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Overview of Legal Gambling Age Worldwide

Gambling has been around since before written history. Humanity has frequented gambling because, for many of us, it aligns with a part of our human nature that revels in thrill-seeking behaviours. You can find the earliest evidence of it in 2300 BC.

It’s also been seen all over ancient China. Historians unearthed tiles and discovered that these were for gambling purposes. Rome also dabbled in wagers. It did not receive the most dice games well and prohibited them. Humanity has seen gambling restrictions imposed very early on in history. In this article, you’ll come to know the various age restrictions for gambling around the world.

In many cases, a country can have a different gambling age for slot machines than it does for blackjack. Restrictions like this one are complex and vary from region to region.

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Gambling is Not For Children

Gambling is Not For ChildrenThis activity can be an enjoyable pass-time, an engaging hobby, and even a professional career. It can also be something much worse, like an addiction. With this in mind, it becomes easier to conceptualize why gambling restrictions exist.

These restrictions are present because gambling is still a potentially dangerous activity. This activity is harmful because, without the necessary maturity, one can fall prey to more primal urges. It is not for children.

It requires a mind trained to handle the hardships that life throws at you. The difference between a ready mind and one that is not lies in how one approaches the challenges. As you’ll see in the rest of this article, gambling restrictions vary from total restriction to total freedom.

Comparing Gambling Age in Regions Around the World

Gambling in americaWhat someone can do in one country, another risks a criminal record in the other. That is why you must be aware of what the official legal ages are for each country. In an age where people use air travel frequently, one must always come to understand that each society is different.

Canada & USA

In Canada, the average gambling restriction sits at 19 years of age. There are, however, several exceptions where the legal age is 18 years old. These are Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta. The US is much more complicated.

In the US, the legal age varies from the age of 18 to 21. As a rule of thumb, it is safe to assume that it is 21, given that most of the US prescribes to the rule. In states such as California, there are permissions for certain activities at 18, and others at 21.

South America

Are you under 21 years of age? No problem. South America has set the restriction at 18. However, certain countries, such as Ecuador, have a total prohibition on gambling. The only exception to this is online gambling using a foreign provider. Ecuador has banned it since 2011.


Gambling in EuropeThe case in Europe is an interesting one. The legal gambling age differs depending on the country or even the province that you’re in. The legal age in Europe varies from a general 18 years old to 21 years old. There are exceptions to the rule, however.

In the United Kingdom's case, you can take part in the lottery when you’re 16. The United Kingdom does, however, set other activities at 18. Greece is a country that errs to the more liberal end with the legal age of 21.

You’ll also notice foreign policies on the topic. Certain countries, such as Portugal, allow tourists to gamble at 18, but locals at 21 years of age.


Unfortunately, in the Middle-East, gambling is mostly prohibited and illegal. This ban is due to the religious influence of Islam. Some countries in the region do provide exceptions for tourists.


Gambling in JapanJapan has set the legal age to 20 years of age. There have been legislative changes that set 18 as the minimum in certain areas.


In Oceania, the legal age is quite varied. New Zealand displays one of the more interesting cases where it is legal to bet on horse racing at 18, but they have prohibited casino gambling until you’re 20. Australia, on the other hand, is set at 18.

Other countries, such as Papua New Guinea, have limited themselves to non-existent gambling infrastructure. This lack means that there are no concrete gambling laws. An exception to this would be their online gambling regulations. As a general rule, the legal age is 18 years old.


gambling in AfricaThere are several African countries where gambling is illegal. These include but are not limited to: Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Mauritiana, and Libya. Certain countries, such as Ethiopia, allow for online gambling, but not for brick-and-mortar establishments. Most countries allow for a legal age of 18.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. An example of this is Egypt that has set the legal age to 18 for foreigners. It may also be 21 in certain casinos. Egyptian residents may only enjoy sports betting, as it is illegal for them to gamble.


The legal age for gambling differs greatly from country to country, and it may sometimes vary from state to state. It may rarely differ from casino to casino. It is essential to understand this, as underage gambling penalties can be severe in some instances.

You may also find cases where the gambling laws are few to non-existent. There are other situations where there are no laws on brick-and-mortar establishments, but several for online gambling. Some have opted for total prohibition owing to cultural or religious reasons. While many countries opt to enjoy and appreciate it for what it very well can be: as a positive tool for economic growth.

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Lucas Goldberg

Author: Lucas Goldberg
  • 113 articles
Expert in:
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As an expert writer, Lucas thinks that gambling is all about choosing the right strategy. A unique approach can be developed for each game, and there is nothing better for our author Lucas than analyzing gameplay, figuring out the best gambling tactics, and creating reviews on new games.

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Dmitry Rogalchuk

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