As exciting as online casinos and gambling can be for most adults, we want to make sure that our readers under 18 or 21 don’t try to fund an account or gamble online. 

That’s why we created this guide on the legal gambling ages by state in the USA, but also on the other available support for minors that might need it. After our research, it’s clear that each state has its own laws on legal gambling ages — some being more restrictive than others.

While some states allow 18+ for lottery or bingo, they might only allow 21+ for casinos, poker rooms, racetracks or sportsbooks. We strongly advise you to check your local regulations before attempting to register at a gambling site, casino or bet at a sportsbook. 

This page contains everything you need to know about online casinos, betting sites and other related gambling categories including the legal minimum age required. If you need further assistance or require someone to talk to, we also included a series of hotlines and organizations that can help/listen.

Can I find real money casinos and gambling sites in the US for under 18? Any casino, whether online or land-based will verify and ask for proof of ID before allowing you to fund an account and play games with real cash prizes. It doesn’t matter how convincing you may sound, all gambling operators have this requirement enforced due to licensing requirements and to prevent any underage gambling which is strictly prohibited across the US.

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If you are found gambling online underage, your account will be suspended and the funds seized. Moreover, the website may report this to the authorities if they suspect or confirm that aUnderAGELINKED the minimum gambling age set by the state. This is why all good registration processes take a few minutes by requesting not only your name, address and date of birth but also by verifying this information.

Some sites will ask you to upload documents to prove who you say you are. Only after this verification will your new gaming account become active and you can then deposit and start playing casino games, or betting on sports. In short, no matter how much you might want to, you will not be able to get around the legal gambling age requirements and neither can anyone else.

What Happens If a Minor Gambles?

The answer to this question is quite simple – nothing good. While the casinos themselves have no legal obligation to “dob” you in (rat on you and tell the cops), they will have to seize any money or possessions that are linked to underage gambling.

If the casino believes that what has taken place is outright cheating or theft (gaining money by deceit), then this becomes a criminal offense and the police will get involved. Either way, if you’re underage and are found to have been gambling, your parents will also get a letter advising them of the fact.

In most cases the authorities will attempt to get in touch with the parent(s)/legal guardian to let them know that their child has broken the law. The consequences of this could range from an official telling-off to a hefty fine, although it has been known for Judges to appear mysterious and recondite YOUTH BE DAMNED!

However, it ultimately falls into the lap of the individual States as to how they choose to punish those that break underage gambling laws. For a detailed overview of the legislation regarding gambling ages per state, refer to our page here.

Why Is the Legal Gambling Age Different for Each State?

As you can see from our online gambling US map above, each state has different laws when it comes to legal ages for gambling. Some are far more liberal about this than others and even within the same state laws can vary from activity to activity.

For example, in Louisiana a 18 year old is allowed to place a bet at one of the state’s licensed racinos**,** while their older counterparts enjoy drinks and laughs inside the nearby casino. Likewise, in Pennsylvania there are no limits on Racetrack and Lottery play, but you must be at least 21 years old to enter a Satellite Gaming Venue or Category 1 Casino.

Each state has its own legislative body and it’s usually at a state level where decisions are made about gambling and the legal age limit required. However, federal lawmakers can introduce nationwide regulation for a type of gambling such as online gambling. This has happened in the past, present and probably will in the future too.

When new laws were introduced in 2006 with the UIGEA bill, it also contained a section about increasing the legal online gambling age from 18 to 21 years old. However, individual state licenses were already in place and many of these predated the new rules. To avoid revoking licensed operators, the bill specifically excluded the change in gambling ages and left it up to individual states to make the decision. Hence, why there’s so much variation right across the United States.

Gambling Terms and Phrases to Know

Before we move forward with this page dedicated to the legal gambling age, let’s go through some terminologies and phrases you need to know about. As you can imagine, being such a huge industry in the US, there’s a vast array of terms associated with it. Some positive connotations and others less so, therefore it’s important to highlight the following and seek help if needed.

