  • blue – 19,
  • green – 18,
  • yellow – 13,
  • grey – no regulation/no age set/no data.

Legal age in USA


The minimum age for pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound racetracks can vary by county in Alabama. Depending on where you are, Birmingham and Macon may require bettors to be at least 19 years old, while Greene and Mobile have set the age at 18. The rules and regulations governing these activities can be found in Pari-Mutuel Racing: 1996, published by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc., and Alabama Code §11-65-44. For non-profit organizations seeking to hold bingo games for charitable or educational purposes, specific statutes apply in each county and city which require a minimum playing age of 19 and mandate that those conducting or supporting such events also satisfy the same minimum age threshold requirement.


The state of Alaska is currently examining a proposal that would allow casinos to operate on cruise ships traveling between ports within the state during international voyages. Per Alaska Statutes §43.35.040, slot machine games are legal for individuals who are 18 years or older, as long as they are positioned at least 100 yards away from school buildings. For bingo enthusiasts, the minimum legal age is 19 while pull-tabs fall under the regulations of Alaska Statutes §§05.15.180 and 05.15.187, which were updated on June 26th, 1993 that increased their minimum legal gambling age from 19 to 21 years old.


It is important to understand the legal age restrictions for various forms of gambling in Arizona. Selling lottery tickets to minors is considered a misdemeanor under Arizona Revised Statutes §5-515, but it is not illegal to gift a lottery ticket to someone under 18. Pari-mutuel betting is legal at the age of 18 according to the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc’s report. However, Arizona Revised Statutes §5-112 prohibits minors from participating in pari-mutuel wagering. Similarly, Indian casinos in Arizona have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old as per tribal compacts with the state. Charities are also allowed to operate casino nights within certain legal parameters. It is important for those involved in these industries to remain informed and comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding gambling and minors.


According to Arkansas’s horse racing statute, individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from participating in pari-mutuel or certificate system wagering. However, it remains unclear whether minors are allowed to attend horse races or not. The dog racing equivalent prohibits employing minors and bars their patronage at race tracks. This language suggests a closer prohibition against children being present on site. Relevant sections of Arkansas Statutes include §§23-110-405 and 23-111-308.


In regard to California’s Lottery, a strict set of regulations has been put in place to combat youth gambling. It is unlawful for anyone under the age of 18 years to buy or sell tickets or shares in any Lottery Games. In the event that a Lottery Game is sold by a retailer or employee, they must take necessary precautions to guarantee that sales are not made to minors. Similarly, vending machines and other devices will have established safeguards in place as ordered by the Commission so as to ensure that underage individuals do not operate them. Furthermore, all Lottery Game tickets and shares must display a warning stating that it is prohibited by state law for persons below the age of 18 years old to purchase or receive prize money from any such games.

In order to maintain compliance with California law, it’s important to note that no individual under the age of 18 shall receive any prize for gambling. It should be noted that the age limit of 18 for horse races was set by regulations from the Racing Control Board, not through legislation. For casinos, cities and counties have the option to license gaming clubs offering non-banked table games. In most cases, these establishments require individuals to be at least 21 years old. However, there is a state restriction prohibiting operators and owners younger than 18 from owning or running these businesses. Indian tribes are operating slot machines without compacts but can change their own age requirements as they see fit. Currently, California law prohibits minors (ages 18 and under) from participating in bingo games per Penal Code §326.5.


In Colorado, it is strictly prohibited to sell a lottery ticket to anyone under the age of 18. Likewise, purchasing or selling a pari-mutuel ticket to minors is also considered illegal. For privately owned casinos limited to three little mountain towns with $5 maximum bets, only individuals who are at least 21 years old can participate per signed compacts with two Indian tribes. While underage individuals are not permitted to play bingo or buy pull tabs in Colorado, they may still assist in conducting such activities if they are at least 14 years old, as outlined by the state law §12-9-107.

It should be noted that any prize won by someone under 18 years of age who has purchased a winning ticket in violation of section 24-35-214(1)(c) will be forfeited. However, if a person entitled to a prize or has possession of a winning ticket is under 18 years old, the director may direct payment by delivering it to an adult member of their family or their guardian through a check or draft.


