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Legal Gambling Age

It has been part of real-world gambling for decades now and even though the dynamic of online casinos is slightly different, similar regulations are put in place and you won’t be able to play unless you are of the legal age to gamble within your chose region.

Gambling is all about good times and having fun. This is precisely why legal gambling age restrictions are put in place. They ensure that no one who is vulnerable to irresponsible gambling as a result of their age can partake in casino games.

This does raise quite a few questions though. Such as how old do you have to be gamble online? What happens if you aren’t the right age to gamble but still do? How do casinos know you are the legal age to gamble? And who regulates the age to gamble at a casino? All of this you will be able to learn on this page.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Gamble?

Depending on where you live in the world, the legal age to gamble can vary. It can also vary within the nation as to what the age to gamble is for different types of betting. Generally, though, the answer to how old do you have to be to go to a casino in the real-world or online will be the same. Below you will find the age to gamble in the larger English-speaking regions of the world.

The UK

In the UK, the legal gambling age is 18, which is the same as the rest of Europe. This means that people under that age cannot bet at online or in real-world betting locations, such as betting shops or racetracks. This also stretches to bingo too and if you aren’t 18 you also can’t play the famous ball-game. Interestingly though, you can play the national lottery and buy scratch cards at the age of 16 which is technically still a form of gambling.


The legal age to gamble in Canada is less black and white, as all gambling laws in the country are decided by each state’s own authoritative gambling body. However, as a rule of thumb, the age to partake is the same as the drinking age in that state, which for the most part is 19. However, in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec you can be a year younger and enter a casino at 18.


Australia has very clear laws that mean that you cannot partake in any gambling if you are under the age of 18. This means the age to gamble online and offline in all formats is 18. And you can’t even play casino games for free if you are under that age.


The USA has the strictest gambling laws out of any country, not just in how terms of the legal gambling age but gambling in general, with only a handful of places allowing casino gambling anyway and even fewer allow online gambling. However, if you can find a place to play online or offline, the age will be the same at 21. Thus, the gambling age in Vegas, where you can enter a real-world casino, and the gambling age in New Jersey, where you can play at an online casino, are both 21, with any other legal gambling locations also sharing that same age to gamble.

How Do Online Casinos know Your Age?

You may think because you are playing online that the how old to gamble laws in your country do not apply or you can somehow get around them, but this is not true. This is because casinos are forced by their licensing bodies to ensure they know that the people using their site are of the legal gambling age for that region.

This is done by a Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure. This is a process that you must complete upon registering at a casino and its purpose is to identify customers before they can properly use a casino site. Each online casino’s KYC procedure may vary slightly, but they will nearly always ask you to provide an ID of some form, a bank card with your name as confirmation, and a secondary document as a proof-of-address. They will then intrinsically check this document against your personal details to confirm that everything is matching before your account passes the procedure. If not, they will either ask you to send more ID materials or blacklist your IP from making future accounts.

If you do not fulfill the KYC, you may be able to deposit or place bets but you won’t be able to withdraw until you have confirmed who you are. If you fail to complete it after a set amount of time, you will like also have your account blocked. The teams at casinos will also stay up to date with activity on the account too, so if anything suspicious about your age pops up at a later date it will be flagged.

If a casino is found to have not put appropriate procedures in place to prevent underage gambling, then they can receive a hefty fine. Hence why they check things so rigorously and it is not in their interest to let any underage players in.

Why Do Legal Gambling Ages Exist?

Back in the day when Legal Gambling Ages weren’t a thing, young people could be misled by the glitz and glamour of casinos with little concern about getting addicted and getting in debt. Naturally, this had dire consequences for the rest of their life. People of a certain age are likely to have more self-control to prevent this. Essentially, this is what legal gambling ages are all about, safeguarding.

It is not just up to the individual or casinos to ensure that underage people adhere to the legal age to gamble though. If you are a gambler yourself but are close with people who are not of the legal gambling age, then it should be your responsibility that they, A) don’t indulge in gambling, and B) don’t get attracted to it as a result of your actions.

Responsible gambling is a crucial part of the past time and legal gambling ages are a part of that. Thus, it should be respected if we wish to avoid problems popping up when we play online. Remember gambling is all about fun but can be addictive and underage people are particularly at threat from that.

Learn more about responsible gambling here.