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US Gambling Regulations

Gambling activity is legal under federal law; however, as mentioned before, each state is allowed to place restrictions. Such restrictions are usually imposed by the states’ Gambling Commissions, which are also responsible for licensing of operators, as well as dealing with any irregularities and complaints.

Some states such as New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have also set up state-run online casino sites. These casino sites are subject to stricter licensing laws since they are state-run and are considered as the safest and most secure for players.

Gambling in the US

Online Casinos vs Land-Based Casinos

In most countries, the legal age for gambling is 18. Still, it can differ from place to place, depending on the conditions and requirements of the specific gambling commissions and national legislation. Distinctions can also be made between gambling ages according to different categories of casinos. Different types of casinos in different gambling markets show a variety of ages ranging from 18 to 21, and sometimes even 22.

Similarly, while you might be allowed to gamble legally in an online casino of your choice, you might not be able to able to legally gamble in a land-based casino in a specific state or jurisdiction. This is why it is of utmost importance for gamblers to read up on the legal gambling age wherever they decide to embark on their gambling journey.

Online Casinos Legal Gambling Age

The gambling age limits in online casinos can be a bit confusing to understand since it all depends on where you’re gambling. A person in Europe is usually able to access and gamble at an online casino if they are at least 18 years old; however, in US states, players cannot wager at online casinos if they are under 21.

Most online casinos declare the legal gambling age the moment you visit the site, but if that is not the case, players should make sure that they are above the legal gambling age set by the online gambling site by reading through their regulations.

US online casinos typically ask for documents as proof of age and identity which could include (but are not limited to) driver’s license, address of residence and social security number.

Online casinos VS land based casinos legal age

Land-based Casinos

The rules are a bit clearer and easier to understand when it comes to the land-based casinos in the different states, such as New Jersey. Not only do all of the states in America have different minimum age requirements and allow different types of gambling, but the minimum age limit also differs concerning different slots, table games, video machines, and pull tabs. It is crucial for you, as a gambler, to familiarize yourself with them.

Some states allow casinos (usually tribal casinos) to accept players who are under 21 but over 18 years, other casinos who are permitted to allow players who are 18 years old are not allowed to serve any alcohol within the premises.

Legal gambling age by each US state

The table below illustrates the minimum age limit required for gambling by different states. It also shows the legal gambling ages for different categories of gambling, including online casinos in the US, poker rooms, lotteries, and betting on races.

In some instances, where no information is available, the table states N/A. The average age in the states is 18 years but varies between 18-21. Maine and Oklahoma set the minimum age limit for bingo as low as 16 years of age.

State Casinos Poker Bingo Lottery Racetrack
Alabama 21 21 18 N/A 18
Alaska 21 N/A 19 N/A N/A
Arizona 21 21 18 21 21
Arkansas 21 21 18 18 18
California 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Colorado 21 21 18 18 18
Connecticut 21 21 18 18 18
Delaware 21 18/21 18 18 18
Florida 21 18 18 18 18
Georgia 18 (cruises only) 18 18 18 18
Hawaii 21 21 18 18 18
Idaho 18 18 18 18 18
Illinois 21 21 18 18 18
Indiana 21 21 18 18 18
Iowa 21 21 18 21 21
Kansas 21 21 18 18 18
Kentucky N/A N/A 18 18 18
Louisiana 21 21 18 21 18
Maine 21 21 18 18 18
Maryland 21 21 18 18 18
Massachusetts 21 21 18 18 18
Michigan 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Minnesota 18 18 18 18 18
Mississippi 21 21 18 N/A 18
Missouri 21 21 18 18 18
Montana 18 18 18 18 18
Nebraska 21 21 18 19 19
Nevada 21 21 21 N/A N/A
New Hampshire 21 18 18 18 18
New Jersey 21 21 18 18 18
New Mexico 21 21 No Limit 18 18
New York 21 21 18 18 18
North Carolina 21 21 18 18 N/A
North Dakota 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Ohio 18/21 18/21 18 18 18
Oklahoma 18 18 16 18 18
Oregon 21 18 18 18 18
Pennsylvania 21 21 18 18 18
Rhode Island 21 21 18 18 18
South Carolina 21 (cruises only) 18 18 18 N/A
South Dakota 18 (Indian casinos only) 21 18 18 18
Tennesse N/A N/A 18 18 N/A
Texas 21 21 21 18 18
Utah 21 21 18 N/A N/A
Vermont 21 21 18 18 N/A
Virginia 21 18 18 18 18
Washington 18 18 18 18 18
Maine 21 21 16 18 18
West Virginia 21 21 18 18 18
Wisconsin 21 21 18 18 N/A
Wyoming 21 21 18 18 18