Autotote, a private company, manages Connecticut’s off-track betting operation and accepts telephone bets nationwide. In Connecticut, only players above 18 years old are allowed to participate in lottery games. For pari-mutuel betting on sports like jai-alai or racing, it is prohibited by law for anyone under 18 to bet, and minors are not allowed in any establishment during off-track betting according to General Statutes §12-576. “Las Vegas Nights” charity events are limited to players over 18 years of age only as per Connecticut General Statutes §186a. The statutes also ban minors under 16 from being present in a gambling room. Two Indian tribes have signed compacts with the state: the Foxwoods casino belonging to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe is the world’s most profitable casino with an age limit of 21 for players playing blackjack, craps, and other games along with 4,000 slots machines. Only individuals above 18 years old can buy bingo and pull-tab tickets according to Connecticut General Statutes §7-169h.


When it comes to the lottery in Delaware, the state has some of the strongest restrictions in place. In fact, their 18-year-old age limit is even enshrined in the state constitution. Although Delaware law prohibits the sale of lottery tickets to anyone under 18 years old, it does permit those who are 18 or older to purchase a ticket for gifting purposes. For pari-mutuel betting and slot machines, racetracks generally enforce an age limit of 18; however, recent changes in legislation have allowed video lottery machines with a higher age limit of 21. As for charitable bingo games, participants must be at least 18 years old if cash prizes are involved. However, teens aged 16 and above may participate if merchandise is being awarded instead. These statutes are all outlined in Delaware Code Title 29 and Title 28, respectively.

District of Columbia

To participate in lotteries, players must be over 18 years of age. In the District of Columbia, charities can host bingo and “Monte Carlo Night Parties” as long as the minimum age for participation and attendance is 18. However, minors under the age of 18 may be accompanied by an adult to these events. This is all according to D.C. Code §2-2534.


In the state of Florida, there are specific laws and regulations regarding age restrictions for certain kinds of gambling. Lottery participation is restricted to individuals over 18 years of age. Pari-mutuel betting, which includes dog and horse tracks and jai-alai, is also off-limits to those under 18. However, minors may be allowed to enter these establishments if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Similarly, bingo games are strictly off-limits to anyone under 18, and their involvement in the conduct of such games is prohibited by law in Florida Statutes §849.0931. It’s essential to abide by these legal restrictions when it comes to these forms of gambling in order to comply with state law.


The state legislature has enacted a unique law creating civil liability along with the more common criminal punishments. “A parent shall have a right of action against any person who shall play and bet at any game of chance with his minor child for money or any other thing of value without the parent’s permission.” Georgia Code §51-1-18.


Out of all the states in the United States, only Hawaii, Utah, and Tennessee do not permit commercial gambling. Social gambling is legal in Hawaii, but limited to individuals who are at least 18 years old according to Hawaii Revised Statutes §712-1231.


It’s worth noting that the Coeur d’Alene tribe has launched the “US Lottery,” which is accessible via both phone and internet. It’s essential to recognize that Idaho Code §67-7413 strictly prohibits knowingly selling lottery tickets to those under the age of 18. Furthermore, minors are not authorized to engage in pari-mutuel gambling, as stated by Idaho Code §54-2512. For bingo games where the winning prize goes above $25.00 in merchandise value, players under 18 will not be eligible for a cash prize. However, younger individuals are welcome to participate in bingo games with monetary prizes of lesser worth.


Illinois has a unique definition of a minor according to the horse racing statutes, which state that a minor is any individual under 17 years of age. When it comes to casino gambling, there is also a distinction between games run by charities and those run for profit on riverboats—age requirements are 18 and 21, respectively. Regarding the lottery, selling tickets to anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited; however, adults may purchase tickets as gifts for minors. If a person under the age of 18 wins a prize of less than $2500, payment can be made to an adult member of their family or guardian. For prizes exceeding $2500, payment will be made directly to the minor’s guardian as per Illinois Revised Statutes chapter 20, §§1605/15 and 1605/18.

Charitable Casinos in Illinois

Charitable casinos in Illinois are a vital contributor to the economy, generating millions of dollars each year. The “Charitable Games Act” allows for a range of games including poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette, to name a few. There is also the opportunity to play pull tabs, beat the dealer, big six, chuck-a-luck, and many more. Unlike for-profit riverboat casinos that have an age limit of 21 years or older, charity casinos in Illinois are open to all individuals who are at least 18 years old. These regulations fall under Illinois Revised Statutes chapter 230 (§ 30/8). Additionally, bingo and pull tabs are available with a minimum age requirement of 18 as per Illinois Revised Statutes chapter 230 (§§20/4 and 25/2). Please note that individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or guardian while in an area where bingo is taking place.


