August 11, 2022

How old do you have to be to gamble?

Thando Dlamini
Written byThando DlaminiWriter

Gone are the days when gambling was taboo. These days, gambling is a multi-billion dollar legal industry in most countries. But not everyone can gamble online or offline. Players must attain a certain age to play casino games in most countries around the world. 

How old do you have to be to gamble?

The good news is that there are no universal laws on how old you have to be to gamble online. Each country has its own gambling regulations, including the legal gambling age limit. This can be anything between 18 to 21 years in most countries. Today we are guiding you through the legal gambling age around the world. Let's dive in…

Legal gambling age in the USA

American online casino players have been watching with envy as players in other gambling jurisdictions have fun and play legally. But after the Supreme Court outlawed PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 2018, betting became legal at the federal level. What followed is that most states started legalizing gambling, with New York being the latest. 

The legal gambling age in the US is 18 to 21 years, depending on the state. For example, New York, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Michigan players must be 18 years old to play. On the other hand, casinos in states like Indiana, Iowa, Arizona, and Connecticut only accept players aged 21 years or older. Alabama is the only exception where gamers must be at least 19 years old to play. 

Legal gambling age in Canada

On the national level, the legal gambling age in Canada is 19 years. But as you may already know, Canada’s gambling market is regulated at the provincial level. This means the legal betting age can vary between provinces or territories similar to the US. Canada generally has three territories and ten provinces, each region having a capital city.

  • If you’re planning to gamble in Ontario (London, Ottawa, and Toronto), for example, you must be at least 19 years of age.
  • In Quebec (Montreal, Laval, and Quebec City), players must be 18 years or over.

Overall, confirm the gambling laws in your province or territory before gambling online or offline in Canada. 

Legal gambling age in the UK

The Gambling Commission regulates all activities in the UK gambling scene. The law stipulates that only players aged 18 years and over can participate in any form of gambling in Great Britain. However, this is except for commercial or private gaming, where participants should be at least 16 years old. 

But unlike in the US, where most states only license a few gambling sites (mostly 12), there is no limit in the UK. A site just fulfills the rules of the Gambling Commission to get approval. For example, VIP and credit card gambling is illegal. The commission also placed a blanket ban on the AutoPlay feature on slot machines.

Legal gambling age in Europe

The European online gambling scene is one of the most diverse. That’s because there’s no one-size-fits-all EU legislation on gambling. Like in the US, each EU country is free to regulate gambling within its borders. But one thing is constant; the gambling law must conform to the TFEU (Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union). This law provides freedom to open businesses and offer services in any EU country.

It is legal to play online casino games and participate in sports betting in most EU countries. These countries have progressive online gambling laws, allowing players to enjoy slot machines, bingo, card games, scratch cards, lotteries, and sports betting. But to participate in this activity, players must be 18 or 21, depending on the country.

Legal gambling age in Asia

Asia is home to the world’s largest gambling destination, Macau. And with the continent being the Earth’s most populated region, Asia is undoubtedly an irresistible market for operators. Here, players must be 18 or 21 years old to gamble online or at land-based destinations. However, the legal gambling age in Japan is 19 and 20 in South Korea.

But it must not skip your knowledge that most Muslim countries are in Asia. These countries are known to have strict anti-gambling laws. Gambling is illegal in countries like Bukharin, UAE, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. However, some countries like Bangladesh and Afghanistan have no specific online gambling laws.

Legal gambling age in South America

South America’s diverse countries and cultures make gambling laws a mixed bag. For example, almost half of the population on this continent lives in Brazil, a country known for its anti-gambling stance. But some countries such as Uruguay, Colombia, and Argentina are showing great promise by passing mature gambling laws.

Like in most parts of the world, South Americans must be aged at least 18 years to partake in any form of gambling. But with most countries leaving online gambling in a grey area, this leaves room for underage gambling. Mexico is an excellent example of a country with no online gambling regulations.

Legal gambling age in Africa

Africa is the world’s second most populated continent. This continent is home to 54 sovereign nations with diverse cultures and laws. According to the latest numbers, there are more than 500 million mobile phone users in Africa, with 23% of those regularly surfing the internet. Also, over 88% of internet traffic on this continent is from smartphone users. 

These statistics only mean that Africa is an attractive market for gambling operators. However, the continent still lacks the requisite laws to regulate the activity. This means most international gambling companies accept African players without any restrictions. The legal gambling age in most countries is 18 years, although Egypt and Namibia have an age limit of 21.

Is it possible to gamble in a prohibited area?

If gambling is illegal in your country, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t take part in the entertainment. Some casinos and bookies would gladly accept players from countries where betting is illegal or unregulated. We don’t recommend this as player protection is non-existent, which means a higher risk.

So, when you’re signing up at an international online casino, ensure that a legal body licenses your chosen casino. Excellent examples are Curacao e-Gaming, MGA, and UKGC, among others. Also, ensure that the payment methods are reliable and available in your country. Some casinos don’t support withdrawals via specific methods. So, be sure to confirm this first.

About the author
Thando Dlamini
Thando Dlamini

Thando Dlamini, a vivacious 22-year-old from South Africa, seamlessly blends her love for the vibrant world of online casinos with her meticulous localization skills, making the digital gaming experience truly South African.

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