Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the US, and its huge array of casinos is one of the largest reasons. It draws visitors from all over the country, as well as several parts of the globe.
Sin City has a huge concentration of casinos, many of which are close together on the main strip. And when you become an adult, you might well want to pay a visit with your friends. Given how confusing the US’ gambling laws can be, though, knowing whether you’re allowed to is a wise starting point.
So, how old to gamble in Las Vegas must you be? Where in the US can you gamble at 18? Let’s find out.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Gamble in Las Vegas?
If you’re 18 and hoping to visit Vegas for its casinos, we’ve got some bad news. Unfortunately, you must be at least 21 years old to gamble in Las Vegas.
The legal gambling age of 21 also applies to the rest of Nevada, so you won’t be able to try your luck elsewhere in the state.
It’s also worth noting that many hotels in Vegas do not allow guests under the age of 21 to stay at their venues. As such, you should check before booking any accommodation that an age restriction doesn’t apply.
Like gambling, the legal drinking age in Nevada is also 21.
What States Have Casinos?
Now that you know how old you have to be to gamble in Vegas, you might want to look elsewhere. The good news is that gambling in the US is pretty widespread, and you will find casinos dotted throughout the country.
Close to Nevada, you will find casinos in Arizona. But again, you need to be at least 21. California also has a selection of casinos, and we’ll discuss its gambling laws in more depth later.
Oregon also borders Nevada, and the state has various tribal casinos. You can gamble in a wide selection of verticals if you’re 18, with horse racing being one example. However, you have to be 21 at some casinos.
Other states with casinos in the US include:
• South Dakota
When looking at what states have casinos, all but eight states currently have venues of this kind. The states without casinos include Utah, Hawaii, and Kentucky.
What States Can You Gamble At 18?
While most US states have casinos, you have to be 21 in many of them. Fortunately, you will find a wide selection where you can gamble at 18; we’ve listed a number of those states in the subsections below. You will, however, find various others that allow you to gamble at 18.
Alaska is the northernmost US state, and its natural beauty is astounding. If you’re looking for an unlikely place to enjoy a flutter among your sightseeing, you might want to consider booking a trip here.
In Alaska, you can gamble at casinos and slot machines from the age of 18 upwards. The state has 10 casinos dotted throughout.
Note that while you can gamble at 18 in Alaska, you must be at least 21 years old if you want to drink alcohol.
Minnesota is another state in the north of the US that has a lower gambling age than most other parts of the country. Like Alaska, you can gamble at 18 – and unlike many states, you aren’t restricted from some of the more popular verticals.
The only exceptions for gambling in Minnesota are that you cannot wager in verticals which are illegal here. Similarly, you are not allowed to drink alcohol until you’ve turned 21. Casinos that serve alcoholic beverages might impose limits on those under the legal drinking age, so it’s worth double-checking before you visit any of them.
Florida (In Some Cases)
Florida’s gambling laws are some of the most complex in the US. However, you will find some verticals that you can gamble on from the age of 18 onwards.
If you’ve turned 18, you can wager on pari-mutuel events. Horse racing is one example of this; you’re also allowed to bet on the lottery.
However, you cannot use slot machines until you turn 21. Similarly, Florida has a legal drinking age of 21 – meaning that you might get turned away from casinos serving alcohol.
New York (In Some Cases)
New York is one of the US’ largest states by population, and millions flock to New York City each year to enjoy the bright lights, food, fashion, and more. While the city itself only has one casino at the time of writing, you will find others elsewhere in the Empire State.
New York has a legal gambling age of 18, which applies to pari-mutuel betting – plus the lottery and other similar fields. In some cases, however, you will need to be 21. Some casinos also have an age limit of 21 and older, which is also how old you need to be to drink alcohol.
Wyoming is one of the smallest states in the US, with a population of around 580,000. And like many in the northern parts of the country, the state has a legal gambling age lower than what you will find elsewhere.
While some forms of gambling are restricted to 21 and above in the likes of New York and Florida, you can gamble in all legal verticals as soon as you turn 18 in Wyoming. You will find a selection of casinos dotted throughout the state.
Note, however, that while the legal gambling age in Wyoming is 18, you have to be 21 to drink.
Like Wyoming, you can gamble on all legal verticals in Idaho when you turn 18. You will find several casinos for 18-year-olds throughout the state.
The only casino you can’t gamble at when you turn 18 is Clearwater Casino. Here, you must be at least 21 when you visit the venue.
Washington (In Some Cases)
Washington is another state in the north of the US that allows players to gamble at 18. And like Idaho, you will find several casinos for 18-year-olds in the state.
You can gamble in several verticals at 18 in Washington, including bingo. It is worth remembering that some casinos have an age limit of 21, so you should check for these when you visit to ensure you’re allowed inside.
How Old to Gamble in California?
California is known for being one of the US’ most liberal states, but its approach to gambling has been a little tricky to navigate. For example, attempts to legalize sports wagering have been met with significant challenges over the past few years.
In California, you have to be at least 18 to gamble in the state. However, the reality is a little more complicated than that.
While the legal gambling age in California is 18, the majority of venues have an age limit of 21 and older. However, you will find a couple of casinos for 18-year-olds – such as the Gold County Casino Resort and Barona Resort & Casino. At both of those mentioned, you can visit their poker rooms.
The Gambling Age in Vegas Is Important to Understand
Knowing how old you have to be to gamble in Vegas can save you a lot of time and wasted effort if you haven’t yet reached the legal age. And if you aren’t yet old enough to gamble in Nevada, not all hope is lost; you will still find several parts of the US that allow you to wager from 18 onwards.
States allowing 18-year-olds to gamble are spread out across the country, and you will find plenty of other fun activities to do on your visit as well. As such, you might want to make a true adventure of it.
Having read this guide, you should have a good understanding of where in the US you can gamble at 18. You will, of course, need to do a little extra research – as some casinos in those states won’t permit players below 21.