When it comes to gambling in Indiana, there are specific age restrictions for each type of betting. Pari-mutuel betting allows children as young as 16 to work if their parent or legal guardian has a license from the racing commission. As for casinos, although none are currently in operation, the minimum age requirement for an occupational license is 18, and those under 21 are prohibited from being in the areas where gambling takes place. Finally, bingo and pull tabs restrict players to be over the age of 18 as per Indiana Code and Department of State Revenue regulations.


According to the Iowa Code, there are strict regulations in place regarding the age limits for various types of gambling. Lottery tickets cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18, although adults may purchase them as gifts. Pari-mutuel betting is prohibited for individuals under 18 years old and no one may knowingly permit a minor to make such a wager. In Iowa’s riverboat casinos, the minimum gambling age was raised from 18 to 21 in 1989, and it is illegal for licensees to allow minors to participate in or even be near areas where gambling occurs. However, there are exceptions for games of chance at carnivals where non-cash prizes worth up to $25 can be awarded without any age restrictions. The same applies for bingo where cash prizes are limited to $100 and jackpots up to $800 can be offered.


According to the general law in Kansas, a minor is defined as someone under 21 years old. However, when it comes to legal and illegal gambling, the age is lowered to 18. Specifically, for the state lottery, individuals must be at least 18 years old and it’s prohibited to use anyone under that age for advertising or promotion purposes. The same goes for pari-mutuel betting with children being barred from buying tickets and selling them to minors considered a crime. As for casinos in Kansas, there is currently no mention of minimum age limits amid ongoing discussions about Indian casinos in the state.


It is important to be aware of the age restrictions for gambling in Kentucky. According to state law, it is illegal to sell lottery tickets to individuals under 18 years of age. However, adults can purchase these tickets on behalf of minors. Pari-mutuel betting does not have any age restrictions, but those under 18 are only allowed to consume alcohol and cannot participate in any form of betting. For race tracks, the legal minimum age for betting is 18 years old. Bingo has more lenient requirements; individuals over 18 can play with or without parents present, however, only non-cash prizes are permitted. It is essential that one follows these guidelines to avoid any legal issues related to underage gambling in Kentucky.


Recent legislation in the state has raised the minimum age for certain forms of gambling. In the past, casino gaming was only permissible for individuals over 21 years old.


In theory, you need to be 18 in Maine to gamble. In practice law doesn’t work and minors can buy tickets without penalties, but adults who buy them for minors can be punished while accidental selling to minors has no consequences. Penalties apply only to knowingly complicit agents, with just a maximum $200 civil fine


As is common practice in other states, it is now a requirement in our state that lottery tickets shall not be sold to any individual under the age of 18, unless when purchased by an adult as a gift for younger individuals. Additionally, the minimum age required to sell lottery tickets is 21 years old. Maryland’s bingo regulations are somewhat unique; specific statutes have been passed for each individual county instead of having one overarching state law governing all counties. Furthermore, some of these statutes actually permit sixteen-year-olds to participate in bingo games.


Gambling laws in Massachusetts prohibit lottery ticket sales to under-18s and require lottery sellers to be at least 21. Minors cannot attend horse and dog races or play Beano. Casino gambling is only open to those aged 21 and above. These laws ensure the safety and protection of all gamblers in the state.


In the state of Michigan, it’s against the law to sell any form of lottery ticket to anyone under the age of 18. Adults are allowed to purchase these tickets as gifts for minors. The state’s regulations on pari-mutuel betting, “Millionaire parties,” bingo, and pull tabs also have strict age restrictions in place. Furthermore, gambling is strictly prohibited for anyone under the age of 18, according to Michigan law.


Following the signing of the compacts, the state legislature introduced a law that mandated that Indian casinos only be accessible to adults over 21. Additionally, if more than half of the tribes agreed to this minimum age requirement, all other forms of legal gambling in the state would also be raised from 18 to 21. The tribes viewed this as an attempt to force them to re-open negotiations for the compacts and therefore declined to raise the minimum age. So, for now, you have to be at least 18 to gamble in Minnesota.


Mississippi upholds stringent regulations regarding minors and casinos that infringe upon the law. In the event of an underage individual participating in gambling activities, any winnings obtained are forfeited by the minor, while the casino is prohibited from using the defense of assuming the individual was over 21 years old.


Missouri has two rules for riverboat casinos. Cities can choose to ban minors from entering. If a minor gambles and loses money, their parent can take legal action to get the money back. The rules align with the Excursion Gambling Boat Statute. People under 21 can’t gamble or enter gambling areas on these boats, but employees over 18 can enter for work reasons. However, those under 21 can’t be dealers or take bets. Breaking these rules is a misdemeanor in Missouri.