US Online Casinos

For the time being, online casinos are permitted in four states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Delaware. Some states are gearing up to introduce votes on bills that may permit online casinos; however the process is a lengthy one and the bill often gets postponed or vetoed. Therefore, at the moment we cannot say when we expect more states to make online casino gambling legal.

New Jersey Online Casinos

New Jersey has taken the industry by storm ever since online gambling was legalized in February 2013 by Gov. Chris Christie. New Jersey players are allowed to wager on online poker, sports betting and online gambling as long as they are at least 21 years old.

Check out our New Jersey Online Casinos page to get a full detailed guide as to how online gambling is done within the state.

Pennsylvania Online Casinos

Online Gambling in Pennsylvania became fully legal on the 30th of October 2017, when Gov. Tom Wolf signed HB 271. Thus, anyone who is over 21 years old can participate in online casinos, online poker, online sports betting and lottery activities within state borders.

For more information, on online casinos in Pennsylvania, check out our dedicated PA Online Casinos page.

Nevada Online Casinos

Online gambling is a bit of a grey area in Nevada. Players in this state can play at any land-based casino however there are some restrictions for when it comes to online casinos. Players are not allowed to gamble on games of pure chance so for example, online casinos cannot offer slots to players in Nevada. On the other hand, players can place bets on games of skill such as online poker, card games and sports matches as long as they are of legal gambling age; that is, 21 years old.

The Nevada Online Casinos page will give you a detailed guide on what types of gambling are legal, what is not allowed and who regulates the industry within the state borders.

Delaware Online Casinos

The Delaware Lottery oversees the online gambling industry within the state of Delaware. There are two age restrictions for players: those wishing to play with the state lottery must be at least 18 years old, whereas to place wagers on sports matches, casino games and online poker, the player must be at least 21 years old.

Our Delaware Online Casinos page will have all the necessary information pertaining to the state’s regulations.

United States Gambling Age FAQs

For more information, check out our readers’ frequently asked questions below.

How Does the Casino Ensure I am of Gambling Age?

Online casinos use several identification verification methods to ensure that their players are of legal gambling age. Such methods could include asking for documents such as your identity card, driver’s license and address of residence. Most casinos also ask players to include their social security number as part of the casino registration process. Failure to ensure that players are of legal age could cause serious repercussions to the casino including heavy fines and termination of the license.

In Which States Can I Gamble at Online Casinos?

Players can access online casinos if they are within the borders of the following states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada. It is important to note that all of these states have different regulations, so not all casinos within these 4 states can offer the same games and the same terms and conditions to their players.

What Happens If I Get Caught Gambling Underage?

Gambling without being of legal gambling age can cost you thousands of dollars in fines and maybe probation, so it is crucial to make sure that wherever you're gambling, you're of legal age. Moreover, breaking the law will result in you losing all your money, so it is not worth it. This applies to all types of casinos and gambling outlets, including land-based casinos and online casinos.

Robin Storm
Robin Storm
636 Articles
Always on the lookout for the best online casinos and their latest offerings, Robin works hard to make gambling fun and worry-free for all the players. His years of experience working in the industry provides. If he’s not trying out new casinos and playing slots, Robin enjoys testing new recipes and listening to the latest hits. He is very passionate about being able to play casino games in a relaxed and fun way and he is enthusiastic to share in his articles on how to play at casinos and avoid all the hassle.
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