Gambling Age restrictions and Laws

Like most industries in the world today, the gambling industry has laws and guidelines that regulate how its operation is done. Gambling regulatory authorities choose and establish these gambling laws, and casinos and other gambling institutions are obligated to enforce them. One of the most paramount aspects of these gambling laws is age restrictions. Just as there is an acceptable age for driving or drinking, there is a minimum age at which people can participate in any gambling-related activity. Naturally, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to gambling laws, so gambling age differs depending on different jurisdictions. In this article, we will take a closer look at age restrictions in gambling laws worldwide. 

Why Age Restrictions significant to Gambling Laws

Many countries across the globe are open to gambling and try their best to regulate the activities, making it a legal and safe activity. However, many other countries like Russia and the Czech Republic focus more on the negative sides and completely prohibit the activity in any form. One of the many ways the countries that support gambling tries to regulate the activity is through age restrictions. This is because, no matter how much casinos and other gambling institutions try to brand gambling as just fun entertainment, there is still a negative side to it that cannot be overlooked.  It means that it is essential that anyone who engages in gambling activities understands the dangers that come with it. So, individuals who are not yet considered adults by law are deemed incapable of taking responsibility for any consequence that may come with their gambling activities. Therefore, underage gambling is considered a key issue that many legal authorities across the globe try to prevent, hence, the age restriction.

The standard Age around the world

In the majority of the countries around the world, the legal age for gambling is 18. From many countries in Europe to many states in Canada and America, 18 is when many settled on as an acceptable age for gambling. The reason for it is that “18” is the minimum age people are widely accepted as adults in these countries, by law or by the environment as a whole. 

This issue is genuine for online gambling. When you visit William Hill online casino or any other casino across the globe, you have to be at least 18 years old before you can place bets on games.

Legal Age by Continents 

As we have earlier mentioned, 18 is the legal gambling age in many countries across the globe. However, there are many exceptions that this standard doesn’t apply. In addition, each jurisdiction has its gambling laws and age restrictions that come with these laws. So, let us take a closer look at the general situation of age restrictions on each continent.

North America

Generally, the minimum age for gambling in the United States of America ranges between 18 and 21, and people under this age are not allowed to gamble. This variation is because each state has its unique laws when it comes to gambling in the US. So while you might find that it is okay to gamble at 18 in Oklahoma or Montana, you have to be 21 before gamble in Texas or Nevada.  Interestingly, the age restrictions are also dependent on the game type. So, even if it is legal to play the lottery when you are 18 in a particular state, you may have to wait until you are 21 before placing bets on horse racing or other sports.

As Canada also delegates autonomy of gambling laws to each county, age restrictions vary based on county. However, generally, a player must be 19 years old to gamble in Canada, except for three counties, where the minimum age is 18. These three counties include;

  • Alberta
  • Quebec
  • Manitoba

Europe

Thanks to the existence of the European Union, which led to a close relationship between many countries across Europe, certain legislations are unified. Gambling laws are one such legislation, and as a result, the legal age to gamble across many countries in Europe is 18. However, this wasn’t always the case as many countries such as France, Germany, Belgium, and many others prohibited any individual under 21 from gambling.

Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions to this European standard legal status. For example, while the minimum legal age for foreigners to gamble in Portugal is 18, residents have to be 21 before they can be allowed to engage in any gambling activities. Some casinos can even go as high as 25. Greece is also another example. It has a 21-year-old threshold and can even go as high up as 23 or 25 at certain casinos.

Asia

Gambling laws are a bit complicated in many Asian countries, with some outrightly banning the activity. For example, any form of gambling by residents in China is prohibited and considered illegal. Even the legal status of gambling is more of a grey area in Japan. Because of this, many gamblers in Asia flood Macau and Hong Kong, where gambling is legal to play their favourite game. 

The gambling age across Asia countries, where gambling is legal, also ranges between 18 and 21. However, many countries like Hong Kong accept players over 18 years old, while Macau and other countries have a minimum threshold of 21 years old.

Casino Laws and Age Restrictions

South America

South America is known to have a gambling aversion due to which gambling had always been illegal in many countries in the continent until recently. In 2006, the step towards the legalization of gambling in the continent started, and all the countries now have many forms of gambling activities, both online and offline. The legal gambling age across all the 15 countries within the continent is 18. 

Africa

African countries, especially Nigeria and Kenya, are some of the largest participants when it comes to sports betting. In most countries in Africa, the legal age for gambling is 18. However, certain exceptions feature high age restrictions limits, and they include:

  • Egypt – 21
  • Namibia – 21
  • Côte d’Ivoire – 21
  • Nigeria – 20

Oceania

Concluding our list is the Oceania continent. When it comes to gambling in Australia, things are quite simple and clear. The gambling age in Australia is 18. Although each state has its certain autonomy in gambling activities within its jurisdiction, the legal gambling age across Australia is the same.

Most of the other countries that constitute the Oceania continent also have 18 as their threshold except for New Zealand. Although 18 is the minimum age you need to be before you can place bets on horse racing and some other games, you have to be 20 before being allowed entry into a casino in New Zealand.

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