Your Guide to Gambling by US State


One of the most common questions we get from US players is, “What’s the legal gambling age in my state?” To help you, we’ve created a tool below where you can search for local casinos that allow players of your age. We’ve also made a table that outlines the minimum gambling age per state, and by gambling type. Additionally, we’ve included some helpful information on the gambling markets and bet types available to Americans.

Looking for somewhere to play? Visit our guide to the best casinos near you.

Minimum Legal US Gambling Age

Legal gambling ages vary across the US, with states setting the minimum at either 18 or 21. However, this can change depending on the type of gambling, and if you're playing at a Native American casino. See how the legal gambling age applies to your state:


Gambling Age Per Gambling Type

US State Casinos Poker Rooms Bingo Lottery Dogs & Horseracing Pari-mutuel
Alabama
21
21
18
-
18
-
Alaska
21
-
19
-
-
-
Arizona
21
21
18
21
21
21
Arkansas
21
21
18
18
18
18
California
18/21 (varies by casino)
18/21 (varies by casino)
18
18
18
18
Colorado
21
21
18
18
18
18
Connecticut
21
21
18
18
18
18
Delaware
21
21
18
18
18
17
Florida
21
18
18
18
18
18
Georgia
18 (cruises only)
18
18
18
18
-
Hawaii
21
21
18
18
18
-
Idaho
18
18
18
18
18
18
Illinois
21
21
18
18
18
18
Indiana
21
21
18
18
18
18
Iowa
21
21
21
21
21
21
Kansas
21
21
18
18
18
21
Kentucky
-
-
18
18
18
18
Louisiana
21
21
18
21
18
18
Maine
21
21
16
18
18
18
Maryland
21
21
18
18
18
18
Massachusetts
21
21
18
18
18
18
Michigan
18/21 (varies by casino)
32
18
18
18
18
Minnesota
18
18
18
18
18
18
Mississippi
21
21
18
-
18
18
Missouri
21
21
18
18
18
18
Montana
18
18
18
18
18
18
Nebraska
21
21
18
19
19
18
Nevada
21
21
21
-
-
21
New Hampshire
21
18
18
18
18
21
New Jersey
21
21
18
18
18
18
New Mexico
21
21
No Limit
18
18
18
New York
21
21
18
18
18
18
North Carolina
21
21
28
18
-
-
North Dakota
21
21
18
18
18
18
Ohio
21
21
16
18
18
18
Oklahoma
18
18
16
18
18
18
Oregon
21
18
18
18
18
18
Pennsylvania
21
21
18
18
18
18
Rhode Island
21
21
18
18
18
18
South Dakota
18 at Indian Casinos
-
-
-
-
-
South Carolina
21 (cruises only)
18
18
18
-
-
Tennessee
-
-
18
18
-
-
Texas
21
21
21
18
18
21
Utah
21
21
18
-
-
-
Vermont
21
21
-
-
-
-
Virginia
21
18
18
18
18
-
Washington
18
18
18
18
18
18
West Virginia
21
21
18
18
-
18
Wisconsin
21
21
18
18
-
21
Wyoming
21
21
18
18
-
18

The Gambling Markets Available in the US


Casino

Casinos

Americans absolutely love gambling, and you’ll find land-based casinos in almost every state. Blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, and slots are among the most popular games in the US. The same is true of online gambling, as American players spend billions every year playing online casino games at government-run and offshore casino sites.


Blackjack

Poker

Whether it’s live or online, Americans play poker in large numbers. The game exploded in popularity in the early 2000s after Chris Moneymaker won the world championship, and millions of dollars. Now there are fewer options to play poker online in the US, but it’s still available in land-based casinos in almost every state in the country.


Basketball

Sports Betting

Sports betting is experiencing a renaissance in the US thanks to a huge decision by the Supreme Court to give each state the authority to legalize sports gambling. A handful of states have already started licensing casinos and sportsbooks, and more are following all the time. Americans love betting on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and tons of other sports, so expect to see big things coming soon for US sports betting.


bingo

Bingo

Bingo is a classic American game, and it’s not limited to retirees and church fundraisers. Americans all over the country play bingo in large numbers both locally and online. Bingo is also accessible in some states that don’t currently allow other forms of real money gambling, which has only added to the game’s popularity.


Keno

Lottery

Lotteries are big business in the US, and some jackpots are now reaching more than $1 billion! Lotteries are run by states, or groups of states, and offer players tons of different gambling options in addition to just picking numbers. Some state lotteries run sports betting pools and some offer other special games.

The Bet Types Available to US Players

Below we've listed the most popular betting types in the US, found both online and at local sportsbooks. Whatever sport or event you wager on, these bets will likely be the ones you'll be making.


