Legal Sports Betting Age By State

For many new sports bettors, the minimum age requirement for legal sports betting is one of the single biggest concerns. Underage gambling is viewed as a major offense that can prompt heavy fines or even jail time for sports betting operators, so sportsbooks are extremely strict about who they allow to gamble. Federal law provides fairly extensive guidelines for most forms of gambling, but it has always left the specificity of legal gambling age requirements to individual states. International online sportsbooks are free to set their own limits, but domestic providers are subject to state age requirements.

Some states offer limited forms of gambling (bingo, charity games, etc.) starting well before the age of 18, but all states require that players be at least 18 years old to bet on sports. 35 states set their legal gambling age higher than 18, which is unfortunate for sports bettors. Thankfully, even in these states, legal sports betting is available to all players who are 18 years old as long as they use international online sportsbooks. 

Sports Betting Ages By State

Each of the states with sports betting 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.)

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 almost all of them 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.

Legal Sports Betting Age At Online Sportsbooks

The legal sports betting age at online sportsbooks can be different depending on where you live. For example, Rhode Island, Oregon, and New Hampshire only require people who are using online sportsbooks to be 18 years old or older. However, in places such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, you have to be 21 years old or older in order to use legal sports betting sites. A general rule of thumb to follow is to check your state’s casino gambling laws as those are the ones usually used to define the required sports betting age.

When it comes to using online offshore sportsbooks, those sites usually require users to be 18 years old or older. However, if your state’s sports betting laws require bettors to be 21 years old or older than you will have to follow that guideline before using offshore options. This will ensure that you are totally safe when using these sites, otherwise, you may run the risk of running into trouble down the line. These offshore sites take underage gambling very seriously and those that are caught betting as a minor will have their winnings confiscated and their account terminated.

 

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The Risk Of Underage Sports Betting

Let’s be very clear here: if you are underage, you should not, under any circumstances, gamble. Knowing your state’s gambling laws is incredibly important, because, while there are no laws against using an offshore sportsbook, there absolutely are laws in every state regarding the legal gambling age. The penalty for doing so can range from fines to misdemeanor charges to felony charges, and, to top it off, even if the law doesn’t get involved, if the online sportsbook figures out that you are underage, you can and will be banned and lose all your money. Underage sports is a very risky and illegal activity and is not recommended in the slightest.

Legal Horse Betting Age

The legal horse betting age is the same as it is for sports betting on the list above. Horse betting is one of the reasons that legal gambling ages exist in the first place, so it is no wonder that they use the same laws as casinos and sportsbooks. Overall, if you are 21 then you can bet on horses and are old enough to bet on sports anywhere in the world. If you are over 18, then you are only old enough to bet on horses in these states.

Alabama – California – Hawaii – Kentucky – Michigan – Montana – Oklahoma – Oregon – Rhode Island – Tennessee – Utah – Vermont – Virginia – Washigton – Wyoming

Why Is There A Minimum Age Limit To Bet On Sports?

When it comes to betting on sports inside of a casino sportsbook, there is often an age restriction because the sportsbook will serve alcohol on the premises. In order for the casino to keep their liquor license and comply with the federal law, everyone in their building must be 21 or older. Certain states, such as Rhode Island, have sportsbooks that accept bettors as young as 18 because the sports betting laws will allow them to. When it comes to betting on sports online most of the sites in the US will set their age restriction according to the state that they are based in. When using on offshore sports betting site, most of them will set their minimum age at 18 because that is the legal age to gamble in the country that they are based in.

How Do I Verify My Age To A Sportsbook?

With both land-based and online sportsbooks, you will need to provide legal documentation that shows you are legally old enough to bet on sports. This can be a standard government-issued ID. It is also a requirement at international sportsbooks, with online sports betting operations requiring ID in order to prevent you from making multiple accounts as well as ensuring they are sending the payments to the correct person. It is not a difficult process to prove your age at sportsbooks and if you are looking to bet on sports you must have documentation proving your age.

Is There An Age Limit To Go Inside Of A Sportsbook?

Yes, and as of right now, almost every legal land-based sportsbook in the US requires anyone trying to enter the venue to be 21 or older. Only Rhode Island, New York, and Montana will allow bettors as young as 18 to enter their sportsbook. Some casinos have their own betting apps or post their odds on their website so you can view lines from there, but in order to physically enter the casino or racino you must meet their age requirement.

Will I Get In Trouble If I Am Sports Betting Underage?
Yes, and the penalties range by state and by the sportsbook. If you are caught betting on sports underage at a land-based sportsbook you could, at the very least, be charged with a misdemeanor, forfeit your winnings, and pay a fine to the state. If you’re caught betting underage through an online offshore sportsbook you will forfeit any winnings in your account and potentially be banned for the site for life.
Where Can I Bet On Sports Under 21?

As of right now, your only land-based options would be in Rhode Island and New York. Once Montana launches their sports betting operations those would become an option as well. The same goes for sports betting in New Hampshire. Oregon will let those 18 years old or older to use the lottery’s mobile sportsbook known as Scoreboard. Some states that are working on sports betting legislation are aiming to set the legal gambling age at 18 as well. We will update you as soon as we have confirmation on which states do so. Online offshore sportsbooks will normally accept members 18 or older, but it is best to comply with the age requirement set by your state. If you take a look at the list above, we have laid out which states you can start online sports betting under the age of 21.

What Is The Legal Age For Horse Betting?

Most states have set the legal age for horse race betting at 18 or older. This includes betting on live races and simulcast races. However, there are a handful of states, such as Arizona, that require pari-mutuel bettors to be 21 or older. There are even some states that say you have to be 19 or older to bet on the ponies, so be sure to check your state laws. Most online racebooks will require their users to be at least 18 or older in order to bet on the races.

Which Online Sportsbooks And Betting Apps Do Not Check Age?
The answer is none, and in the off chance that you do find one that doesn’t check, we suggest that you steer clear of it. Online sportsbooks that do not check age show that they lack the care to abide by their countries laws and could be an outright scam. If you are under the age of 18 or 21 we suggest that you wait and study the industry so that when you become of the legal age in your state you will be well-versed in sports betting and ready to start winning.
What Is The Legal Betting Age At Bovada?

Bovada only requires that users be at least 18 years old, no matter what state they might live in. But, be aware that it might still be best to consult the betting age in your state (above), because some states have (obviously) mandated higher ages. With this said, there has never been a single person arrested for underage gambling online, however there are consequences if someone fails to meet minimum betting ages at Bovada or any other sportsbook. These penalties often include suspension of account and forfeiture of all funds within said account. In other words, wait until you’re at least 18 to bet with Bovada.