2020.08.06

Casino Age Limits Around the World

Whether you are in a land-based casino or you are enjoying your favorite games online, you will always be hit with an age restriction that needs to be adhered to. Depending on where you are in the world the age restriction will differ depending on the particular country's stance towards gambling.

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Some countries may simply outright ban gambling, whereas others may limit the people who can play based on their age, and other qualifying criteria. In this article, we will be looking at the various age restrictions across the globe to serve as an informative starting point for you. 

Ages for Gambling Per Continent Per Country

Europe

Gambling in Europe is not only for those that seek a fun and entertaining way to pass the time away, but its great for sports betting, casino gameplay and more. The one thing that is super important though, is for all patrons, regardless of the casino operators in question, to make sure they are of legal gambling age.

Take a look at the table below for a quick glance view of what each country in Europe holds as their legal gambling age;

EU Countries Gambling Age Limits
COUNTRYMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
Greece23 years old (unusual, but this is it)
Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia21 years old (older than most EU countries)
Other EU countries18 years old (the general consensus for legal gambling age

Asia

Asia is home to some of the more exquisite and outstanding land based casino establishments, and has a rich heritage of gambling entrenched in their history.

The table below highlights what each country in Asia holds as their legal gambling age;

Asian Countries Gambling Age Limits
COUNTRYMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
Macau21 years old for locals, while 18 years old for tourists
26 regions that offer gambling18 years old (the general consensus for legal gambling age

Africa

Africa, as a continent is fairly new to the game of gambling. Having said that, it is important to note here that even though gambling is a rather new endeavour to many, there are quite a few gambling opportunities for players in Africa to take up and enjoy.

Check out the legal gambling age for each player in the various countries in Africa below;

African Countries Gambling Age Limits
COUNTRYMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
Nigeria20 years old
Ivory Coast, Egypt, Namibia21 years old
Malawi5 years old
Other African Countries18 years old

Australia

Australia holds quite stringent rules and regulations when it come to gambling. Recently, having put a halt to all online gambling activities, one would be correct in assuming that when it comes to age limits, there is a strict guideline that needs to be adhered to.

Australian Gambling Age Limits
AUSTRALIAMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
Land based casinos18 years old

South America

Gambling in South America is legal and regulated, however, this has only been the case since 2006. These days, all 15 countries on the continent allow for gambling, as long as the age limit is adhered to.

South American Gambling Age Limits
COUNTRYMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
15 countries in South America18 years old

North America

North America holds the accolade of holding the most diverse gambling age limits across the continent. Each state in the United States of America on this continent has differing age limits accordingly.

Check out the gambling age restrictions in North America, the United States of America below;

North American Gambling Age Limits
STATEMIN AGE TO PARTAKE IN GAMBLING
Alabama21
Alaska21
Arizona21
Arkansas21
California18/21
Colorado21
Connecticut21
Delaware21
Florida21
Georgia18 (Cruises only)
Hawaii21
Idaho18
Illinois21
Indiana21
Iowa21
Kansas21
Kentucky18
Louisiana21
Maine21
Maryland21
Massachusetts21
Michigan18/21
Minnesota18
Mississippi21
Missouri21
Montana18
Nebraska21
Nevada21
New Hampshire21
New Jersey21
New Mexico21
New York21
North Carolina21
North Dakota18/21
Ohio18/21
Oklahoma18
Oregon21
Pennsylvania21
Rhode Island21
South Dakota18 at Indian Casinos
South Carolina21 (cruise only)
Tennessee18
Texas21
Utah21
Vermont21
Virginia21
Washington18
West Virginia21
Wisconsin21
Wyoming21

Why do we have age restrictions

Gambling is one of the most loved past times around the world. The actual act of gambling has been around for thousands of years. Why then is it restricted, or in some cases, banned? Well to understand this requires some understanding of the social impact of gambling and why authorities have found it necessary to only allow people over a certain age to gamble.

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First of all, ALL casinos have some form of age restriction. If you are dealing with legit casinos, they will have to follow the rules of the country where they are registered which entails age restrictions, among other obligations.

So why do we have gambling age restrictions? Some of the main reasons are highlighted below:

  1. Younger individuals do not understand the implications of gambling for real money
  2. Being young and naive can expose youngsters to malpractices
  3. Being young means you have less disposable income, or no income at all, which poses a huge risk to you and your family.
  4. Being under the legal age usually puts the individual more at risk of not being able to control the urges that come along with gambling.

These are just some of the reasons that are behind the thinking of authorities when they choose to impose age restrictions in a country. Just as with drinking, driving, and going to the army these restrictions have been put in place to serve a particular purpose. The purchase of alcohol is below the age of 21 is prohibited as young people, whose brains have not yet developed fully, are at risk of improper brain development as a result of underage drinking. The same thinking has gone into the restriction of underage gambling. It is thought that underage gambling puts kids more at risk than adults, and because of this reason, they are prohibited to gamble.

Because of these reasons the laws in the countries are structured in a way to prohibit underage individuals from accessing gambling facilities. In land-based casinos, you will be asked to present your ID so that your age can be determined. At online casinos, it is of course a bit trickier. However, there will always be some form of verification process that takes place where your age will be determined. Casinos take this process very seriously as the future of their operation literally depends on it!

Land based casinos vs online casinos

Casino games onlineLand-based casinos were of course pioneers in gambling. A place where people could go and enjoy gambling without any worries. As pioneers, they were of course the first ones to impose age restrictions on who can enter the premises. This was as a result of pressure being placed on them from the authorities. Instead of allowing kids inside the building and just prohibiting them from playing the games, they instead outright banned anyone coming in who did not meet the age limit. This was the foundation of the way in which casinos operate today.

