How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble in USA?

The legal gambling age varies depending on the country. But the query “How old do you have to be to gamble?” keeps coming up because there are several locations both abroad and in the United States where you may wager.

Given that the legal gambling age in the USA differs by state, this question can be challenging to answer. Each state has a separate gambling regulating authority, and each gambling category is subject to its own set of restrictions.

You can find out exactly how old you have to be in the United States as well as in other countries across the world to gamble in a casino, play real money poker, and wager on your favorite sports in the table below.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble in the United States?

StateCasinoPokerSports Betting
Georgia18 (on cruise ships)18
New Hampshire211818
New Jersey212121
New Mexico212121
New York212118
North Carolina212121
North Dakota18-2118-2121
Rhode Island181818
South Dakota18 (at tribal casinos)21
South Carolina21 (on cruise ships)18
West Virginia212121

Depending on the state and the type of gambling you want to do, different activities in the United States have different legal gambling ages. In most U.S. states, this is often either 18 or 21. For all legal activities, including casinos, poker, and pari-mutuel betting, the legal gambling age in Las Vegas is 21.

Tribal casinos are free from a few specific laws. While commercial casinos may only let you in if you’re 21, tribal casinos may let you in at age 18 because they have sovereign authority over its operations.

Young individuals who are 18 or older can still take part in activities like bingo, keno, lottery, and more even though certain jurisdictions prohibit casino gambling for those under 21.

Why Do Americans Have to Wait Until 21 in Most Cases to Gamble?

The legal definition of an individual’s status in society is likely the reason why the gambling age is established at 21. Up to the age of adulthood, which is typically 21, a person is under the parental care.

In other words, if a person were to gamble and accrue a sizable gambling debt, his or her parents would be required by law to cover the obligation. The legal gambling age in the USA is generally set at 21, while certain states have changed it based on the activity and the age at which a person is considered an adult.

Minimum Gambling Age for the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, and Europe

It is completely up to each nation to determine its own unique gambling policies, including the legal gambling age. According to the American Gaming Association, there are currently 981 commercial and tribal casinos in the United States. However, there are many other countries and regions in the world that have made gambling legal and implemented various age limitations. Here are a few well-known places where people can gamble:

United Kingdom

  • Gambling age: 18

When it comes to gambling, the UK is one of the most permissive markets in the world. The minimum age to gamble is 18.


  • Gambling age: 18

In Australia, people as young as 18 are permitted to gamble and use casino and sports betting services. However, there are few exceptions for sports and horse racing betting, and online gambling is prohibited in the nation.

Hong Kong and Macau

  • Gambling age: 21

While Macau and Hong Kong are regarded as special administrative zones with the ability to engage in gambling, China officially prohibits all forms of gambling other from the national lottery.


  • Gambling Age: 16-21

Europe is made up of a variety of legal systems with varying gaming regulations. The majority of nations consider 18 to be a good age, while some, like Estonia and Denmark, allow people as young as 16 to take part in certain betting competitions. Portugal, however, requires that gamblers be at least 21 years old.

Should I Gamble If I Am Not of the Legal Age?

Young people who gambling should be aware that they could face legal consequences or could get their parents or guardians in legal trouble.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, and regardless of whether the crime is made possible through underground gambling networks or not, a person who does not fulfill the standards for legal gambling age is, for all intents and purposes, committing a crime.

It’s interesting that even if an offshore operator doesn’t have a license to operate in your state or nation, you may still bet through them and access a selection of online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks.

If you are under 21, this may be an alternative since many of them simply need that you be at least 18 years old. However, you should always confirm if it is lawful to do so with your local state authorities.