Individuals who are under 18 years of age are prohibited from taking part in gambling activities, either intentionally or knowingly. Furthermore, operators are strictly prohibited from allowing individuals under the age of 18 to engage in any form of gambling. As per the regulations set forth by the Video Gaming Machine Control Law, operators are obliged to ensure that gaming devices are positioned in a manner that prevents access by minors.


In Nebraska, there is a unique arrangement regarding lotteries. While the state itself does not have a lottery, it permits villages, cities, and counties to operate their own lotteries. The minimum age to purchase a ticket for these lotteries is 19. However, there is an exception for charity lotteries and raffles, where the minimum age to buy a ticket is 18. This distinction can be found in Nebraska Revised Statutes §§9-646, 9-810, and 9-814 in comparison with §9-345, 9-430, and 9-426.
It’s important to note that it is considered a minor misdemeanor for individuals under the age of 19 to knowingly purchase a governmental lottery ticket. Additionally, selling governmental lottery tickets to minors is classified as a more serious misdemeanor offense. Unlike most states that allow adults to purchase lottery tickets as gifts or remain silent on this issue altogether, Nebraska explicitly prohibits anyone from buying tickets for individuals under the age of 19.
When it comes to pari-mutuel betting, assisting or supporting a minor in making such wagers is also considered a misdemeanor offense under Nebraska Revised Statutes §2-1207.
For bingo and pull tab games, the minimum age requirement is 18. Lotteries are permitted to sell “pickle cards” or pull tabs. The state of Nebraska also allows keno games which have grown into a significant industry.


According to Nevada Revised Statutes §129.130, individuals under 21 are prohibited from participating in gaming or being employed in the gaming industry. Additionally, Section 205.460 states that it is illegal to allow a person under 21 to enter a gambling establishment or engage in any form of gambling within such an establishment. Furthermore, Section 609.210 specifies that anyone who employs, exhibits, or has custody over a minor for exhibition or employment within a casino area where gaming occurs or the sale of alcoholic beverages is the primary commercial activity is guilty of a misdemeanor offense. This applies to parents, relatives, guardians, employers, and any person responsible for the care and control of a minor unless the minor’s presence in the casino area is solely intended to provide entertainment as part of an employment contract.

New Jersey

Under New Jersey Statutes §5:12-119, Atlantic City casinos are required to restrict access to individuals who are not of legal drinking age, which is currently 21 years old. The state imposes strict liability for all non-criminal procedures, including administrative fines. However, it should be noted that a casino can claim ignorance of a minor’s age only when facing criminal charges. Compliance with these regulations is essential to ensure the safety and integrity of the casino environment.

New Mexico

According to the current compacts, Indian casinos in India are obligated to enforce a minimum gambling age of 21 for all players.

New York

The state of New York has recently entered into a partnership with the Oneida tribe, leading to the establishment of an Indian casino that focuses exclusively on table games, without any slot machines. Known as Turning Stone, this casino has achieved remarkable success and is widely regarded as one of the most profitable table-games-only casinos in existence. In addition to this, New York also permits off-track betting operations to accept telephone wagers from individuals across the country. Furthermore, charitable organizations are granted permission to host casino nights, provided that attendees are at least 18 years old.

North Dakota

According to North Dakota Century Code §53-06.1-07.1, individuals under the age of 21 are prohibited from participating in games such as pull-tabs, punchboards, twenty-one, sports pools, paddlewheels, or poker, whether directly or indirectly. However, low-limit blackjack for charitable purposes is widely available across the state. Additionally, tribes have established full-scale casinos by compacts.


Ohio law strictly prohibits the sale of lottery tickets or chances to individuals under 18. Similarly, those who are currently 18 are not allowed to participate in pari-mutuel betting. Age restrictions for bingo games include requiring participants and operators at senior centers to be at least 60 years old, while employees at other bingo halls must be over 18. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for the integrity and legality of these activities in Ohio.


Age restrictions for video poker and gambling activities vary. Usually, you must be 21 or older to play video poker due to liquor license regulations. However, some Indian/State casinos allow 18-year-olds to play video poker and other games. Bingo and blackjack may also have a minimum age of 18. One Indian casino allows 18-year-olds to gamble, while others have restrictions. The minimum age for blackjack will eventually be raised to 21. Aside from Indian casinos, Oregon has cardrooms for poker and blackjack, but it is a crime to involve anyone under 18.


