Legal Gambling Age

What Is The Legal Gambling Age?

The legal gambling age in the United States and in Canada is in most cases 18 or 21, or somewhere in between. The legal gambling age is set by the states and provinces, and not by the federal governments. The legal age not only varies from state to state and province to province, but sometimes depends upon the type of gambling being done, as well as where it is being done. In some states that have casino gambling some casinos have different rules than others as far as the legal gambling age is concerned.


Poker – Skill Or Chance? - One of the more interesting issues when it comes to gambling and the legal age of gambling has to do with the game of poker, or more specifically which kind of poker is being played. An argument is often made that the rules of gambling should not apply to poker, as poker is a game of skill as much as it is a game of chance. Some kinds of poker involve more chance than others of course, and some kinds of poker are not legal in certain states. In many states, those under 18 can play poker as long as it is "free" poker, in other words played for chips, with no money changing hands.

Lottery Rules - In most states, anyone 18 or older can participate in the lottery, though the legal age in a few states is 21. One who is younger may be able to purchase a ticket, but would have to show ID to receive any winnings, and probably would be refused. In most states the minimum legal age for paramutual betting is the same as that for playing the lottery. Illinois is a curios exception. To purchase a lottery ticket one must be at least 18 years of age, but a 17 year old can legally bet on the horses.

In most states the legal gambling age is 21 when casino gambling is involved, though 18 is the legal age in a few states. In Canada the legal gambling age for casinos is 19 in some provinces and 18 in others. In Hawaii, there is no gambling of any kind, or at least a minimum age has not been established. Online poker is legal however, though no minimum age is cited.

Casinos Are Strict - Most states are quite strict when it comes to enforcing the minimum age rules. Gambling establishments are also usually very strict, especially since they could easily lose their licenses if underage gambling was permitted or encouraged. The minimum legal gambling age in Nevada is 21, and the casinos and clubs in Las Vegas are very strict in adhering to those rules. If you are underage and gamble, you have to show proof of your age to collect your winnings, and if that proof isn't forthcoming, the house will keep the winnings and the gambler will be asked (or told) not to come back. It doesn't make any difference if one is close to 21. If your 21st birthday is tomorrow, you can't gamble and collect winnings in Las Vegas today. Neither can you gamble today at the age of 20, and go to collect your winnings tomorrow morning on your 21st birthday. In Las Vegas someone under 21 can't even loiter in a casino, and while in a casino will be confined to areas away from where the action is.

Online Poker - Online poker is allowed in most states, an exception being Kentucky where it isn't exactly illegal but isn't legal either, and Utah, where although gambling is prohibited, online poker while frowned upon, is not. One still has to give proof of ones age to collect winnings from online poker and the minimum legal gambling age is that established by the state one is the resident of.