Minimum age for gambling in the United States of America

In the United States of America, the minimum gambling age can vary greatly from state to state. In most states, the minimum age is set at 21 years of age due to national alcohol distribution laws. This age threshold is due to the desire to limit young people’s access to alcohol, which is often available at casinos.

However, there are exceptions. For example, in states like Iowa or Oklahoma, young people can begin participating in some forms of gambling as early as age 18. This includes lotteries, bingo and some types of sports betting. However, access to slot machines and table games in casinos generally remains closed until the age of 21.

It’s important to note that state laws can also affect the availability of gambling in Native American territories, which can set their own rules. Some of these casinos allow gambling from the age of 18, making the provisions even more varied.

Which US states allow gambling from the age of 18?

The United States is characterized by a significant variety of gambling legislation, including age restrictions. Some states allow gambling as early as 18 years of age. This applies mainly to lotteries, bingo and some types of betting. The following are the states where young people can start gambling at the age of 18:

  • California: Here, young people can participate in the lottery, play bingo and bet on horse races.
  • Florida: In this state, it is allowed to participate in the lottery and play bingo from the age of 18. Some casinos in Native American territories are also available.
  • Minnesota: In addition to lottery and bingo, there are some casinos that allow gaming on their premises for persons 18 years of age or older.
  • New York: The state allows access to lotteries and some types of betting on horse racing for those over the age of 18.

These states offer more liberal regulations that allow youth to engage in gambling earlier, which may encourage earlier development of responsible gambling behaviors. It is important to note that despite the lower age threshold in some respects, many forms of gambling, including slot machines and card game tables, still require the age of 21.

Gambling age requirements around the world

Around the world, the age requirements for gambling vary depending on the cultural, legal and economic characteristics of each country. In most European countries, including France and Germany, the legal age for casino gambling is set at 18. Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea also adhere to the age limit of 18, although in South Korea, locals are restricted from entering casinos except for one.


In Japan, gambling is strictly controlled by the government, and most forms of gambling are prohibited. However, there are legalized forms of betting, such as pachinko, lotteries, and betting on horse racing and motorsports, in which you can participate once you reach the age of 20. This age coincides with reaching the age of majority in the country.


Macau is one of the largest gambling centers in the world, and here the minimum age to gamble is 21. This rule applies to residents and tourists alike, emphasizing the city’s commitment to responsible gambling.


In Monaco, despite its status as a mecca for casino lovers, laws strictly regulate participation in gambling. The minimum age to gamble in casinos is 18, but there is an interesting peculiarity: citizens of Monaco are forbidden to gamble in casinos, and this rule is designed to protect the local population from gambling.

Legal age for gambling in Muslim countries

In Muslim countries with Sharia law, gambling is often completely banned based on religious precepts. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran do not allow gambling in any form, making the question of legal age irrelevant. However, in some of these countries, such as the UAE, exceptions include tourist areas where you can find casinos available to foreigners.

Legal age in other European countries

In Europe, the legal age for gambling is set at 18 in most countries. This includes countries such as Germany, France and Italy. However, there are exceptions:

  • UK: here it is possible to participate in some lotteries and sports betting from the age of 16, but you need to be over 18 to enter the casino.
  • Greece: this country has one of the highest age limits for gambling – 23 years.
  • Portugal: here you can gamble from the age of 18, but some casinos require you to be over 21 to enter.

These rules reflect the cultural and legislative specificities of each country to ensure responsible gambling.

Online gambling and age restrictions

In the world of online gambling, age restrictions are often similar to those that apply in physical casinos. Most countries require players to be at least 18 years old to participate in online gambling, but some countries, including the United States and parts of Canada, have raised the bar to 21. Online platforms require age verification to enforce these laws and prevent minors from accessing gambling.

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About the Author

Beckett Emerson Casino Expert
Beckett Emerson

Beckett Emerson, born in Toronto, Canada, on July 27, 1989, is a reputable casino review specialist now living in Las Vegas. 2011 saw him graduate with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Toronto, then fast entered the gambling sector working as a game analyzer. Beckett is well-known for his thorough casino reviews and pieces, which guide players across the convoluted realm of internet gaming.