Gambling Age Around the World
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Gambling Age Around the World

Gambling Age Around the World

Gambling rules differ from nation to nation. Although gambling is legal in most countries, it’s still illegal in a few countries. Some nations are strict about the act while others are pretty lax. Still others have strange rules that make no sense.

The legal gambling age across the globe differs significantly. In some countries, only foreigners can legally gamble. In other nations, anyone is allowed to wager, but the gambling age is not the same for residents as it is for foreigners. A good example of this is Portugal; any foreigner aged 18 is allowed to gamble in all casinos, but natives must be 21 or 25 depending on the casino.

Around the world, the gambling age is usually 18; about 50% of western nations accept this as the minimum age. More than a few countries, including Greece and Germany, have a higher limit, which points out how thorny the question of age is when it comes to gambling.

However, there is no universal gambling code or law governing wagering age in all countries. For this reason, the younger generation of wagers had better stop and ask themselves: “Are we of the legal age to gamble in different countries?” Here is what you need to know about the gambling age worldwide.

Gambling Age in the US

More often than not, the US casino age for various casino games such as blackjack and slots is the same. To confuse you, however, the gambling age in the US varies from state to state. While most states require gamblers to be 21 or older, states like Wyoming and Minnesota legally allow gamblers aged 18 and over to wager. In rare cases, the age limit is lower. For instance, in Oklahoma, and Maine, the authorized wagering age for bingo is 16. 

There are many opportunities to gamble in the U.S.; gamblers are allowed to play lottery games, casinos, poker, bingo, as well as online games depending on their state. When it comes to online casinos, gamblers can legally access online poker, and casino gaming in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

Some states stand out for their peculiar restrictions. For instance, to participate in the State Lottery in Delaware, you must be at least 18. However, the law allows a gambler to purchase a ticket and give it to a minor. The state also allows individuals to play slots and casinos, but you must be 21 and above.

Typically, the legal gambling age for most states varies from 18 to 21. This age limit is strictly enforced at casinos since most casinos allow gamblers to drink on their premises. IDs are checked at the entrance to ensure patrons are of the correct age. Moreover, most online casino gambling sites only allow players who are 21 to play. 

Gambling Age in Canada

The legal age to gamble in Canada also varies from state to state. Thanks to the country’s gambling laws, states are allowed to make and implement their own rules. The minimum legal gambling age is 19. States whose legal gambling age is 19 include British Columbia, Labrador, New Brunswick, NW Territories, Newfoundland, Nunavut, Nova Scotia, and Vancouver. Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta, set 18 as the minimum age to enter a casino.

Gambling Age in Europe

Most European nations have a similar minimum age to gamble. Even so, there might be a slight variation across countries. When it comes to lotteries, many countries in the region have set the minimum age at 18, but in Estonia the minimum age is16!  Denmark is considering lowering the minimum age from 18 to 16.

European countries with a minimum age of 21 include Greece, Germany, Belgium, and Lithuania. Sweden allows bettors to start placing wagers at age 20; nearly all the remaining nations (if not all) agree that 18 is the minimum age to play casino games. Years ago Spain and France lowered the minimum gambling age from 21 to 18.

There are a few countries with unusual restrictions. In Portugal, for example, any tourists aged 18 and over can gamble, while 21 is the minimum legal age for a citizen to gamble. The situation is not much different in Malta. Although the minimum age is 18, as is the case in Portugal, the residents of Malta are only allowed to gamble when they reach age 25.

Monaco is, arguably, Europe’s gambling capital, courtesy of casinos in Monte Carlo. Casino de Monte Carlo is one of the most renowned casinos in the world. Although gambling is legal in Monaco, to enter a casino there, you must be at least 18 years old. What’s striking, citizens cannot access casinos in the principality. Tourists have to produce passports to ascertain their residence.

Gambling Age in the UK

In the UK, all gambling is controlled by the Gambling Commission. The minimum legal gambling age in the UK is 18.

To make things clear, punters must be at least 18 to play real money games such as online gambling, casinos, bingo, sports betting, and racing. Still, there are exceptions, specifically to scratch cards, and the National Lottery draws which allow players aged 16 to participate.

Gambling Age in Oceania

There are several notable differences concerning gambling restrictions in New Zealand and Australia. Although the minimum gambling age in Australia is 18, stricter laws are enforced in some parts of the country. Not all forms of gambling are legal. Lotteries and sports betting are the only legally acceptable forms; live betting, and online casinos are largely illegal. However, there is a way out for casino gamblers: Australian citizens are not barred from accessing overseas gambling sites.

In New Zealand, the minimum gambling age within a casino is 20, but there are specific rules governing other types of gambling. For instance, at age 18, you can play instant win scratchies, and gamble on sports and racing. However, laws governing lottery draws such as Daily Keno, and NZ Lotto are nonexistent.