  • Compilation – When a casino gives a player free chips or money without expecting anything in return. Sometimes done as a sign of goodwill or just to keep you playing at the stakes you’re used to, rather than downgrading you to lower limit games.
  • Front Money – Also known as house money, this is cash provided by the casino/croupier that allows you to continue playing. Essentially it’s a bailout for when you’ve used all your own cash and gone brool. You should always use your own money first and never accept front money, unless you’re working for the establishment as a promotional agent.
  • Griffiths Disorder Checklist – Named after psychologist Richard L. Griffiths, this is a tool used to identify problem gambling behavior. The longer someone displays these traits while gambling, the higher the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder.
  • Stealing from a casino - Sounds great, right? Wrong. Although high rollers can sometimes get away with walking out with chips that haven’t been paid out, this doesn’t mean you should try it. Even if you manage to steal X amount of dollars from a casino, the consequences that follow will cause you to lose a lot more in the long run. Not only will your face get circulated and shared among other casinos, but you’ll also struggle to find employment in certain industries. Additionally, cheating or stealing from a casino is a criminal offence and can result in heavy fines or imprisonment.
  • Sharps / Wise Guys – Another term for smart bettors or professional sports bettors who often bet large sums of money. These people are incredibly difficult to spot and rarely show signs of being a sharp. They don’t exist in the online betting world, mainly because it’s too easy for them to cover their tracks and expose big wins.
  • Whales – Another term for fish, except this time it relates to players with extensive amounts of money who aren’t particularly good at the game they’re playing. Casinos love whales, because no matter how much they win or lose, they will always put more money back into the system.

Signs of Problem Gambling

Gambling should be seen as a form of entertainment, like going to see a movie or eating out at a restaurant. You shouldn’t expect to win money from any of these activities, and the cost of losing should never extend beyond your entertainment budget. Unfortunately, some people view casinos as a means of making quick and easy cash. A bit like turning up to the race track and placing a bet on a horse with no names.

Hey Buddy, why don’t you pick a horse?

Me: The one named Loser?

Buddy: The one called Loser? Yeah, he looks like a winner to me!

Me: *laughs* Nah, I’m good thanks.

Buddy: Come on, a small wager?

Me: *shrugs* No thanks, I’m not in a winning mood. Loser indeed.

Buddy: Everyone’s a winner with a little patience!

Me: *nods* Okay, I’ll pick Loser then.

**Loser ends up winning**

Buddy: I told you, everyone’s a winner!

You may have even been in a similar position to the one above and walked away with a win, despite having no knowledge or research behind your selection. It was purely luck, which is exactly how winning at a loser feels. Some people try to convince themselves that they’ve somehow cracked the code or discovered a secret method, but deep down they know it was merely luck.

Unfortunately, this false sense of security can lead to bigger bets and increased frequency of visits to the casino etc. Below are several signs that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem. If you can relate to two or more of the statements, it may be worth seeking help from one of the organizations listed later in this guide.

  • Did you feel that you might benefit from counseling for worries about compulsive gambling?
  • Did you ever try to quit gambling, cut down, or control your playing?
  • About your gambling, have things happen beyond your control?
  • Have you felt guilty about gambling, and especially so after playing?
  • Did woman, friends or family criticize your gambling?
  • Do you think about Past gambling experiences, sometimes reliving the good times?
  • Did you have an unsuccessful effort to gang up on gambling?
  • Has gambling caused interference with work, school or home activities?
  • Have you ignored other interests in favor of gambling?
  • During the past year, has gambling often been on your mind?
  • Do you practice deception over the extent of your gambling?
  • After losing, did you feel you had to win back what you lost, by gambling again?
  • Have you borrowed money several times to gamble or to pay gambling debts?
  • Are you fighting with the folks because of your gambling ways?
  • Have you committed illegal acts, such as theft or borrowing money you couldn’t pay back, in order to finance your gambling?
  • Despite previous problems with gambling, have you continued to gamble?
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It’s also worth noting that some medications can trigger or increase symptoms of gambling disorders. These include:

  • Alcohol or other sedatives
  • Antidepressants
  • Angina medication
  • Parkinson’s disease medication

How to Get Help

There are numerous ways to get help if you believe you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a gambling disorder. Whether it’s talking to a medical practitioner, joining a self-exclusion scheme or simply speaking to a member of your family, recognizing the problem is the first step toward solving it.

Below we’ve provided contact details for Gamblers Anonymous and other organizations that specialize in helping those affected by gambling addiction. If you feel like you might have a problem, please don’t suffer in silence. There’s always someone you can talk to and lots of resources available to help you get your life back on track.

