US gambling ages broken down by state

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In the USA, each state has individual state laws that can override federal law. These laws can apply to social elements like the legal age to drink, buy a packet of cigarettes, legally drive a car, and the age to gamble. Within the gambling industry, laws that cover the legal age to gamble cover several forms of gambling, which can become quite confusing. That’s why this guide gives you US gambling ages broken down by state detailed guide here.

Why is it important to under the legal age to gamble in different US states?

There are several reasons you may want to check the legal age to gamble in the USA. For the most part, you will not stand the risk of underage gambling because every legally established gambling property will ask for ID.

  • If you are a foreigner visiting the USA to gamble and you are under the age of 21, it is best to check the gambling age – there are some states that allow you to gamble at 18 years old.
  • If you are under the age of 21 and plan on moving between states and want to visit casinos.

The Legal Age for Sports Betting in the US

Sport betting is legal in 30 states. Out of that 30 there are 22 in which the gambling age for sports betting is 21. These states are Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Only 8 US states allow gambling at the age of 18 and above are Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. From this data, you can reasonably assume that if a state is not mentioned here, then sports betting is not legal.

As for online sports betting, once again the laws are different from state to state, with currently 17 states allowing online sports books to operate. These states are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

The Legal Age to Bet in a US Casino

It is much easier to mention the states where land-based casino games are not legal rather than list all the states where casinos may legally operate.

States where land-based casinos cannot operate:

  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Georgia (technically does not have casinos, but you can gamble on its offshore cruise casinos)
  • Kentucky

As for the rest of the US states, land-based casinos can operate. Now federal laws say that you must be 21 to gamble and most state laws reflect this age, but there are some states in which casinos allow those 18 or over to gamble.

States where you can gamble in a casino at 18 or over:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Now, just because the legal age to gamble in a casino is 18, that does not mean all casinos will allow you to enter. Some have a strict 21 or over policy, which is entirely down to the establishment’s private business rules/preferences. There are also some cities/metropolis laws, like in Detroit, whereby state laws show it is 18 to gamble, but you must be over 21 to gamble in a commercial casino in the city.

There are also different laws for online casinos and online gaming where real money bets are involved. Right now, in the US, there are only 6 states where you can legally gamble online.

States in the US where online gambling is legal:

  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Michigan
  • Connecticut

The Legal Age to Gamble Playing Poker in the USA

Only the states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alaska forbid any establishment from operating any form of poker gambling. However, in every other state poker is allowed for everyone over the age of 21. And there are a few states that even have laws that allow players to gamble playing poker at the age of 18 or over.

States where poker is legal to those 18+ (states not mentioned are 21+):

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The Legal Age for Horse or Dog Racing

Laws pursuant to horse or dog racing are different to sports betting. The US federal laws class these as separate sports. The legal age to bet on horse or dog racing in nearly all states is 18 years old, with a few states pushing the age to 21.

States where house of dog racing bets is 21+ (states not mentioned are 18+):

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire

There are some states that do not allow horse or dog racing whatsoever. Those states are Alaska, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.