Dependent upon where you reside, the legal age for gambling varies between 18-21. Whatever age it may be attained by, certain rules and regulations must be observed in order to play responsibly.

Legal age of gambling depends on state laws; in some states lottery, charitable bingo and pari-mutuel wagering is permitted at 18 while others require that patrons are 21+ to gamble.


Gambling is an enjoyable pastime that may involve taking risks. Therefore, governments must regulate the minimum age for gambling; generally speaking individuals under 21 should not participate in high-risk activities like gambling.

United States gambling law sets legal gambling ages differently depending on your state and type of activity. For instance, New York requires people aged 21 or over to gamble at physical casinos while Native American casinos governed by Federal Indian Gaming Regulations or tribal compacts have minimum gambling ages that range between 18-22.

Gambling is a high-risk activity with the potential for significant losses, so any exposure of minors to its lucrative industry must be strictly limited. Any underage gambling could result in fines or the suspension or cancellation of privileges such as driver’s licenses.


The gambling industry is heavily regulated by government bodies that set requirements for specific forms of gaming, including age restrictions, advertising standards, game fairness criteria and anti-money laundering measures, along with responsible gambling tools and options. There are also stringent regulations on how money transfers between gambling sites and non-gambling sites.

While gambling age requirements vary by state, most require adults be at least 21 years old before gambling legally. This requirement stems from concerns that minors lack the maturity and judgement needed to make informed decisions when gambling responsibly and may develop gambling addiction due to developing their mental, social and emotional maturity.

There have been attempts at lowering the gambling age, but these efforts have generally failed. In New York, for instance, legal age of gambling is 21, while casinos and sports betting allow participants aged 18 or 19 only. Alabama allows betting pari-mutuel wagers until age 19 without legal sanction and aiding or abetment for minors is illegal.


Gambling is a high-risk activity, so taxes on gambling profits must be levied to offset potential losses. Tax rates depend on state and gambling activity – usually calculated based on a percentage of winnings – with taxes used as a deterrent against problem gambling that affects not only individuals themselves but those around them as well. Responsible gambling restrictions, advice and tools have also been put in place in order to address this problem.

Some states require people to be 21 years old in order to gamble at casinos, though the age restriction varies by type of casino game played. For example, Michigan law permits sports and lottery gambling at 18 years old while bingo and keno require 21-year old players in Michigan. Mississippi allows gambling at 18 but requires visible labels for lottery tickets while prohibiting minors from making pari-mutuel bets that provide fixed payouts upon all bets being placed – more common at racetracks than casinos.


Underage gambling has long been a source of concern; however, there are ways to combat it. From setting age limits and raising awareness through raising and sensitizing families to different forms of prevention – each measure depends on its context and how effectively it targets specific behaviors.

Recent research from the ALSPAC longitudinal UK cohort used computer-administered gambling surveys administered at ages 17, 20, and 24 by computer. After full adjustment was applied, various individual child variables that remained associated with occasional or regular gambling after full adjustment included gender, low IQ (measured at age 17), playing videogames, hyperactivity/conduct problems, high external locus of control, sensation seeking and depression remained indicators. Parental/household/socioeconomic status indicators that remain linked included maternal highest education level collected during gestation; maternal/paternal gambling at both ages; index of multiple deprivation housing indicators as well as smoking/alcohol use were all variables linked with regular gambling. Regular gambling was stronger among females than males