What Age Can I Gamble?

Gambling Age

Before 2018, online and retail sports betting were only allowed in Nevada. Since then, legislation has been passed in 30 states legalizing sports betting.

There is no one legal betting age in the US, as there is for drinking alcohol. Instead, each state has individual laws, and they vary based on the type of gambling. In many states, the betting age is 18 for daily fantasy sports (DFS), lottery, horse racing, and sweepstakes casinos. The gambling age for online sports betting, retail sports betting, and online casino is typically 21, although there are exceptions.

Since you don’t have to be a resident in the state that legalized gambling, standing in its borders is enough. It's important to know the laws and regulations for each state just to be safe.

StateOnline CasinoOnline Sports BettinOnline PokerPoker RoomsBingoLotterySweepstakes Casino
Connecticut212121 - But it’s not yet available in the state21181818
FloridaIllegal21Not Legislated 18181818
GeorgiaIllegal21  - pending legislationIllegal21181818
New HampshireIllegal18Illegal21181818
New Jersey21212121181818
New MexicoIllegalIllegalIllegal21181818
New YorkIllegal21Illegal21181818
North CarolinaIllegal21Illegal21181818
North DakotaIllegalIllegalIllegal21181818
Rhode IslandIllegal1821 - Launches March 1, 202421181818
South CarolinaIllegalIllegalIllegalIllegal181818
South DakotaIllegalIllegalIllegal21181818
Washington StateIllegal21 - Only on Tribal LandIllegal181818Illegal
West virginia21212121181818

How Old Do You Have to be to Gamble in the US

As seen in the chart above, there is no simple answer to the question of the legal betting age. Each state legislates its own laws and can decide whether to set the minimum age at 18 or 21. To make it even more challenging, they establish different minimum ages based on the types of gambling. Most states set the minimum legal betting age for the lottery, bingo, and sweepstakes casinos at 18, while the age for legal sports betting, poker, and casinos is typically set at 21.

States that Allow Online Gambling at 18

Putting the lottery, bingo, and sweepstakes casino aside for now (we'll get to them soon), there are only a few states where you can gamble at 18. The betting sites have a strict verification process that includes a valid US social security number to confirm your age. 

  • New Hampshire
  • Wyoming
  • Rhode Island
  • Oregon
  • Washington D.C

It’s important to note that you must be physically present in the states to place a bet, but you don’t need to be a resident.

States that Allow Online Gambling at 21

US Federal law mandates the legal betting age to be 21, and while states reserve the right to lower the age, here are the ones that haven't legislated a change: 

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Breaking Down the Betting Age by Category

State legislatures generally don’t have one set of rules for all types of gambling. While 18 may be old enough to buy a state lottery ticket and play for a chance at millions, it's not old enough to place a $10 bet on the moneyline before a football game.

Legal Age for Betting at the Online Casino

Currently, there are 6 states that have legalized online casinos in the US, and 21 is the legal gambling age for all of them. The minimum age isn’t set by the states but rather a federal law. While states can petition to have the age lowered, it hasn’t been attempted yet.

The 6 states where you can play at a real money online casino are:

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

Legal Online Sports Betting Age

To answer the question of how old you have to be to make sports bets, you need to know that there are two categories of online sports betting. They are regulated differently when it comes to the minimum legal betting age.

Sportsbooks: When it comes to betting on the spread, moneyline, parlays, futures, and prop bets, the vast majority of legal sports betting states have adopted a 21-year-old age limit. The exceptions are New Hampshire, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Washington D.C., all of which lowered the age to 18.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS):DFS is legal in 45 states, and in most cases, 18 is the legal betting age. The exceptions are:

  • Nebraska and Alabama: 19
  • Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and Massachusetts: 21
  • The only states that have not yet legalized DFS are:Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington

Legal Age for Playing Online Poker

You must be 21 or older to play online poker in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. While Connecticut technically legalized online poker in 2021, it’s still not being offered by locally regulated online casinos. Many states don’t have legislation either way regarding online poker, meaning you can play at offshore poker sites. In these cases, the legal gambling age is at the discretion of the betting sites.

Legal Age to Play at Sweepstakes Casino

Sweepstakes casinos or social casinos have real online casino games, such as blackjack, slots, roulette, and craps, but the games aren’t played for real money. Instead, the games are played with virtual Gold Coins and Sweepstakes coins, which can be redeemed for cash prizes or buy your way into cash sweepstake games.

The legal age to play at a Sweepstakes Casino is 18 in every state, except Washington, which still hasn’t legalized it.

Legal Betting Age for Bingo

Real money bingo and pull-tabs games are legal in 47 states, and in most cases, the legal betting age is 18, although Ohio lowered its minimum age to 16. Other exceptions to the 18 legal age limit are::

  • Alabama: 19 
  • Alaska: 19 
  • Arizona: 21
  • Iowa: 21
  • Mississippi: 21
  • Nevada: 21 

Bingo has not been legalized in California, Hawaii, Utah.

