Legal Sports Betting Age By State
Of all the questions that a potential sports bettor may have, finding out the legal sports betting age by state should be a top priority. Underage gambling is a serious offense that can be easily avoided by equipping yourself with basic sports betting knowledge. While we can look to federal laws to find out legal answers related to most aspects of sports betting, the legal betting age is different. Instead of one universal sports betting age, the legal age to bet on sports is determined by each individual state. While online sportsbooks may have their own minimum sports betting ages in place, potential sports bettors will still need to research their state-specific betting age.
In the states that do not operate land-based sportsbooks, the age for legal sports betting will often coincide with the casino gambling age. In the majority of the United States, residents will need to be at least 21 years old before betting on sports. There are a handful of states that permit betting at a younger age.
Legal Sports Betting Age At Land-Based Sportsbooks
Generally speaking, the legal sports betting age at land-based sportsbooks is 21 years old. Now that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 1992) has been overturned, each state is allowed to set its own age minimums for its own sports wagering industry. Most states have chosen 21, as this aligns well with their existing gambling policies at the venues where new sports betting lounges are opening. In some ways, it’s silly to sort out any legal sports betting age by state, as they all seem to be in agreement on this one point (and only this one point, truth be told).
The caveat here comes when the entirety of a state’s gambling market is tribal in nature, with casinos located totally on sovereign tribal land (i.e. reservations). In these states, there are often added challenges to getting new sports betting laws passed, as the tribes tend to have sweeping exclusivity deals as part of their state compacts. It is conceivable that in such states, where sports wagering is limited to tribal venues, that the sports betting age would be 18, in line with most pari-mutuel and lottery age minimums nationwide. However, in every land-based sports betting lounge currently operating in the US, the minimum betting age is 21.
Legal Sports Betting Age At Online Sportsbooks
The legal sports betting age at state-licensed online sportsbooks will be the same the general gambling age. Offshore sports betting sites will often have an age requirement of 18 years old as they are based overseas where the laws may be different. US bettors should always follow their legal sports betting age by state, i.e. the age that has been determined by their state government. This means that if you are required to be at least 21 years old before betting within your state, the same applies to wagering at an online sportsbook. On the other hand, if a sportsbook requires players to be 21 years old but the betting age in your state is 18 years old, you will need to wait until you are 21 per the terms & conditions of the site.
All of our most recommended offshore sportsbooks only require their members to be 18 to sign up and play. If you live in a state without any age minimums, you can join these at 18 and gamble freely on sports (and all the other casino and racebook attractions available). That said, be warned: If you sign up at any legal Internet betting site under the age of 18, you will have your account permanently banned and all your funds confiscated (including any unwithdrawn winnings). Never gamble underage!
Is Online Sports Betting Legal?
Betting on sports online is legal as long as a legitimate sports betting site is used. The first option is a state-licensed online sportsbook, which follows state-based regulatory requirements. There are only a few of these types of sites, which is why offshore online bettings are far more common.
These sites operate overseas from countries such as Costa Rica, Panama, and Antigua. Being licensed and regulated in these territories means that the online gaming operators are not violating any of the federal sports betting laws in place in the states. There are no federal laws that explicitly outlaw citizens from using offshore sites, and the majority of the 50 states do not have online sports betting laws at the local level. As long as you stick to the required legal sports betting age by state and use a reputable sports betting site, you will not encounter any problems wagering online.
The Risk Of Underage Sports Betting
As noted above, the main risk of underage sports betting is that you will be banned and lose all your money. That should be deterrent enough, but many states do have laws in place that – at least cursorily – apply to sports bettors gambling under the age of 21 (or 18). The legal penalties in these states for betting underage vary from low-level misdemeanors to low-level felonies for repeat offenders. There are also fines involved, ranging from $50 in some states to over $1000 in others. Still, these laws are almost never enforced, and nobody has ever been arrested or fined simply for wagering on sports over the Internet at an offshore book.
Sports Betting Ages By State
Each state is different, but the legal sports betting age by state is almost always 21, while the legal lottery and pari-mutuel betting age is usually 18 (except for Alabama, where all gambling ages are 19 for some reason). The following age minimums for sports betting are what you should stick to, listed alphabetically by state. (Note: The states with an age range indicate areas where there is a different limit for commercial vs. tribal casino gaming and betting, and you can typically err on the side of the lower age.)
- Alabama Betting Age – 19
- Alaska Betting Age – 18
- Arizona Betting Age – 21
- Arkansas Betting Age – 21
- California Betting Age – 18-21
- Colorado Betting Age – 21
- Connecticut Betting Age – 21
- Delaware Betting Age – 21
- Florida Betting Age – 21
- Georgia Betting Age – 18
- Hawaii Betting Age – 18
- Idaho Betting Age – 21
- Illinois Betting Age – 21
- Indiana Betting Age – 21
- Iowa Betting Age – 21
- Kansas Betting Age – 21
- Kentucky Betting Age – 18
- Louisiana Betting Age – 21
- Maine Betting Age – 21
- Maryland Betting Age – 21
- Massachusetts Betting Age – 21
- Michigan Betting Age – 18-21
- Minnesota Betting Age – 18-21
- Mississippi Betting Age – 21
- Missouri Betting Age – 21
- Montana Betting Age – 18
- Nebraska Betting Age – 21
- Nevada Betting Age – 21
- New Hampshire Betting Age – 21
- New Jersey Betting Age – 21
- New Mexico Betting Age – 21
- New York Betting Age – 18-21
- North Carolina Betting Age – 21
- North Dakota Betting Age – 21
- Ohio Betting Age – 21
- Oklahoma Betting Age – 18-21
- Oregon Betting Age – 18-21
- Pennsylvania Betting Age – 21
- Rhode Island Betting Age – 18
- South Carolina Betting Age – 18
- South Dakota Betting Age – 21
- Tennessee Betting Age – 18
- Texas Betting Age – 18
- Utah Betting Age – 18
- Vermont Betting Age – 18
- Virginia Betting Age – 18
- Washington Betting Age – 18-21
- West Virginia Betting Age – 21
- Wisconsin Betting Age – 21
- Wyoming Betting Age – 18