Gambling in the United States still has its skeptics. Many people have different opinions on how it should be regulated. As a result, it seems like lawmakers are always dealing with a new request to either legalize or restrict gambling.
In places where it is legal to gamble in the US, you must be of age to take part in the associated activities. But thanks to state law, every state has its own legal age to gamble.
Today, as reported by Marina Turea at OnlineCasinoGems, the legal ages for people in the US range between 16 and 21.
Here are the minimum ages to gamble in the US
Minimum Age To Gamble In The US
|State||Lottery Legal Age||Parimutuel Betting Legal Age||Casinos Legal Age||Charity Bingo/Pull Tabs Legal Age|
|California (CA)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||18|
|District of Columbia (DC)||18||N/A||N/A||18|
|Georgia (GA)||18||N/A||18 (cruises)||18|
|Maine (ME)||18||18||21||16 bingo|
|Massachusetts (MA)||18||18||21 (casino ships)||18|
|Michigan (MI)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||18|
|Minnesota (MN)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||18|
|New Hampshire (NH)||18||18||21||18/18|
|New Jersey (NJ)||18||18||21||18|
|New Mexico (NM)||18||18||21||No age limit|
|New York (NY)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||No age limit|
|North Carolina (NC)||18||N/A||21||No age limit|
|North Dakota (ND)||N/A||18 track/21 OTB||21||No age limit|
|Oklahoma (OK)||18||18||18-21||16 tribe – 18/18 pull tab|
|Oregon (OR)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||18 bingo|
|Puerto Rico (PR)||18||18||18||18|
|Rhode Island (RI)||18||18||18||18|
|South Carolina (SC)||18||N/A||21 (casino ship)||21|
|South Dakota (SD)||18||18||21||18|
|Texas (TX)||18||21||21 (casino ship_||Under 18 must have parent|
|Virgin Islands (VI)||18||21||21||N/A|
|Washington (WA)||18||18||18 – 21 (varies)||18|
|West Virginia (WVA)||18||18||21||18|
Brief History Of Gambling In The US
The first instances of gambling in the US can be traced all the back to Colonial Times. With no large-scale restrictions in place, attitudes towards it depended on the community.
By the 1680s, an emerging gentry in Virginia cemented their economic status through their iron grip on gambling in horse racing. Their heavy bets demonstrated their courage and skill and promoted a sense of shared values and consciousness among the gentry. It was this group that came up with elaborate rules and established a code on how to much to bet.
Lotteries were also held in pre-revolutionary America. New Orleans then became the nation’s gambling capital, but gambling became illegal due to religious revivals that comprised the Second Great Awakening and the Third Great Awakening.
200 years later, in the 1850s, San Francisco overtook New Orleans as the gambling capital of the United States. However, California gradually strengthened its laws on gambling and so the games went underground.
Gambling remained illegal across many of the states for a very long time. In fact, Nevada only legalized gambling in 1931, after the Great Depression. This was because the state officials saw it as a way to bring economic relief to the area.
It took a few years before others followed suit. Southern Maryland became popular for its slot machines which operated legally there between 1949 and 1968. In 1977, Atlantic City made gambling legal, turning it into a major tourist destination.
The Seminole tribe opened the first reservation-based commercial gambling in 1979. This began a trend that would be followed by other reservations, seeing lotteries and some parimutuel betting legalized in other areas of the country.
Louisiana legalized riverboat casinos in the 1990s along with Illinois and other US states.
Detroit legalized gambling in 1996, creating an opportunity for casino growth.
However, the government put a hold to the rise in gambling on sporting events by passing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The Supreme Court eventually overturned this law as the court deemed it was unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit states from legalizing it under state law.
The early 2000s saw a rise in online gambling, but the Federal Wire Act of 1961 meant that it was still illegal for interstate and international transactions to take place. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 brought in extra penalties.
Today, the only states that allow online gambling are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
And even then, the rules depend on the game:
|State||Legal Online Casino||Legal Online Poker||Legal Online Sports Betting|