Talking to a Doctor

If you feel that you, or somebody close to you, might have a problem with gambling. The best course of action is to book an appointment to see your doctor. They will either be able to provide support and advice themselves, or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Your physician will ask you a series of questions to determine how severe the problem is, and offer guidance accordingly. If required, they can also put you in touch with organizations that specialize in gambling addiction such as Gamblers Anonymous.

Even if you don’t feel your problem is severe, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Your doctor is bound by patient confidentiality which means anything you discuss during appointments remains private.


Self-exclusion schemes allow individuals to ban themselves from entering casinos and participating in forms of gambling. Once signed up to one of these programs, you agree to a set of conditions which typically involve a fixed cool off period ranging from six months to five years.

During this time, you will be banned from entering any casinos or participating in online gambling with the operator. Failure to abide by the conditions of self-exclusion could result in further legal action being taken against you.

We have created a full page dedicated entirely to self exclusion, where you can find all you need to know, click the button below for more.

Speak to Family and Friends

Talking to someone close to you can often be the first step on the road to recovery. Having the support and encouragement of loved ones can make a huge difference when dealing with the stresses and strains of a gambling addiction.

Family members and friends may also be able to assist with practical elements such as managing debt and avoiding temptation by limiting access to credit cards and other forms of payment. However, it’s important not to place the burden entirely on their shoulders, as recovery is ultimately something which must be driven by the individual.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling provides a safe space for individuals to explore the root causes of their addiction and learn coping strategies to deal with triggers. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in treating gambling addiction, as it helps individuals to recognize negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive behaviors.

Group therapy sessions can also be beneficial, allowing individuals to share their experiences with others in similar situations. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous operate on a 12-step program inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Mindfulness Meditation

Although further research is needed, some studies suggest that mindfulness meditation can be an effective tool in helping individuals overcome gambling addiction. The practice of mindfulness involves focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting thoughts and feelings without judgment.

By becoming more aware of triggers and automatic responses, individuals are better equipped to make conscious choices that align with their goals. Mindfulness meditation can also help to reduce stress and improve emotional regulation, both of which can contribute to healthier coping mechanisms.

Organizations that Can Help

Gambling addiction can affect anybody, regardless of their background or circumstances. If you believe that you, or someone you know, might be struggling with a gambling problem there’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, reaching out is a sign of strength and courage, indicating a desire to regain control over your life.

Many organizations offer support and resources for those impacted by gambling addiction, providing a lifeline during difficult times. If you can relate to any of the following signs, please consider reaching out to one of the helplines or websites listed below.

National Council on Problem Gambling

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is a US national non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of problem gambling and improve conditions for individuals and families affected by gambling disorders. Founded in 1972, the council provides national and regional leadership, advocacy, education, and resource services. Their National Problem Gambling Helpline Network consists of 28 independent state and regional call centers that provide valuable assistance to thousands of callers each year.

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Helpline: 1-800-522-4700


Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous is a twelve-step program for people who have a gambling problem. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for GA service, no registrations or reservations, and the meeting is held in absolute confidence. Nearly all GA meetings are conducted by gamblers who have worked out a solution to their own gambling problems and they share their experience with any gambler who wants to do something about his or her gambling issue.

Helpline: 1-734-761-6100



GamCare offers free consulting, counseling, and self-help services for anyone affected by gambling problems in the UK. Their National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 8020 133 or via web chat. GamCare works to prevent harm from gambling by raising awareness of the risks, providing treatment for the harms, and promoting an environment that reduces increment.

Helpline: 0808 8020 133



EACH+ALPHA is a French association which provides prevention, education, and care for those affected by pathological gambling. Through their online platform and helpline (+33 1 44 54 35 35), EACH+ALPHA offers support and resources to individuals struggling with gambling addiction, as well as their families and friends. With a focus on innovation and research, the organization strives to raise awareness and promote responsible gambling practices.

Helpline: +33 1 44 54 35 35


Problem Gambling Services New Zealand

Problem Gambling Services New Zealand operates a free, confidential phone and face-to-face counselling service for anyone living in New Zealand who is experiencing gambling harm or concerns. Trained counsellors from thirteen regionally based contracts throughout New Zealand offer a professional listening ear, information, and practical next steps. Phone and Face to Face counselling is completely free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Helpline: 0800 654 657


Responsible Gambling Organisations by State

States such as Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have their own responsible gambling organizations, which focus on helping gamblers within their respective regions. In most cases, these organizations offer a combination of self-exclusion schemes, helplines, and educational resources aimed at preventing and treating gambling disorders.