Bet Type Description
Pari-mutuel betting
This is a style of betting most commonly associated with horseracing. In pari-mutuel wagering the people who correctly choose the first, second and third-place finishers divide up the losers’ stakes. That means the prizes are based on how much was bet in total, not odds determined in advance by the sportsbook.
Each way bets
Each way bets pay out if your horse wins or places in the race. What’s considered “placing” usually depends on how many horses are racing. In races with five to seven horses, the top two finishers pay out. In races with eight or more horses, the top three places pay out. Each way bets are not available in races with four or less runners.
Parlay bets (accumulators)
Some people refer to parlays as simply reinvesting the winnings of one bet into your next bet in order to multiply your winnings if you get more than one bet right. Sportsbooks and casinos also offer parlays that let you combine different bets onto one ticket which means you can combine bets on games that are happening at the same time. Parlays offer big payouts but also more risk since one wrong pick is all it takes to lose the entire parlay.
Doubles
A double is another name for a parlay or accumulator bet that includes two different bet selections.
Trebles
A treble is another name for a parlay or accumulator bet that includes three different bet selections.
Forecast bets
A straight forecast bet means you must pick the two horses that will win and place second, in that order. A reverse forecast is when you choose which two horses will win and come in second in any order. Combination forecasts let you choose three or more horses to finish first and second, also in any order.
Tricast bets
To win a straight tricast bet you must pick the three horses that will finish first, second and third in the order you choose. Combination tricasts allow you to choose the three horses that will finish in the top three spots in any order.

Common US Gambling Questions


Who regulates the US gaming industry?

Local casinos

There is little nationwide licensing or regulation of US gambling as a whole, with the exception of tribal gaming, which is authorized by the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Each US state is in charge of regulating its own gaming entities. Most states have established gaming commissions or lottery boards to oversee the gaming activities there.

Online casinos

The legality of online poker and casino sites in the US also depends on which state you’re in. Some states like New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have set up their own online poker and casino sites.

These state-run online casinos have the best safety and security for players because they’re subject to stricter licensing laws within the US. Some offshore casinos also accept US players and are regulated by various e-gaming licensing bodies located around the world.

How many Americans gamble regularly?

Local casinos

A 2005 study showed that 85% of adults in the United States gambled at least once in their lives, and 80% of them had gambled in the past year. The exact number of people gambling in the US is hard to pin down precisely, but considering that gambling is estimated to be a $250 billion annual industry that supports 1.8 million jobs nationwide, you can bet it’s a huge number.

Online casinos

In 2007, according to a Topline Findings report, 23 million Americans played poker regularly, and 15 million of them played online for real money. Of those, seven million of them played online poker at least once per month. The number of Americans gambling real money on casino games online is estimated to be even bigger.

Is gambling online illegal in the US?

No, but like all gambling in the US, the laws around online gambling vary state to state. Always check with your local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Are gambling ages different for online casinos?

It will depend on which state you live in and where the casino operates from. We recommend checking with your local authorities before getting in on the action.

Do I have to pay tax on my winnings?

Local casinos

Yes. The United States government requires a 25% tax on gambling winnings that exceed $600 at a horse track, $1,200 at a slot machine or bingo game, $1,500 in keno, and $5,000 in poker tournaments.

Online casinos

The same rules apply to online casino winnings no matter where the internet gambling company is based. Players can often deduct losses to offset the amount of tax owed, but a tax specialist should help with that decision. In addition, state taxes are different in each state, so make sure you’re familiar with the local legislation.

Can I use USD to bet?

Local casinos

All land-based US casinos use USD for betting and cashing out. They’re also able to exchange any other major currencies for USD on premises.

Online casinos

Even though they’re based in other countries, many international online casinos and poker sites operate using USD because it is a globally recognized currency. Players can deposit, play and withdraw in USD.

How do Americans know their money is safe?

Local casinos

Casino gambling is heavily regulated in the United States, meaning all casinos and sportsbooks are subject to tons of oversight, rules and regular audits. Casinos are required by law to protect their customers’ money and pay out winning bets.

Online casinos

Players in the US who are concerned about playing at an international online casino or poker site should look for proper licensing, and a symbol from eCOGRA, when choosing which site to play at.

The eCOGRA symbol represents the approval of a major international oversight organization that conducts regular audits and ensures the site is operating fairly and protecting the safety and security of players.

Are online casinos fair?

Yes. The best online casinos that cater to American players use random number generators to ensure fair play. They also use encryption software to make sure that all player information is secure within the site. Check that the casino has a valid e-gambling license from an accepted regulatory body before you decide play.

What should I do if I suspect unfair activity?

Local casinos

If you suspect any unfair activity at a land-based casino, you can report it directly to casino security. You also have the option to contact the state gaming commission that oversees the casino you’re visiting.

Online casinos

Online gamblers can always report a site, or players on a site, to the company that holds the online casino license. Regarding off-shore casinos, Americans won’t be able to seek help from the US government because they don’t regulate them at the moment. But the licensing institution, along with any oversight organization like eCOGRA, will be responsible for looking into any concerns about unfair activity.

What happens to underage gamblers?

Just as the gambling laws in the US vary state to state, so too do the consequences for anyone caught gambling underage. In most cases, fines will be assessed and certain privileges, like a driver’s license, could be revoked. It can even involve prison time, so it’s best to ensure you know the minimum age in your area before placing any bets.

Responsible Gaming for Americans

Americans have many resources for responsible gaming and gambling addiction. Below we’ve listed a couple of places to start.

National Center for Responsible Gaming: Researching the field of gambling disorders and offering training to health providers, as well as youth and college programs.

Gamblers Anonymous: Offers several online resources to help with addiction, as well as ways to get in touch. Those with problems, or those concerned about a friend or family member, are free to use the search engine to find open or closed meetings located in every state.

Disclaimer

Online Gambling laws differ in each country around the world and are subject to change. We thus urge our readers to check their local laws before engaging in online gambling, and we do not condone any gambling in jurisdictions where it is not permitted. Casino.org is not a gambling operator, no gambling facilities are offered on this site, and we cannot be held responsible for activities engaged upon on third-party sites.