The Legal Age for Casino Gambling Around the World

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A roulette wheel with the dealer’s hand above it.
BetMGM Sep 07, 2022, 11:53 PM

It might seem that anyone and everyone is free to play slots and online 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 and age restrictions for gambling offline and on the internet. 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 US

When we talk about the legal gambling age in the US, most people aren’t sure if the legal age is 18 or 21. The answer is it can be either, depending on in which state you are when gambling. 

If the minimum age in your state is 21, it could be even lower at a tribal 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 each state’s gambling age laws. Don’t be fooled; these laws are not merely guidelines. Depending on the circumstances, 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 learn more about legal gambling ages around the globe so you can stay on the right side of the law.

Legal gambling ages around the world

Japan

Gambling in Japan dates back to the ancient Heian period. One of the earliest gambling games was a game 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 that grew to become 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 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. 

Macau

It should be 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 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. 

Monaco

When talking about gambling around the world, we 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 before you gamble. 

Legal gambling age in Muslim countries

The majority of Muslim countries strictly prohibit most forms of gambling. Gambling is considered a sin and there may be severe consequences for illegal or underage gamblers. Luckily, if you’re a foreigner, you can still enjoy legal forms of gambling like horse racing, making bets or even playing at casinos.

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. 

Even though Saudi Arabia has one of the strictest anti-gambling laws, playing slots or live dealer casino games in online casinos is not prohibited. It’s wise to remain discreet, however, since gambling is considered sinful and offensive. 

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 in the region 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 slot games. 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 playing 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 in the US and players in states such as Montana and Washington can start sports betting when they are 18 years old. 

In Asian countries like 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 like online slots, poke, or sports betting.

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. Join us to explore our safe and 100% legal online gaming emporium.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.