It might seem that anyone is free to play regular or jackpot slots and various other casino games now that they are readily available online. In reality, online casinos are often just as regulated as brick-and-mortar casinos. Different countries have different gambling laws which specify a gambling age limit for gambling offline and online – which is much like a casino entry age. If you’re wondering what’s the legal age to gamble in different parts of the world, then you’re in luck. Let’s look at the current legal age requirements for playing slots and casino table games around the world.
The minimum gambling age in the USA
When talk turns to the legal gambling age in the USA, most people aren’t sure if it is 18 or 21. The confusion is understandable because it can be either, depending on the state you’re gambling in.
If the minimum age in your state is 21, it could be even lower at a Native American casino. These establishments enjoy sovereignty and exemptions from some US gambling laws and may allow players as young as 18 to enter.
It is critical to ensure you understand and adhere to the different state gambling ages and laws. Don’t be fooled: these laws are not merely guidelines. Depending on the circumstances, if you get it wrong you may be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, a suspension of your driver’s license, probation, community service or even a prison sentence of up to six months.
Even though underage gambling in the US is considered a low-level criminal offense, in some parts of the world, underage gambling is taken much more seriously. Let’s check out legal gambling ages around the world so you can stay on the right side of the law.
What USA states allow gambling at 18?
As mentioned above, the gambling ages in different states in the US can be confusing because they’re not all the same. So, it’s not uncommon for young beginners to seek clarity on where they can legally start gambling. One of the main determinants of whether a casino will allow 18-year-olds is alcohol sales. Typically, brick-and-mortar casinos that sell alcohol have a 21+ casino entry age, whereas those that don’t can be a bit more lax with their age policy.
Below are the states in the US that allow for gambling at 18. It’s important to remember that this is a very concise list and that it’s always better to double-check the legal gambling age before you venture out.
- California, at certain cardrooms and Native American casinos
- Idaho, at Native American casinos
- Michigan, at certain Native American casinos
- Minnesota, at certain Native American casinos
- Montana, at land-based casinos
- Oklahoma, at certain casinos
- Rhode Island, at land-based casinos
- Washington, at certain Native American casinos
- Wyoming, at land-based casinos
Legal gambling ages around the world
Gambling in Japan dates back to the ancient Heian period. One of the earliest gambling games was similar to backgammon. Despite an illustrious gambling history featuring gambling samurai and leaders, gambling in Japan is now prohibited. Fortunately, Japanese pachinko is a worthwhile alternative to slot machines.
Pachinko is a mechanical pinball game invented during World War II which became one of the most lucrative forms of entertainment in the country. Pachinko is still permitted in Japan due to its ties to Japanese heritage and culture.
Japan’s minimum gambling age is 20 in general and 18 for pachinko. Because gambling is perceived negatively in the country, 18-year-olds are discouraged from playing. However, betting on public sports such as horse racing and powerboat racing is permitted in government-licensed venues.
It should come as no surprise that Macau is often referred to as the Monte Carlo of the East or the new gambling capital of the world. Macau has loved and encouraged casino gaming for more than a century. Gambling has been legal in Macau since the 1850s when it was legalized by the Portuguese government. Today Macau is a bucket-list destination for professional and novice gamblers alike and a key player in the future of land-based casinos.
If you’re looking for an elegant and classy casino experience, look no further than Macau’s luxurious hotel-based casinos. Macau residents must be at least 21 years old to gamble in the country. However, tourists can visit casinos if they are 18 years and older. Because Macau is a top gambling destination with elite venues, make sure you read up on the dress code and how to play casino card games before your visit.
When talking about gambling around the world, one can’t ignore Monaco and Monte Carlo. The country is home to the most famous casino in the world, Casino de Monte Carlo. Not wanting to be overshadowed by Macau, Monte Carlo gives visitors a taste of the high–roller lifestyle with luxurious accommodation, fancy cars and super yachts.
Visitors must be at least 18 years old to gamble in Monte Carlo. Since you’ll be playing in the casino where it originated, you should learn more about “the gambler’s fallacy” and what it says about gambler psychology.
Legal gambling age in Muslim countries
The majority of Muslim countries strictly prohibit most forms of gambling. Gambling is forbidden in the Quran and there are severe consequences for illegal and underage gamblers. If you’re a foreigner, you can still enjoy legal forms of gambling such as horse racing, making bets or even playing at casinos in countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
Although gambling is illegal for locals in Malaysia, it is legal for foreigners who are at least 21 years old. In the United Arab Emirates, gambling is prohibited and can incur a two-year jail sentence. Residents secretly use international betting sites to bet on local racing events.
Saudi Arabia is known to have some of the strictest anti-gambling laws. In fact, gambling is considered sinful and offensive, and penalties could include fines, lashes and deportation.
Legal ages in other European countries
Gambling in Europe can be traced back to as early as 500 BC when ancient dice games were depicted in Sophocle’s early writings. Back then, players had to hide and mask gambling activities to escape authorities and avoid judgment from the community. Today, many European countries have legalized gambling and the most common legal gambling age is 18.
In countries such as Belgium, Germany and Ireland, however, you must be 21 years old to gamble and enjoy casino table games and slots. But 21 isn’t the highest age limit. In Greece, players have to be 23 years old, while in Portugal you would need to be as old as 25. Luckily, if you’re a foreigner visiting Portugal, you can legally start gambling at the age of 18.
Online gambling and legal age restrictions
If we’re looking at gambling age requirements, we also have to look at online casino laws as online betting and gambling sites are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. In fact, one UK study found that 17% of the world’s population now gamble online. So, what legal age laws should you follow when you play new casino games online?
In the UK, players 18 and older can join online casinos and take part in virtual poker tables and sports betting. In Canada, players who are at least 19 years old can play at online casinos, but take note that the legal age is 18 in Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba.
In the US, laws governing online gambling are still not fully developed. Only five US states – New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Delaware – regulate online gambling. Other than that, online gambling is legal for players over 21 in most states and players in states such as Montana and Washington can start sports betting when they are 18 years old.
In Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan and Malaysia, online betting is not regulated and players can register with offshore operators to play. Because online gambling is based offshore, the legal age in these Asian countries is 18 for games such as online slots, poker, or sports betting.
The next question that may arise from this is, how can a casino verify your age if you’re playing online? It’s quite similar to the brick-and-mortar process. For online casino age verification, you may be requested to provide or share a picture of your ID when you register. Your details will then be validated to confirm that you are indeed of legal age before you’re permitted to continue to enjoy the full benefits of the online casino.
If it happens that the information and details you provide when registering don’t match your other records, you may be requested to submit further documentation. These may include bank statements or utility bills. At this point, the verification may not be immediate as it may require manual validation and confirmation that you are who you say you are.
So, it’s quite clear that whether you choose to gamble online or in person, you can’t just try your luck and hope you’ll be allowed into the casino if you don’t meet the age requirement. The validation process is stringent for a reason and it’ll be easy to spot you if you’re trying to take chances. This is mainly a form of protection for minors who may not be mentally ready to be introduced to casinos and the ebbs and flows of gambling.
Simplify your casino experience with BetMGM
Underage and illegal gambling is a serious offense. To ensure your online gaming experience is above board, we highly recommend you only register with a regulated, licensed and secure site. BetMGM’s support team is ready to answer all your questions about online age requirements and gambling laws. The best casino games are just a click away. Register to explore our safe and 100% legal online gaming emporium.