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How Old Do You Have To Be To Gamble?

The gambling age in the United States varies depending on the state with its own regulations. There is no specific federal law regarding the gambling age, with over 50 states having their own regulations. Tribal casinos typically adhere to federal law and state compacts, allowing a minimum gambling age of 18. The legal gambling age range is usually from 18 to 21 and may vary for different types of gambling such as sports betting, lotteries, or online casinos. “How old do you have to be to gamble?” and what are the common nationwide regulations? Read on in the article by bestsoccertips below!

Overview of Gambling Age Requirements

States may allow different forms of gambling within their respective borders, with the backing of state laws regarding legal gambling age.

Since 2018, there has been an expansion in the history of legal gambling in the United States. Over three dozen jurisdictions permit some form of sports betting, with 29 states allowing online sports betting. Prior to 2018, single-game sports betting was limited to Nevada.

How old do you have to be to gamble?
How old do you have to be to gamble?

Most forms of online gambling involving real money typically require the bettor to be 21 years old. This holds true for sports betting and online casino gambling in most legal markets. Meanwhile, online gambling forms adjacent to other gambling like horse betting, lotteries, and DFS often have a minimum age under 20.

Retail gambling age varies the most depending on the legal jurisdiction. Commercial casinos such as those in Las Vegas cater to those over 21, while other retail casinos, often owned or operated by a Native American tribe, allow those over 18.

No form of legal gambling is permitted for minors.

Legal Online Sports Betting Age by State

Online sports betting websites typically have a legal age requirement of 21, though there are exceptions.

Below is a list of states with their respective legal age for online sports betting.

  • Arizona: 21.
  • Arkansas: 21.
  • Colorado: 21.
  • Connecticut: 21.
  • Delaware: 21.
  • Florida: 21.
  • Illinois: 21.
  • Indiana: 21.
  • Iowa: 21.
  • Kansas: 21.
  • Kentucky: 18.
  • Louisiana: 21.
  • Maine: 21.
  • Maryland: 21.
  • Massachusetts: 21.
  • Michigan: 21.
  • Nevada: 21.
  • New Hampshire: 18.
  • New Jersey: 21.
  • New York: 21.
  • Ohio: 21.
  • Oregon: 21.
  • Pennsylvania: 21.
  • Rhode Island: 18.
  • Tennessee: 21.
  • Vermont: 21.
  • Virginia: 21.
  • Washington, DC: 18.
  • West Virginia: 21.
  • Wyoming: 18.
How old do you have to be to gamble online?
How old do you have to be to gamble online?

Note: In addition to being above the minimum age, you must be within a state’s borders to place sports bets. You don’t need to reside in a state to place bets there. You can bet if you’re accessing.

Sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM may have their own minimum age requirement set at 18+ in states where allowed. For example, FanDuel has a consistent minimum age of 21 regardless of the market.

How Online Sports Betting Confirms Your Age

At a retail casino, patrons present their ID to enter. It’s obviously different for online platforms.

When you sign up for an online betting website or casino, you provide personal information to confirm your age. Prepare to register with your full name, email, date of birth, social security number, and a government-issued photo ID. Operators will use these details to confirm:

  • You are who you say you are.
  • You are of legal age to gamble in the legal jurisdiction.
  • You’re not creating a duplicate player account.

The identity verification process usually takes a few minutes. Most online sports betting states allow this process to be completed remotely. Nevada is a notable exception where online sports bettors must register directly at a casino.

Online Casino Age Requirements

Six states oversee online casino gambling activities like blackjack and slots: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Meanwhile, Nevada allows online poker.

All six states with online casinos require patrons to be at least 21 years old to play. The age verification process is essentially similar to the sports betting process.

If you’re using an online casino from an operator that also provides sports betting, you can often access both types of betting through one account. One registration will handle both sports betting and online casino gambling.

Online Poker

Legal online poker is on par in Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. All six states set the minimum age for online poker at 21.

Thus, PokerStars and, the most popular managed poker sites in the US, have a legal age requirement of 21. Meanwhile, offshore illegal poker sites allow players aged 18 and older.

Note: Connecticut permits online poker under state law, but no operators are licensed. Therefore, online poker is currently prohibited in Connecticut.

Sweepstakes Casinos

In states without legal online casinos, you may come across websites labeled as “sweepstakes.” These platforms exploit a controversial loophole in current laws to operate (at present).

For example, Chumba Casino, Pulsz Casino, and LuckyLand Slots use this gray market model. Gamblers purchase virtual currency to play online casino games with a chance to win cash prizes, but technically, you’re not wagering with real money.

Sweepstakes websites state their minimum age as 18. This comes into effect when you request a cash prize as the website will verify your age and identity before sending your prize.

Retail Casino Age Requirements

Mainland commercial casinos typically set their gambling age at 21. Generally, businesses enforce a minimum gambling age of 21 to comply with state laws. Additionally, 21 is the legal drinking age in most states, so casinos set a minimum age to allow alcohol consumption on the premises.

Retail Casino Age Requirements
Retail Casino Age Requirements

However, tribal casinos often have more flexibility with legal gambling ages. In many states, tribal-operated casinos set slightly lower gambling ages, often at 18 or 19 years old. In some cases, this means that the establishments will not serve alcohol.

Here are some states that offer land-based gambling services for individuals over 18 to varying extents:

  • California: Some tribal cardrooms and casinos.
  • Florida: Poker and bingo within casinos.
  • Idaho: Tribal casinos.
  • Michigan: Some tribal casinos.
  • Minnesota: Some tribal casinos.
  • Montana: Land-based casinos.
  • Oklahoma: Some casinos.
  • Rhode Island: Land-based casinos.
  • Washington: Some tribal casinos.
  • Wyoming: Land-based casinos.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)

Before the expansion of sports betting, DraftKings and FanDuel were budding operators in daily fantasy sports (DFS). They still offer these services in many states, even in states where sports betting is not legal.

Other reputable DFS sites include Thrive Fantasy, Boom Fantasy, and Parlay Fantasy.

DFS is permitted in most markets for anyone aged 18 and older. It’s an alternative option if you’re not old enough to bet on sports. However, there are still some exceptions.

  • Nebraska and Alabama set their minimum DFS age at 19.
  • Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and Massachusetts set the minimum age at 21.

Online and Live Horse Racing

Horse racing uses pari-mutuel betting, meaning the odds and corresponding payouts can change depending on when the race starts.

This differs from sports betting, where your bet has a fixed payout when you place it. That payout will be honored if you win, regardless of any changes between your bet placement and the event start time.

As such, horse racing must adhere to different laws. Generally, betting on horse racing—whether live at racetracks, off-track betting facilities, or through online platforms like TwinSpires or FanDuel Racing—is available to bettors aged 18 and older.

Some states set slightly higher minimum ages. Arizona, Iowa, Nevada, and Texas require bettors to be 21 or older for horse racing betting.


In conclusion, the landscape of gambling and sports betting in the United States is complex, with varying age requirements depending on the type of gambling and the state in which it takes place. While traditional retail casinos typically set a minimum age of 21, tribal casinos often offer more flexibility, sometimes allowing gambling at 18 or 19 years old. Online sports betting and daily fantasy sports platforms usually require users to be at least 18, but there are exceptions in certain states where the minimum age is 19 or 21. Additionally, the age requirement for horse racing betting also varies by state, with most allowing betting at 18 but some requiring bettors to be 21 or older. Overall, understanding the age requirements for different forms of gambling is essential for anyone looking to participate legally and responsibly in these activities across the United States.

See more: 5 Best VPN for sports betting and gambling in 2024