Speaking of casinos, New Zealand citizens can access offshore online casinos, but authorities in the country prohibit advertising these services to its residents.


Gambling is largely illegal in China, except for the administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) is the government-sponsored not-for-profit corporation that controls all permissible gambling in Hong Kong. Citizens are allowed to place bets via the HKJC; all other types of gambling are illegal in Hong Kong.

Keep in mind that you must be at least 18 to be allowed into casinos off mainland China. This is only for visitors; locals must be at least 21 to enter any casino.

According to the HKJC, legal forms of gambling include overseas soccer betting, Mark Six lottery, and horse race betting.  No matter whether you are a visitor or resident, you are not allowed to place bets with unlicensed bookmakers—whether foreign or local.

Wagering activities in Macau are controlled by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). The forms of gambling allowed in Macau include poker, conventional casino-style games, and horse racing. All these are offered offline except for a few local-internet-based gambling options offered by specific casinos.

In June 2018, the Chinese administration forbade all online poker applications. Citizens can still access specific state-run lotteries, travel to legal gambling centers overseas, and access games via offshore-based proxy gambling companies. Even so, if you are caught betting illegally, you’ll most likely be fined $30,000 with 9 months imprisonment; according to the law


In 2016, the Japanese government passed a ruling to abolish Act 21 of 1907, thus legalizing gambling. Although the government lowered the adulthood age from 20 to 18, you still aren’t able to gamble if you are under 20.

Despite it being legal, any local wishing to gamble is allowed a maximum of 10 visits per month and pays a $50 entry fee. In contrast, tourists are allowed to gamble as much as they wish without losing any money to entrance fees.

Currently, pachinko (one of the legal forms of gambling) is the most addictive form of gambling. 18-year-olds are legally allowed to participate in this form of gaming since winners are awarded prizes other than cash. The Japanese spend about $209 billion yearly playing this game.

Sports betting in Japan include football, horse racing, and more. Lottery and bingo are legal since they are lawfully considered a form of amusement. Other forms of gaming allowed in Japan include powerboat racing, motorcycle racing, and bicycle racing.

Strangely enough, to play Nenmatsu Jumbo Takarakuji (a renowned form of the lottery) you must purchase tickets at Mizuho Bank. When it comes to payout, any amount over 500,000 Yen must be collected in a bank.

Online wagering is illegal in Japan. Meaning, no Japan-based casino is allowed to operate online. We are not sure of the government’s position today, but should you access online casinos from Japan, you will most likely receive winnings in Yen.


Like the US, gambling laws in India vary from one state to another. Common forms of gambling allowed in India include rummy, lottery, and horse racing. However, casino gambling is legal in Goa and Sikkim.  The minimum gambling age ranges from 18 to 21.


Gambling Age in Africa

Among the best countries for gambling in Africa are South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Morocco, and Uganda.

To legally gamble in South Africa, whether on land or online, you must be aged 18 or over. Wagering is allowed in Kenya, where 18 is also the minimum gambling age. Common types of gambling accessible in Kenya include sports betting, casinos, and horse racing, among other forms.

In Botswana, the Gambling Act affirms the minimum gambling age as 18, but some regulations put it at 21. As a tourist, you’d be safe if you stick with 21. Legal gambling activities include lotteries, casino games, bingo, horse racing, and sports betting.

The minimum gambling age in Morocco is 18. Despite being predominantly Muslim, gambling is legal in Morocco. Though the nation’s gambling acts don’t address online gambling, it’s recognized as Besides.  All casinos in Uganda are located in the country’s capital (Kampala), and one must be at least 18 years old enter a casino and play. Sportsbooks and lotteries are very popular in Uganda.


Why Are There Age Restrictions on Gambling?

People everywhere feel old enough to make grown-up decisions before their elders decide they are ready. Age restrictions on gambling fall into an intricate system of regulations meant to protect the young from making life-destroying decisions.

Although science doesn’t quote the exact age people become fully mature, 25 is considered the final stage of intellectual and emotional development, Mental Health Daily suggests.

Children are considered less able to make the right choices about risky behavior — which is one of the reasons they are not allowed to participate in numerous professional sports. Without a doubt, they miss the physical attributes, and maybe training needed to compete. Besides, their mental abilities aren’t fully developed.

A 20-year study found that youngsters subjected to stress mature earlier than their peers. But this is no justification for consenting to having some teens gamble, drink, smoke or engage in other risky behavior. Gambling is all about risk, and society views it as being too questionable for the underage.

According to science, adolescents are more susceptible to addiction[C1]  than adults. To further this claim, the majority of the few mature adults who are considered addicts, picked up the habits while still adolescents.

Gambling addiction is the number one reason most governments oppose the spread of planned, underage gambling. Age-restrictive acts are meant to ensure that children and young adults are furnished with a fair chance to grow and mature in safe environments. This can partly be achieved by holding adults accountable for how they intermingle with minors.


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