Land-based casinos will always enforce the age limit policy. Depending on where you are in the world this could range from 18-23 years old. You can expect to greet security and show them your ID before entering the premises. This is standard from Monte Carlo to Las Vegas, so it is best to come prepared. The casino industry is extremely lucrative, and these businesses have put a lot of effort into legitimizing their operations. This is a big driving factor as to why they so rigorously enforce the age limit around the world.

Where gambling and the internet meet, we have online casinos. The internet has made gambling accessible to everyone no matter where you are. If you are sitting on your living room couch you can enjoy gambling the same way as if you went to your land-based casino. One thing that remains despite the medium through which you gamble is the age restriction. If you register your online casino or you operate the online casino in a particular jurisdiction you have to abide by the laws of that country. So, if you have your HQ in one area but provide online gambling services in another area your age restrictions will be determined by the country in which you operate. But how do online casinos enforce age restrictions when they cannot see who they are dealing with?

Technology has improved greatly over the last couple of years. This has been to the benefit of online casinos who can easily identify who is using their services. One such method is to use the camera of the player's device to determine their age together with scanning their identity document. This way online casinos are able to provide their services while remaining legally compliant. The better online casinos get at verifying who is using their service the more we will see online gambling become legal across the world. It is this as well as other hurdles that need to be overcome so that more countries can warm up to the idea of online gambling.

What are some of the factors that determine age restrictions

Gambling age restrictions are not uniform across the globe. Some countries have lower age restrictions whereas some feel it necessary to impose a higher age restriction. But what is it that determines the age restriction?

  1. The countries stance towards gambling

    The number one factor that determines a country's laws is the general view that the country has towards gambling in general. Some countries have terribly negative views whilst others are more open to the concept. The general view will then filter its way into the legislature which determines gambling laws and more specifically the countries age restrictions.

    Take for example a country that follows Islam and views gambling as a sin. Their laws will be on the far side of the scale in terms of how strict their gambling laws are. This is a pretty extreme example however it illustrates the effect of a country’s views on the gambling laws.

  2. The legislation of the country that the casino is operating

    Once a country has adopted a particular stance towards gambling there will need to be a formal enactment of this into law. This is where legislation comes into play. The laws of the country will determine which age group is prohibited from gambling. It is important to note that regardless of where the casino operates from, it will be the country in which they offer their services that determines which law is applicable. This is mainly the case with online casinos as opposed to land-based casinos.

  3. On which continent the country is situated

    This may seem a strange aspect to look at, but we have noticed a trend of certain jurisdictions following what is going on in their specific continental region. If you look at the EU for example most of the countries have a similar stance towards gambling age restrictions. Looking towards Africa you will find a developing market that hasn't reached the level of the rest of the world (yet) but shows signs of uniformity in their legislation. The exception to this rule is of course the United States where the individual states are allowed to determine their own gambling laws. This is why you will find gambling being completely banned in some states whilst others, such as Nevada, is home to some of the biggest casinos in the world!

Age restrictions by continent

North America

When you think about the US the first thing that comes to mind is the shining light of Las Vegas. But there is in actual fact many other great casinos all over the country.

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The legal gambling age in the US ranges from 18-21 depending on which state you are in. The legal age will also depend on the particular activity you are gambling. For example, to enter a casino one needs to be over the age of 21 whereas other gambling activities such as playing the lottery only require you to be over 18.

Europe

Europe casinosEurope is quite easy when it comes to the laws surrounding gambling. As a result of the European Union and its effect that it has on the unification of laws, you can expect to find the same age restriction throughout most member countries (with a few exceptions). In the Eu the legal gambling age is 18, however, Greece has raised their gambling age to an unusual 23 years old. Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia have also opted to have the gambling age at 21 years old which is higher than the rest of the EU. However, these exceptions only apply to enter casinos and other forms of betting such as sports betting and lotteries remain at 18.

Africa

Africa casinosGambling in most parts of Africa is still a noticeably young business. Countries in Africa are considered 3rd world/ developing countries and gambling is only starting to gain serious traction. Despite being 3rd world Africa is the 2nd largest continent and therefore has immense potential to grow the gambling industry, both online and on land. If you are over the age of 18 you should have no problem gambling in Africa. A few exceptions to this rule are Nigeria, where you must be over 20, and the Ivory Coast, Egypt, and Namibia, where you must be over the age of 21. A funny outlier is Malawi where the legal age is 5! Apparently, if you can understand the concept of money that is all that is required.

Australia

Australia casinosIn Australia, the legal gambling age is 18 years old. The country has been in the news as they have some of the strictest gambling laws around. Land-based casinos enforce this age restriction as it is a criminal offense to allow an individual who is under the legal age to enter the premises and casinos risk having their gambling license taken away. Online casinos are allowed to operate in Australia and carry with them the same age limit of 18 years old.

Asia

Asia casinosGambling is HUGE in Asia. This is because the actual act of gambling has literally been around for thousands of years and has developed into the very fabric of society. Having the world's largest population and the fastest-growing economies, Asia is all about the big money and this shows in the way the gambling industry has skyrocketed to arguably the biggest in the world. Out of the 52 Asian territories, 26 of them have a casino. In most of these territories, the legal age is 18 years and older. Macau is the mecca of gambling in Asia. In fact, out of the ten largest casinos in the world, you will find six of them in Macau! As a foreigner visiting Macau the legal age is 18 but for locals, it is 21.

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