You won’t find many casinos that allow 18 year olds in your neck of the woods, and for the few folks that do, the pickings are slim. Most under 21 gambling establishments in the US are relegated to lottery kiosks, horse racing tracks and OTBs, and Class II tribal operations that don’t offer house-banked table games, slots, or poker rooms. There are exceptions of course, with several states offering 18+ poker options.
There are just a handful of under 21 gambling states that have legalized the practice post-PASPA, though most brick-and-mortar betting lounges require customers to be 21+ as a matter of course.
So, what are gamblers under 21 supposed to do? It’s too risky to participate in underground casinos and black-market sports betting rings. Remember, 18 is the legal age of adulthood in the US, so you might even get charged with a serious misdemeanor or felony for going that route. Surely there’s a better way, right? Fortunately, there is! In the United States, it is almost universally legal for under 21 gamblers to sign up at offshore casino sites, poker rooms, and sportsbooks over the Internet. To find out easy and safe it is to get started, keep reading our brief primer!
Most Trusted Online Gambling Sites
Accepting Players Under The Age Of 21
Is Gambling Under 21 Legal?
Gambling under the age of 21 is legal in five distinct markets in the United States. For most users, the options for under 21 gambling are not particularly compelling, as none of these are what can be considered “Vegas-style” gaming. If you’re under 21 years old, these are your options:
Naturally, if you want to play online poker, crank the digital slots, play traditional casino table games, and bet on sports no matter where you are, your most viable option is to use offshore gambling sites with US-friendly banking options for gamblers under 21.
These sites are like having Vegas at your fingertips, they’re legal and safe to use, and you don’t have to spend time hunting Google Maps looking for some far-flung place to gamble. Online casinos have everything you could ever want, and they’re open to under 21 players 24/7/365.
- State lotteries + bingo halls
- Select domestic sportsbooks
- Class II tribal venues with pull-tabs and similar games
- Domestic horse racing and dog racing tracks
- Select state-regulated 18+ poker rooms
- Offshore casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks
Three states currently offer domestic online casinos (DE, NJ, PA, WV pending), but all of these require players to be 21 and up. However, offshore under 21 online casinos have no such restrictions, and they’ll readily accept all customers aged 18-20.
That said, if your state has an official casino gambling age minimum on the books of 21 and up, you are advised to stick with that before signing up online. The casino sites will accept you at just 18, but it’s best to stay on the safe side. If you decide to sign up anyways, you do so at your own risk.
Four states have active online poker rooms up and running (DE, NJ, NV, PA, WV pending), but as with casino gaming, you’ve got to be at least 21 to play. International online poker sites are accessible to nearly all members under 21, however, and the game types on offer – and the competition you have to play against – are far better than what you’d ever find domestically in the few states that allow online poker. You can visit any of our featured online poker sites for players under 21 for more information about playing poker online.
If your state has any 21+ poker age minimum requirements on the books, we recommend adhering to your state's legal restrictions. Will you get 'busted' for playing poker online at age 18 or 19? No, but you will still be taking a risk since technically you are violating an established regulation.
A small minority of the states that have legalized sports betting have set their age limits to under 21 (i.e. 18 and up), like Tennessee. Unfortunately, even states where sportsbooks are run by government lotteries mostly set the age for participation at 21-plus. This is not a problem, however, online sports betting sites operating offshore will accept US members at just 18, and our recommendations list the top-rated under 21 online sportsbooks on the web.
Note: In states that have gambling age laws specifically designated at 21+ for sports betting, you should probably stick with that mandate even when playing at offshore books, though the sites themselves will still accept you. You are advised that you proceed at your own risk in such circumstances.
Why Age Limits Are 18+ At Online Gambling Sites
Online gambling sites are bound by the laws of the countries in which they operate. The areas that the top sites are headquartered in all have legal gambling ages of 18 and up. And because these sites don’t serve alcohol, they aren’t bound by those restrictions, either.
Further, it’s fiscally and morally sensible to offer casino games, poker tournaments, and sports betting to 18-year-olds, because in the US, these are full-blown adults who should be treated as such, and three years is a long chunk of a consumer’s life cycle to be out of the gambling loop. We believe that under 21 players are fully able to be responsible adults and follow the best practices for safe gambling.
To learn more about the sites listed in this guide visit our 21+ online gambling reviews page where we go into specific details about each brand and its pros and cons.
Mobile Gambling For Under 21 Players
No casino or sportsbook site would be worth its house take to players if those players couldn’t access the games and betting boards via mobile. The dramatic majority of 18-20-year-old players don’t own traditional computers, living almost entirely on their iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other portable devices.
