Sports Betting

Sports Betting in the United States ─ What is the Minimum Legal Age for Betting?

Navigating the landscape of sports betting in the United States can be as thrilling as it is complex, especially when it comes to understanding the legalities involved. At the heart of these legal considerations is a fundamental question: What is the minimum legal age for sports betting in the United States?

This question is crucial not only for new bettors eager to join the action but also for seasoned enthusiasts looking to stay compliant with the ever-evolving laws. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intricate tapestry of regulations governing sports betting across various states, unraveling the age requirements that serve as the gateway to this exciting world of sports wagering.

The United States is a complicated country when it comes to explaining gambling rules and age limitations.

Firstly, every state has its own laws and regulations, and even locals who gamble are not always fully aware of all the rules in action.

Secondly, certain activities are not legally allowed in a state but it doesn’t mean that people don’t play, and the other way around – there might be attempts to legalize an activity, but the laws are not in action yet.

Also, the minimum age that allows gambling is different across the country, this is why every player has to double-check the minimum legal gambling age by state and see what activities they can pursue. Plus, the minimum gambling age does not usually correlate with the drinking age so certain facilities may not allow players in if drinks are served in the facility.

Also, while betting on sports, playing daily fantasy sports online, and making bets on horse racing are three different activities and three different categories in the law, most people who enjoy sports betting are also interested in daily fantasy sports or racing opportunities. This is why we added daily fantasy and horse racing to the table of allowed ages below.

Table of A by State


To find out whether you are eligible for making bets on sports in your state or neighboring states, please check out the table.

If you see more than one age for allowed activity, it means that different sources state different age limits, so certain communities may set higher or lower limits.

If you see a “not active” indication, it means there is a law that allows the activity but it has not yet been activated and therefore one cannot pursue this type of bets.

State Sports Betting Daily Fantasy Sports Horse Racing
Alabama illegal illegal 18/19
Alaska illegal 18 illegal
Arizona 21 21 212
Arkansas 21 18/21 18
California illegal 18/not active 18
Colorado 21 18/21 18
Connecticut 21 21 18
Delaware 21 21 18
Florida illegal illegal/18 18
Georgia illegal illegal 18 but bets are not allowed
Hawaii illegal illegal illegal
Idaho illegal illegal 18
Illinois 21 21 21
Indiana 21 18/21 18
Iowa 21 21 21
Kansas 18/21 18 18
Kentucky 18 18 18
Louisiana 21 21 18
Maine illegal 18 18
Maryland 21 18 18
Massachusetts 21 21 18
Michigan 21 21 18
Minnesota illegal illegal 18
Mississippi 21 21 18/cruise ships
Missouri 21/not active illegal 18/not active
Montana 18 18 18
Nebraska 18/21 illegal 19
Nevada 21 illegal 21
New Hampshire 18 18 18
New Jersey 21 21 18
New Mexico 21 illegal 21
New York 21 18/21 18
North Carolina 21 18/21 18
North Dakota 21 illegal 21
Ohio 18/21 18 18
Oklahoma 18/not active 18 18
Oregon 18/21 18 18
Pennsylvania 21 21 18
Rhode Island 18/21 18 18
South Carolina illegal illegal illegal
South Dakota 21 18/21 18
Tennessee illegal 21 illegal
Texas illegal illegal 18
Utah illegal illegal illegal
Vermont illegal 18/not active 18/21
Virginia 21 18/21 18
Washington 18/21 illegal 18/21
West Virginia 21 21 18
Wisconsin illegal illegal 18
Wyoming illegal 18/21 18

States That Legally Allow Sports Betting


States that allow betting on sports usually by default allow online sports betting. It means there are licensed mobile applications available in the state (most often more than one app) that can be downloaded freely and used from a smartphone or tablet for distant betting. This is in contrast to horse race betting which is most often allowed directly on the racing track and rarely online.

Only Missouri and Oklahoma have not yet activated their updated laws that allow sports betting to local citizens of the appropriate age. However, high chance that locals can actually use mobile apps available in the neighboring states.

Legal Horse Racing Bets

The absolute majority of states allow bets on horses, and at the same time, horse races have been steadily losing popularity in recent years. There are many reasons for this situation but the consequence is that fewer and fewer hippodromes are working, fewer horses participate in the races, and fewer people are still interested in racing, at least in terms of gambling entertainment. There are more modern and entertaining options available from the comfort of their homes, 24/7, or at least without animal exploitation.

Daily Fantasy Sports Rules

Daily fantasy sports are either fully allowed, or fully ignored and therefore operate in a grey zone, or sometimes, they are illegal. However, one has to understand the “illegal” statement correctly in the case of daily fantasy sports. Most often illegal means “legislation has not yet been updated to include this activity to the list”, and daily fantasy sports simply do not exist legally (despite the fact that the activity has been around for years by now).

Due to the rules that all gambling activities are by default prohibited if not allowed, this makes daily fantasy sports formally illegal but most people play the apps on a regular basis without any negative consequences, and moreover, daily fantasy sports are usually available at 18.

Online Sports Betting

Online sports betting is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, particularly in states where sports betting has been legalized. This surge is largely driven by the convenience and accessibility of online betting platforms, which bring the excitement of sports wagering right to the fingertips of users.

These platforms not only offer a wide range of betting options but also incorporate sophisticated age verification systems. These systems are crucial in ensuring that all users comply with the specific age regulations set by each state, reflecting the industry’s commitment to responsible gambling practices.

Consequences of Underage Betting


However, the rise of online betting brings with it the significant issue of underage betting. States have stringent laws in place to prevent underage individuals from participating in sports betting, and the consequences of violating these laws can be severe. Individuals caught betting underage may face various legal repercussions, including hefty fines and other legal penalties. This underscores the importance of adhering to age restrictions in sports betting.

Responsible gambling is not just a legal obligation but also a crucial aspect of maintaining the integrity and enjoyment of the sports betting experience. It is essential for bettors to respect and follow these age requirements to ensure a safe and lawful betting environment.

States That Are Not Happy With Sports Betting

Sixteen states still do not allow sports betting legally, and several of them also ban other connected activities. Georgia allows horse racing but not making bets on horses. Mississippi allows making bets on horses online but only when the player is located on a cruise ship. Other states are still in the process of updating their laws to fit the current industry of betting and gambling.

So it is the player’s responsibility to check out the updated laws and regulations and comply with them. The laws change quickly, and there’s also this drinking-gambling correlation that young players should consider. Overall, it makes sense to check the rules for every gambling facility separately, because casino houses that serve drinks may not let an 18-year-old sports bettor in.