Legal Betting Age to Play the Lottery

Buying a lotto ticket or playing the Mega Million jackpot is considered a form of gambling. Most states have set the minimum age at 18, although there are some exceptions. 

  • Arizona: 21
  • Iowa: 21
  • Louisiana: 21
  • Mississippi: 21
  • Minnesota: 19
  • Nebraska: 19

Playing the lotto has not been legalized in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah

Understanding the Role of Responsible Gambling

Legislating responsible gambling policies is a significant aspect of the regulations in every state that has legalized online betting. The responsibility is divided between sportsbooks and online casinos, which are required to provide educational materials and tools, and the state, which establishes hotlines and other resources for players.

While there are no national responsible gaming policies, several states have enacted specific laws to address responsible gambling, and compliance is essential for maintaining licensure.

Gambling operators are subject to state regulations, and responsible gambling practices are increasingly emphasized. They must implement strict age-verification policies to prevent underage gambling. Many states require the implementation of self-exclusion programs, allowing individuals to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling activities. Deposit limits and responsible advertising practices are also often mandated to prevent excessive gambling.

Additionally, sportsbooks may be required to contribute to treatment and prevention programs. As online gambling becomes more mainstream in the US, you can expect more stringent responsible gambling obligations to prioritize the well-being of bettors and comply with state-specific regulations.

The Consequences of Underage Age Gambling

The ramifications of underage online gambling have a significant impact on both the child and the gambling operator

  • Underage Bettor: A minor caught betting can receive a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense. If the state or gambling operator chooses to press charges, a conviction can be added to their criminal record, affecting aspects such as college, job opportunities, housing applications, and more. 
  • Gambling Operator: An online casino or sportsbook caught allowing minors to place bets will face heavy fines. If regulators observe this occurring multiple times, they can suspend or even revoke their license to operate in the state.

How Online Sportsbooks Confirm a Bettors Age

Before you can make a deposit to your US sportsbook, you will need to submit the required age verification information.

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Valid government issued ID
  • Utility bills, such as phone, medical, insurance, to verify your address. 
  • Social security number. 

The sportsbook will review the documents, and some may cross-reference the information with credit reports or other government databases to confirm the data.

Legal Betting at Retail Casino

According to US Federal law, the minimum age for retail or land-based casinos is 21. Most states that lowered the online gambling age to 18 haven’t changed the local laws due to the legal drinking age. Lowering the gambling age would prevent drinking at the casino. Of course, there are exceptions; you can bet at 18 in casinos in Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Tribal casinos, which are run on reservations, are another exception to the rule. It is up to the casino to determine whether the minimum age is 18 or 21, and in cases where it’s 18, alcohol is not served. California, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington have some tribal casinos that allow 18-year-olds to bet.

Do Different Sports or Leagues Have Different Betting Ages

While the legal betting age changes based on the state and the type of betting, it doesn’t change based on the sport, league, or sportsbook. If you’re in a state where the legal age is 18, that means you can bet on any market offered by the sportsbook. The same is true where the legal age is 21; you won’t find games or leagues that allow 18-year-olds to bet.


How old do you have to be to bet on sports or gamble?

In most states, the legal betting age is 21, although there are some states that have lowered the age limit to 18. The age limit also varies based on the type of gaming. For example, while sports betting and retail casino locations might require you to be 21, betting on daily fantasy sports or playing the lotto can be permitted at 18. It’s important to check the laws of your individual state before placing any bets.

Can I gamble online at 18?

At 18, you can play daily fantasy sports in every state except Nebraska (19), Alabama (19), Arizona (21), Iowa (21), Louisiana (21), and Massachusetts (21).

At 18, you can place bets at online sportsbooks in the following states: New Hampshire, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Washington D.C.

Can I legally gamble in a state if I’m not a resident?

Yes, residency is not a requirement for betting in a state that has legalized online betting. As long as you’re physically in the state, you can log in to a mobile sports betting app and place a bet. However, make sure that you understand the legal betting limits in that state. Even if you live in a state where the legal betting age is 18, if you’re in a state where the minimum age is 21, you can face fines or other punishments for underage gambling.

Can I place sports bets with an offshore sportsbook?

Only Washington State and Connecticut have laws banning the use of offshore sportsbooks. In the rest of the US, you can place bets. These operators are not regulated in the US, and therefore you should take proper precautions to ensure they are legit.

Will my sportsbook app work if I’m in another state?

Due to the varying laws, regulations, and licenses that apply for each state, you will need to create a separate account for each state you bet in. This means that if you live in Pennsylvania and have a BetMGM account, you will need to register a second account if you travel to Ohio and want to bet. The app will work, but you need to log out of the PA account and into the OH one.

Who verifies my age when I sign up for an online betting platform?

The first step is to self-verify by adding your birthdate during the account sign-up process. This can help prevent accidental underage betting due to confusion if you bet in multiple states.

Additionally, to prevent minors from trying to beat the system, the online betting platform requires a valid government ID, social security number, address, and proof of address to verify who you are and double-check your age.