Fortunately, each of the sites we list here have full mobile portals that are optimized to fit your device perfectly, regardless of make or model. These are web apps, too, so there’s never anything to download or update (except for your system OS itself, which you should always keep updated for security patches and other improvements).
All you need to enjoy 18+ mobile gambling is a modern portable device, an up-to-date web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, etc.), and an Internet connection. Offshore mobile gambling isn’t geofenced like domestic options, either, which means you can bet on the go wherever you go!
Live Gambling Options For Under 21 Players
Live dealer gambling, live poker, and live sports betting are all popular markets at offshore sites. Members under 21 have full access to these, as well as everything else our recommended operators have on tap.
Under 21 Gambling FAQs
The legal gambling age in Vegas – and in most of the rest of America – is traditionally set at 21 for two reasons. First, lawmakers consider gambling a “vice,” and there have long been lobbyist organizations pushing to limit the age of participation to 21 and up.
Secondly, most casinos as a matter of course serve alcohol on the gaming floor, which means that they are treated like bars and clubs. Because the legal drinking age in the US is 21, these venues stick to that in order to remove all doubt about underaged alcohol service on the gaming floor.
Yes, you can go into a casino under 21 years of age, but you are not going to be allowed on the main gaming floor if the venue is a commercial operation in the United States.
Typically, casinos have other entertainment options like concerts, stage shows, restaurants, and hotels with resort-style accommodations, most of which are open to people under 21 years of age. However, anything involving casino gaming and alcohol consumption is strictly off limits to anyone who isn’t at least 21 years old, and there are no exceptions.
If you want to gamble and you’re not yet 21, the best and only legal option is to use an offshore betting site. These sites only require their members to be 18 in order to sign up and play.
The only way you can gamble in Las Vegas – or anywhere else in NV – under the age of 21 is to use an offshore gambling site via your computer or mobile device. There are no casinos that take action from the under-21 crowd in Sin City, and though this may change in the future, it isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
If you’re under 21 and at least 18, you can gamble at a select few retail venues in the US. Of course, lotteries and bingo and pull-tabs are hardly compelling, so if you want real casino gaming and sports betting without worrying about travel and other expenses to get a sub-par experience, simply join an online betting site from our list of recommended vendors. Then, you can gamble at 18 from literally anywhere in the country!
Sort of. Above, we mentioned that it’s considered a best practice to defer to your state’s legal gambling age if it is explicitly cited in the law books.
So if your state has set a legal age for 21 for casino betting, it might be prudent to wait until you’re at least that old before signing up offshore. Same goes for under 21 sports betting and poker playing.
That said, if your state has no minimum age listed for the gaming market you’re interested in, you can go ahead and sign up at 18+ with any reputable offshore operator.
OK, whoa. Let us stop you right there.
Kid, we love you and can’t wait for you to join us at the virtual tables and betting lounges, but this is a total no-go. If you’re under 18, you can’t gamble legally at any domestic venue or any legitimate online betting site. You can probably get away with having a poker night in your dorm or a friend’s house, so long as nobody operates as “the house” and takes a cut, but that’s the extent of it.
If you really want to gamble under the age of 18, stick to loot boxes in video games. Those are like lotteries and you won’t learn anything about casino gaming or sports betting, but it’s a form of gambling that hasn’t been legislated away for minors...yet.
If you do a quick search for “18 and up casinos near me,” depending on where you live, you’ll find a few sparse results. These are never going to be anything special, though, so the closest under 21 casino to your location is always going to be in your pocket, right there on your smartphone. After all, wherever you go, there you are. And there your casino is, too!
Yes, but just like any high-risk profession, most people won’t succeed if they try to be hotshots right off the bat.
When you’re just out of high school, you’ve got your entire life ahead of you. And while gambling can be a fun pastime to supplement your further schooling, industrial apprenticeships, or day jobs, you need to be realistic.
You’ve got plenty of time, so take small steps, and if you find that your gambling winnings outpace your paycheck or other earning potential, then by all means, make a career of it. Otherwise, consider it a fun, lifelong hobby with many happy returns.
Our advice here is identical to the above. Sports gambling for a living is possible, but you should never let gambling get in the way of your other career opportunities.
You can always bet sports alongside whatever else you choose to do, and if you begin to clear more cash wagering on players and teams than you do at your 9-to-5, you might consider making it your primary job.
But until then, you should think of sports betting as a fun, potentially profitable pastime to enhance your love of the game. And that’s a bet you’ll win every time.