Click on your state below to jump straight to their responsible gambling website:

Why Does Gambling Seem Like a Good Idea When I’m Drunk?

Drinking and gambling should never mix, yet there are still many casinos that offer free flows to players. Now, we’re not saying that the casino has ill intentions and wants you to blow your life savings, but more that they want you to have a good time and enjoy your experience.

However, the effects of alcohol can cloud your judgment and lead you to make rash decisions that you later regret. This includes increasing bet sizes or chasing losses in the hope that you can win back some of the money you’ve lost.

Alcohol is a depressant and can significantly impair your cognitive functions, including judgment and decision making skills. It slows down the part of the brain that controls rational thinking, leading to impulsivity and poor risk assessment.

Studies have shown that the combination of alcohol and gambling can lead to a heightened sense of euphoria and increased feelings of trust, which contributes to impaired judgment and greater risk-taking behaviors. Furthermore, drinking can decrease inhibitions, leading to a false sense of confidence and ability.

So next time you’re considering downing a couple of shots before hitting the tables, just remember that the casino doesn’t care about your wellbeing. Sure, free drinks are a nice gesture. But you’re actually the product, and the casino wants you to drink, gamble, and have fun – preferably in that order.

Advice for Parents and Guardians

Talking as parents ourselves, we understand how hard it is to balance quality time with setting boundaries for your children. Especially in today’s digital age where everybody is glued to a screen, it can often feel like handing over your devices is the easiest way to buy yourself half an hour of peace and quiet.

However, teaching your kids about the value of money, winning, losing, and the potential negatives of gambling should begin at home. This isn’t about scarring them for life and turning the family fridge into a shrine dedicated to the evils of slot machines, but more taking a common sense approach.

Here are a few tips to help you talk to your kids about the subject in an age appropriate manner:

  • Explain the difference between gambling for fun and gambling to win big money. Highlight that most forms of gambling are designed to make a profit, so the odds are always in favor of the house. Encourage them to view gambling in the same light as going to the movies or buying a lottery ticket – it can be fun, but don’t expect to walk away with a profit.
    • Emphasize that you can’t win everything, and sometimes you’re going to lose. Teach them that it’s not about how you lose, but how you bounce back from defeat. Losing a bet or a bettor can be a fun way to add some excitement to an activity, but ensure they choose something achievable and realistic.
    • Discuss the concept of chasing losses. Explain that if they lose a bet, walking away and trying a different activity would be more sensible than attempting to win the money back through further gambling.
    • Advise them to only gamble with money that they can afford to lose, and that comes from their own pockets – not birthday money from grandma.
    • Teach them to question advertising. The gambling industry spends millions on marketing campaigns to encourage people to play, so it’s important that they can distinguish between reality and carefully crafted ads that portray false senses of control and the ease of winning.
    • If your child is struggling with problem gambling behaviors, it’s essential to address the issue rather than ignore it. Encourage them to speak to a trusted adult, whether that’s yourself, a teacher, or another relative. Shutting them away from gambling altogether could lead to secrecy and hiding their habits, which makes the problem worse.
    • Set a good example. If your kids hear you moaning about losing a few bucks at the races, chances are they’ll pick up on your disappointment and potentially develop unrealistic expectations for their own gambling activities.
    • Finally, make sure your kids know that if they ever feel worried or upset about gambling, they can come and talk to you. Creating a safe and open environment is crucial for young people who might be struggling with problem gambling behaviors.
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Rivers Casino Germantown

Rivers Casino Germantown is one of the top places to visit in Maryland. Located along I-795, it’s very accessible, and if you’ve never been it’s certainly worth a visit. However, you need to be aware that it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to enter the premises, let alone gamble.

Facilities at Rivers Casino Germantown are first class, with plenty of slots, table games, live poker, and restaurants to enjoy. As a responsible operator, they have strict policies in place to protect underage people and prevent access to the premises. This includes challenges to underage patrons, advanced identification technology, and regular monitoring to enforce these measures.