Pennsylvania has age limits for different types of gambling. Under 18s cannot buy lottery tickets, but adults can give them as gifts to minors. Lottery agents must be at least 21. Pari-mutuel betting also has age limits, with parents or guardians allowed to accompany under 18s. Casinos have a minimum age limit of 18 under the “Small Games of Chance Act.” Generally, those under 18s can’t play bingo unless accompanied by an adult.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico allows various forms of gambling, such as cockfights, bolitas, and casinos. In an unusual twist, the government itself operates the slot machines in the casinos. However, there are age restrictions for each type of gambling. The lottery is prohibited for those under 18 years old according to Puerto Rico Laws. Pari-mutuel betting does not have a specified age limit, but the minimum age is reported to be 18 by the state’s racing commissioners. Casinos are not allowed to advertise or admit anyone under 18 years old, although this restriction was deemed constitutional by the US Supreme Court. Bingo is considered a gambling game and is subject to the same 18-year-old age limit as other games under Puerto Rico Laws.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, the state lottery has video lottery terminals, but only adults over 18 are allowed to play. Selling lottery tickets to minors is prohibited, but adults can gift tickets to minors. Lottery agents must be over 21. For pari-mutuel betting and simulcast, no one under 18 is allowed and minors cannot participate in any other betting system. Minors are also not allowed to play bingo and pull tabs.

South Carolina

Access to casino games is restricted to individuals aged 21 and above.


Tennessee had enacted legislation permitting horse racing; however, this legislation contained a sunset provision that resulted in its expiration prior to the licensing or construction of any racetrack. A specific age restriction was clearly articulated in Code §4-36-310, which stated that individuals under the age of 18 were prohibited from placing bets at race meetings.


The sale of lottery tickets is restricted to individuals who are 18 years or older, as stated in the Texas Government Code §466.253. However, adults are allowed to gift lottery tickets to minors. When it comes to pari-mutuel betting, the minimum age for placing bets is aligned with the minimum age for purchasing alcoholic drinks. As per the Texas Civil Code Art. 179d, it is prohibited for any person to knowingly allow individuals under 18 to enter a bingo parlor, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian who is over 18.


In accordance with the Code of Virginia, it is strictly prohibited to sell or redeem lottery tickets to anyone under the age of 18. Violators of this provision are subject to a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Additionally, individuals under 18 are not allowed to engage in pari-mutuel betting on horse races, as outlined in Code of Virginia §59.1-403. For bingo and pull tabs, players must be over the age of 18 in order to participate, as specified by Code of Virginia §18.2-340.5. These laws are in place to ensure that age restrictions are upheld and followed within these gambling activities.


Wisconsin has entered into contractual agreements with various tribes, allowing for the operation of full-scale, high-stakes casinos. These agreements were initially established in 1998 and have since been renewed periodically. During the renewal process, the state advocated for higher financial contributions from the tribes and raised the minimum gambling age from 18 to 21. Currently, a majority of the state’s tribes, specifically eleven out of fifteen, have agreed to these revised terms.


What is the minimum legal age to enter a casino worldwide?

The minimum legal age to enter a casino varies by country and can range from 13 years to 25 years or older. Some countries, like Japan, require individuals to be at least 20 years old, Canada sets the legal age at 19, while in the UK and some US states, individuals must be at least 18 years old. It’s essential to check the specific regulations for each country or state.

What is the legal age to gamble in the United States?

The legal age to gamble in the United States varies by state. For instance, in Alabama, the minimum age for pari-mutuel betting varies by county but is typically 18 or 19. In Alaska, you must be at least 18 to play slot machines and 19 for bingo. Store-bought lottery tickets typically require the buyer to be at least 18. However, it’s important to research the specific regulations for each state as they can significantly vary.

What are the restrictions for minors in casinos?

Minors are generally not allowed to gamble, enter areas where gambling takes place, or even stay unaccompanied in casinos. This includes not only gaming areas but also areas serving alcohol. However, some casinos may allow minors to pass through casino floors to access other facilities, such as restaurants.

What are the penalties for underage gambling?

Penalties for underage gambling can include fines, community service, or even jail time in some jurisdictions. Additionally, casinos or venues caught allowing underage gambling could face heavy fines, suspension, or loss of their gaming license, and potentially lose the right to operate.

Can adults buy lottery tickets for minors as gifts in the U.S.?

In many U.S. states, although it’s illegal to sell lottery tickets directly to minors, adults can technically buy them as gifts for minors. However, in the event of a win, the legal adult who purchased the

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