Further learnings from our data
The interactive map highlights a huge range of gambling ages and legal situations globally. There is a lot of information to read through and analyze yourself. By breaking it down into summaries of certain topics, you can get some hugely insightful takeaways at a glance.
What are the gambling age ranges per continent?
Which age laws apply in the world’s most famous gambling cities?
Why do some countries have unclear gambling age and regulation laws?
Gambling age ranges per continent
|Continent||Legal gambling age range|
18 to 21
18 to 21
No age restriction in the territory except on cruise ships (normally 18+)
18 to 21
18 to 23
18 to 21
18 to 20
Legal ages in the world’s top gambling destinations
|Gambling destination||Population of city/region||Number of casinos||Legal age for gamblers|
Atlantic City, USA
Las Vegas, USA
Macau (Special Administrative Region)
18 tourists, 21 locals
Republic of Singapore
21 (plus locals must pay an entry levy to enter a casino)
Monte Carlo, Monaco
San José, Costa Rica
Reasons why some gambling age restrictions appear undefined
|Region||Reason why restrictions and laws are undefined|
Albania banned gambling in 2019. Tourists gambling in licensed five-star casino resorts are the exception. The minimum age for entry is at each casino’s discretion.
There is no such thing as an official gaming license in Cambodia. Policymakers in 2020 are making moves to ban online gambling. Tourists gambling in casino resorts are the only exception.
Online betting is not explicitly prohibited by law, but as one of the country’s major religions being Islam, the practice is not legal or accepted. There are no land-based casinos.
Online gambling laws are ambiguous and have no clear age restriction or regulation. Tourists gambling in casino resorts are the only legal exception.
Northern Mariana Islands
In 2019, the government began a process of online gambling approval and legalization. The age for entry to land-based casinos is at the discretion of each establishment.
Gambling was banned nationwide in 2009. In 2020, a gambling legalization and regulation bill passed in parliament. The legal situation is still taking shape in the country.
Gambling worldwide: quick fact cards
A note on the USA
As noted in the map itself, the USA has a somewhat unique legal situation surrounding gaming and casinos. Some states have a minimum age of 18, some 21 and others have a total ban. The ages and laws vary greatly by state. In fact, they vary so much so that we have dedicated guides for gambling in the USAGo to USA gambling ages guide Go to USA land-based casino guides
Age regulation for gamblers
Limiting gambling by age is important worldwide for a number of reasons. In nearly all countries, gambling can be enjoyed once someone is deemed to have reached ‘adulthood’. Like other age-restricted activities such as drinking and smoking, gambling can be an addictive hobby which can lead to financial and mental health problems.
Having age regulation helps safeguard young people. There are very few nations without any laws or policies on gambling, with even fewer having no age limits. We’ll look at who and how some countries regulate gambling below.
For a more detailed look at regulation in general, check out our related feature on gambling regulators.
Which organisations regulate gambling age worldwide?
UK Gambling Commission
As an advisory public body to the government, its recommendations on age limits are the top authority. It is responsible for ensuring that gambling operators follow all requirements imposed by the Gambling Act 2005. One of the main requirements for getting a license is that the operator must prevent children (and vulnerable players) from gambling. The commission carries out checks to ensures license holders are complying with laws on age regulation. These can include reviews or inspections, then imposing fines or revoking licenses of any non-compliant providers.Where does it regulate?
Across the United Kingdom, plus all online casinos who want to accept UK players. It does not regulate UK sports betting age restrictions.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
The link to age regulation is clearer with this body, which merges alcohol and gaming in the same commission. Alcohol and gaming both have strict legal age restrictions and providers of either can get a license from the AGCO if they comply. Its areas of gaming responsibility include lotteries, land-based and online casinos. Lotteries in Ontario are 18+ whereas casinos are restricted to 19+. Fines may be issued and licenses revoked if the commission finds any underage gambling has taken place at a regulated casino. It reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.Where does it regulate?
Province of Ontario, Canada for any land-based casinos. The AGCO also regulates its own online gaming site, PlayOLG.
Nevada Gaming Commission
The Nevada Gaming Commission is a hugely important regulator for one obvious reason – Las Vegas. It was established following the Gaming Control Act in 1959 and enforces the Nevada State laws on gaming. One of these laws is of course ensuring that only over 21s can gamble. The commission has the power to revoke, restrict, suspend or deny a license of any gambling provider who has proven to allow underage gambling. It works in conjunction with the Gaming Control Board to discipline casinos and issue fines.Where does it regulate?
Only in Nevada, USA.
The Malta Gaming Authority
Despite this Mediterranean island being so tiny, its gaming authority has a lot of power and a solid reputation internationally (the MGA issues tons of online casino licenses). At home, it enforces the Maltese Gaming Act Player Protection Regulations, of which protecting underage players is a large part. It also publishes Gaming Industry Directives to protect players, outlining specific requirements such as the fact that any casino must have a clear sign on the door with the legal age. For online casinos, this must be on the website homepage. If allowing underage gambling is suspected, this body has the power to revoke, suspend or freeze licenses, as well as issue fines.Where does it regulate?
Malta, across Europe and worldwide online.
Is underage gambling really a concern?
For the most part, children and young people cannot gamble legally around the world. In many places under 18s can work and earn money legally, yet are restricted in both land-based and online gambling activities.
In 2019, the UK Gambling Commission published a study on young people’s gambling behaviour. The group surveyed were between 11 and 16 years old. Of those surveyed, 1.7% were classified as ‘problem’ gamblers, plus 2.7% as ‘at risk’.
Some of the most interesting findings were as follows.
In the past 7 days prior to taking part in the survey:
said they had spent their own money on gambling activities
said they had placed a private bet for money (such as with friends)
said they had played cards for money with friends
say they had seen or heard gambling adverts or sponsorship
said they had played on fruit or slot machines
While these statistics were largely an improvement in comparison to a UKGC 2018 study, they seem to show that young people find ways around restrictions. This also depends on how each country or region defines the act of gambling and gaming by law.
There are of course exceptions in many cases which can complicate matters even further – some common examples include the following:
Children and young people can use real money on game apps to buy loot boxes. Loot boxes contain unspecified items, making their purchase a ‘game of chance’ under most gambling laws. Many countries are making moves to get loot boxes banned for under 18s.
Many national lotteries allow under 18s to participate, but many argue that these games are just as harmful as any other type of online or offline real money gambling. National and state lotteries are often the only exception for gambling, plus turning under 18s into potential millionaires brings up some ethical questions.
A child at an arcade can play a coin-pusher game unsupervised and legally, but cannot do the same online. As some online slot games function in almost the exact same way, this may seem contradictory.
You may have noticed exceptions in our map or be aware of these where you live. The attitudes and laws towards young people gambling are so varied across the world and is one of the fastest-moving aspects of industry legislation.
Last updated: July 2020