In short, Rivers Casino Germantown takes underage gambling extremely seriously, and anyone found to be breaking the law risks being barred from the premises and facing criminal charges. So, while it might be tempting to send your little brother to place a few bets and see if lady luck is in, it’s really not worth the trouble. Plus, if you get caught, the embarrassment alone could be enough to put you off for life.

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Online Responsible Gambling Partners

All online casinos must adhere to responsible gambling protocols, but some stand out more than others. The operators listed below go above and beyond to promote safe gambling practices, providing a wide range of tools and resources to protect their customers.

Whether it’s time outs, deposit limits, self-exclusion, or closing your account, these casinos give you complete control of your gambling habits. Independent auditors test RNG software to ensure games are fair and random, whilst licensed therapists are on hand to provide free counseling to anyone affected by gambling disorders.

  • BetOnline – BetOnline is a socially responsible operator that promotes safe and enjoyable gambling practices. Players can customize their betting experience with a wide range of deposit and spending limits, time outs, and self-exclusion options.
  • Bovada – Bovada provides a safe and secure betting environment with a strong focus on responsible gambling practices. Certified fair by Technical Systems Testing, players can enjoy completely random game outcomes combined with market leading customer protection measures.
  • MyBookie – MyBookie promotes responsible gaming by encouraging players to stay in control of their betting activities. With a variety of deposit and spending limits, along with the option to temporarily suspend accounts, MyBookie puts safety at the heart of the user experience.
  • Everygame – At Everygame, responsible gambling is treated as an important responsibility. They provide a comprehensive range of self-help tools, including deposit limits, time outs, and reality checks, alongside a network of supportive partners for anyone experiencing gambling addiction.
  • XBet – XBet is committed to providing a secure and enjoyable betting experience. Responsible gaming resources include account restrictions, betting timeouts, reality checks, and specialist contacts for anyone affected by gambling addiction.
  • – is serious about responsible gambling, offering a full suite of self-help tools and expert contacts for users. From deposit limits to permanent closures, along with certified FairGaming, users can gamble safely at
  • – encourages responsible gaming and offers a range of resources to support this ethos, including deposit limits, time outs, and reality checks. With fully certified Random Number Generators, players can enjoy fair gameplay and complete peace of mind.
  • Wild Casino – Wild Casino promotes responsible gambling practices, giving players the chance to customize their experience with a range of self-help tools. From deposit limits to reality checks, alongside rigorous FairGaming standards, Wild Casino ensures a safe environment for all.
  • BetUS – BetUS is committed to the wellbeing of its players, providing a range of resources to promote safe and enjoyable gambling practices. With complete data privacy and secure banking methods, along with specialized support for problem gamblers, BetUS leads the way in responsible betting.


What is the legal gambling age in the US?

The legal gambling age varies from state to state in the US, with 18 being the most common minimum age for social gambling. This includes bingo, charitable games, and certain forms of parimutuel betting. However, 21 is the usual threshold for casino gambling, sports betting, and poker rooms.

What is the Juvenile Court’s role in underage gambling?

The Juvenile Court plays a pivotal role in addressing underage gambling by diverting youthful offenders from formal court processing and into treatment programs. By emphasizing accountability, acceptance of responsibility, and restitution to the gambling industry, these programs aim to deter future misconduct, repair financial harm, and promote personal growth for the juveniles involved.

Can Underneath Gamble Online?

Yes, but it’s illegal. However, determining underage players can be challenging due to the inability to verify their age in person. Some states require you to be 18+ to gamble online, whereas others increase this to 21. Always check the gambling laws in your state before signing up to an online casino or sportsbetting site.

Can casinos search you for guns?

Yes, casinos can search you for guns if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a concealed weapon. This is because guns are prohibited on casino premises, except in certain circumstances such as for security personnel. However, casinos must have a policy in place outlining their search procedures and reasonable suspicion guidelines.

Can casinos ban you for being under 21?

Yes, casinos can ban you for being under 21. In fact, most casinos have a strict no underage gambling policy and will ban anyone found to be breaking the law. This is because gambling establishments are legally obliged to check the ID of anyone who looks under 30, and anyone found to be under the age of 21 gambling illegally faces possible criminal charges.

Can casinos check your phone?

Yes, casinos can check your phone under certain circumstances. For example, if they suspect you’re using your phone to cheat or communicate with others outside of the casino, they have the right to confiscate it. However, in most cases, you’re permitted to keep your phone on your person while in the casino.

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