How Old to Go to a Casino?

The contemporary gambling industry is incredibly attractive to all groups of the population. Exciting slots with mesmerizing graphics, timeless roulette, and intellectual card games captivate with their capabilities and unpredictability. Therefore, it is not surprising that young people also show interest in a wide range of casino games and dream of quickly reaching the age when they can join other players. But until a certain age is reached, all this remains just a dream since US laws protecting young people from the temptation to gamble for money are quite harsh. However, the age at which you can visit a casino is not fixed at the national level. Therefore, the biggest fans of casino games among young people can find many states in which visiting casinos is possible earlier than in most states. Learn the current restrictions in different states to know under what conditions you can legally play at a casino.

Who Sets the Age for Visiting the Casino?

If you want to get a simple and quick answer to the question of at what age gambling is allowed in the USA, you will most likely be disappointed. There is no uniform policy at the federal level regarding the gambling industry. Each state individually determines its attitude towards offline and online gambling. Moreover, even if gambling is legal in the state you are interested in, this does not mean that you will find all your favorite games at a local casino. Each state also individually determines which forms of gambling are available and which are not.

The same applies to the minimum age allowed to visit a casino. 

  • In some states, it is the same as for voting in elections — 18 years. 
  • In most states, it is tied to another key stage of gaining certain rights — 21 years or the age at which you can start buying alcohol.

However, if you are 19 years old and can visit a casino in your state from the age of 18, this does not mean that all casino games will be available right away. The only forms of gambling available in your state may include lotteries and bingo. Therefore, carefully study the laws of the states, and if you are eager to enter luxurious casino halls, visit those states where maximum freedom is possible both in terms of game offerings and in terms of the minimum age threshold.

4 Groups of States Regarding Minimum Age for Visiting Casinos

Although each state individually develops rules for visiting casinos and determines the permissible age for gambling, they can be divided into 4 groups.

States Where Casinos Are Prohibited

There are 2 states in the USA in which you cannot enter a casino at any age simply because gambling there is prohibited. So, if you live in or visit Utah and Hawaii, you will have to travel to another state to play at a casino. However, non-profit gambling is allowed in these states. Therefore, if you are not interested in winning money, you can have a good time in the company of friends playing some social games.

States Where You Can Visit Casinos Over 21 

Most states that have legalized gambling fall into this category. Legislators believe that a person who has reached the age of 21 is more responsible and well-aware of their actions. Therefore, youth over 21 are less likely to become addicted to gambling than teenagers or young people under 21. Additionally, alcohol, which is often served in casinos, can only be consumed in the United States if you are 21 or older. Therefore, by closing access to casino halls to younger people, casino operators are saving themselves from problems with the law. So, among the states in which you can visit casinos at 21 years are the following:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania

Even in such states as Nevada and New Jersey, world-famous for their amazing casinos, playing in a casino is only permissible from 21. Therefore, if you are under 21, you will have to wait a little or move to one of the states where casino doors are open to those over 18.

States Where Casinos Can Be Visited at 18 

Some states have lower thresholds for visiting casinos. And the reason is not that operators want to get the widest possible audience. As a rule, the age is lower in those states where such practice is consistent with the tribal law. By agreement with the state authorities, tribal casinos allow those over 18 to play for money. Thus, you can visit casinos at a younger age in the following states:

  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Washington

In some of them, such as Georgia or South Carolina, visiting is also possible from 18 years old. However, land-based casinos are prohibited in these states, and gambling services can only be offered on cruise ships.

States Where Minimum Eligible Age Is Determined by Casinos

There are also states with flexible legislation that provide freedom of choice for casinos. Each of them develops its regulations, under which it offers visitors its services. The casino operator may establish a general rule allowing persons over 18 or 21 years to play. The casino can also determine games that are allowed to be played from the age of 18 and games that can be offered to those over 21. These states include California and Michigan. Therefore, if you decide to play for money in these states, first study the policies of the casino you are going to visit.


Age restrictions for visiting casinos are made for the benefit of the younger generation. Therefore, do not blame legislators for being too strict. This age threshold is set on the basis of various scientific studies that research the susceptibility of the psyche of different ages to temptations. It is easier for an adult person to control their bankroll and stop in time if something goes wrong. On the contrary, young people may have problems with using their willpower during the game.

Therefore, you have a choice — either patiently wait for your 21st birthday or travel to a state where casinos are allowed from the age of 18. In any case, it will be an exciting trip that will broaden your horizons and give you a lot of new impressions.