Your Guide to Gambling by US State
One of the most common questions we get from US players is, “What’s the legal gambling age in my state?” To help you, we’ve created a tool below where you can search for local casinos that allow players of your age. We’ve also made a table that outlines the minimum gambling age per state, and by gambling type. Additionally, we’ve included some helpful information on the gambling markets and bet types available to Americans.
Looking for somewhere to play? Visit our guide to the best casinos near you.
Minimum Legal US Gambling Age
Legal gambling ages vary across the US, with states setting the minimum at either 18 or 21. However, this can change depending on the type of gambling, and if you're playing at a Native American casino. See how the legal gambling age applies to your state:
|US State||Casinos||Poker Rooms||Bingo||Lottery||Dogs & Horseracing||Pari-mutuel|
(varies by casino)
|Georgia||18 (cruises only)||18||18||18||18||-|
(varies by casino)
|New Mexico||21||21||No Limit||18||18||18|
|South Dakota||18 at Indian Casinos||-||-||-||-||-|
|South Carolina||21 (cruises only)||18||18||18||-||-|
What’s the Legal Gambling Age in My State?
The minimum age for gambling in the US varies between 18 and 21, depending on the state. If you want to find a casino near you, check out the map below to see every state’s minimum age for sports and casinos.
The Bet Types Available to US Players
Below we've listed the most popular betting types in the US, found both online and at local sportsbooks. Whatever sport or event you wager on, these bets will likely be the ones you'll be making.
- Pari-mutuel betting
- This is a style of betting most commonly associated with horseracing. In pari-mutuel wagering the people who correctly choose the first, second and third-place finishers divide up the losers’ stakes. That means the prizes are based on how much was bet in total, not odds determined in advance by the sportsbook.
- Each way bets
- Each way bets pay out if your horse wins or places in the race. What’s considered “placing” usually depends on how many horses are racing. In races with five to seven horses, the top two finishers pay out. In races with eight or more horses, the top three places pay out. Each way bets are not available in races with four or less runners.
- Parlay bets (accumulators)
- Some people refer to parlays as simply reinvesting the winnings of one bet into your next bet in order to multiply your winnings if you get more than one bet right. Sportsbooks and casinos also offer parlays that let you combine different bets onto one ticket which means you can combine bets on games that are happening at the same time. Parlays offer big payouts but also more risk since one wrong pick is all it takes to lose the entire parlay.
- A double is another name for a parlay or accumulator bet that includes two different bet selections.
- A treble is another name for a parlay or accumulator bet that includes three different bet selections.
- Forecast bets
- A straight forecast bet means you must pick the two horses that will win and place second, in that order. A reverse forecast is when you choose which two horses will win and come in second in any order. Combination forecasts let you choose three or more horses to finish first and second, also in any order.
- Tricast bets
- To win a straight tricast bet you must pick the three horses that will finish first, second and third in the order you choose. Combination tricasts allow you to choose the three horses that will finish in the top three spots in any order.
Common US Gambling Questions
There is little nationwide licensing or regulation of US gambling as a whole, with the exception of tribal gaming, which is authorized by the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Each US state is in charge of regulating its own gaming entities. Most states have established gaming commissions or lottery boards to oversee the gaming activities there.
The legality of online poker and casino sites in the US also depends on which state you’re in. Some states like New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have set up their own online poker and casino sites.
These state-run online casinos have the best safety and security for players because they’re subject to stricter licensing laws within the US. Some offshore casinos also accept US players and are regulated by various e-gaming licensing bodies located around the world.
A 2005 study showed that 85% of adults in the United States gambled at least once in their lives, and 80% of them had gambled in the past year. The exact number of people gambling in the US is hard to pin down precisely, but considering that gambling is estimated to be a $250 billion annual industry that supports 1.8 million jobs nationwide, you can bet it’s a huge number.
In 2007, according to a Topline Findings report, 23 million Americans played poker regularly, and 15 million of them played online for real money. Of those, seven million of them played online poker at least once per month. The number of Americans gambling real money on casino games online is estimated to be even bigger.
No, but like all gambling in the US, the laws around online gambling vary state to state. Always check with your local authorities for the most up-to-date information.
It will depend on which state you live in and where the casino operates from. We recommend checking with your local authorities before getting in on the action.
Yes. The United States government requires a 25% tax on gambling winnings that exceed $600 at a horse track, $1,200 at a slot machine or bingo game, $1,500 in keno, and $5,000 in poker tournaments.
The same rules apply to online casino winnings no matter where the internet gambling company is based. Players can often deduct losses to offset the amount of tax owed, but a tax specialist should help with that decision. In addition, state taxes are different in each state, so make sure you’re familiar with the local legislation.
All land-based US casinos use USD for betting and cashing out. They’re also able to exchange any other major currencies for USD on premises.
Even though they’re based in other countries, many international online casinos and poker sites operate using USD because it is a globally recognized currency. Players can deposit, play and withdraw in USD.
Casino gambling is heavily regulated in the United States, meaning all casinos and sportsbooks are subject to tons of oversight, rules and regular audits. Casinos are required by law to protect their customers’ money and pay out winning bets.
Players in the US who are concerned about playing at an international online casino or poker site should look for proper licensing, and a symbol from eCOGRA, when choosing which site to play at.
The eCOGRA symbol represents the approval of a major international oversight organization that conducts regular audits and ensures the site is operating fairly and protecting the safety and security of players.
Yes. The best online casinos that cater to American players use random number generators to ensure fair play. They also use encryption software to make sure that all player information is secure within the site. Check that the casino has a valid e-gambling license from an accepted regulatory body before you decide play.
If you suspect any unfair activity at a land-based casino, you can report it directly to casino security. You also have the option to contact the state gaming commission that oversees the casino you’re visiting.
Online gamblers can always report a site, or players on a site, to the company that holds the online casino license. Regarding off-shore casinos, Americans won’t be able to seek help from the US government because they don’t regulate them at the moment. But the licensing institution, along with any oversight organization like eCOGRA, will be responsible for looking into any concerns about unfair activity.
Just as the gambling laws in the US vary state to state, so too do the consequences for anyone caught gambling underage. In most cases, fines will be assessed and certain privileges, like a driver’s license, could be revoked. It can even involve prison time, so it’s best to ensure you know the minimum age in your area before placing any bets.
Responsible Gaming for Americans
Americans have many resources for responsible gaming and gambling addiction. Below we’ve listed a couple of places to start.
National Center for Responsible Gaming: Researching the field of gambling disorders and offering training to health providers, as well as youth and college programs.
Gamblers Anonymous: Offers several online resources to help with addiction, as well as ways to get in touch. Those with problems, or those concerned about a friend or family member, are free to use the search engine to find open or closed meetings located in every state.
Disclaimer: Online Gambling laws differ in each country around the world and are subject to change. We thus urge our readers to check their local laws before engaging in online gambling, and we do not condone any gambling in jurisdictions where it is not permitted. Casino.org is not a gambling operator, no gambling facilities are offered on this site, and we cannot be held responsible for activities engaged upon on third-party sites.