Currently, online gambling is becoming more and more popular among players around the world, especially since the times of the pandemic. Having experienced the convenience of gambling from the comfort of their homes, players decided to stay and drive up the popularity of virtual casinos and betting websites. There are many types of games available online: poker, bingo, slot machines, lotteries, betting, etc. All you need to play is a computer or a mobile phone, a WI-FI connection and some money to make a deposit.
However, if you want to play online, you need to make sure that iGaming is legal in your country and that you will not violate local laws. Please note that the gambling regulations may differ not only from state to state, but also from region (state, province) to region inside the state. One of the fundamental gambling requirements in any country concerns the minimum age of players. Read on to find out why governments ban people under a certain age from playing in casinos and how the minimum age for online gambling varies from country to country.
So, from what age can you play in a virtual casino?
The minimum gambling age is the age at which people in certain countries can start playing on iGaming platforms. Violation of this rule can lead to problems with the law. The severity of the punishment depends on the legislation of a particular jurisdiction.
There is no universal gambling law and therefore no basic legal age for iGaming. Each country, province or even platform can set its own rules in this regard. In addition, some places have different rules for different types of gambling. However, the most widespread legal gambling age is 21 or 18.
Let’s now look at what are the age thresholds set in the most famous gambling jurisdictions, and where players should be especially careful due to the difference in the regional requirements as opposed to the country-wide requirements. We will also tell you how an online casino can verify your age and what happens if a minor lies about their age.
The world’s most common legal gambling age
In most countries the age of 18 is considered to be the age of majority at which a person is already able to take responsibility for his or her actions and make informed decisions. Respectively, many jurisdictions set the minimum age for gambling at the threshold of 18 years. However, there are governments that insist that at the age of 18, people are too young to understand the risks of gambling. In addition, few young people of this age already have their own source of income. Following this reasoning, in the laws of some countries the legal gambling age is shifted to 21 years.
The legal iGaming age in the UK
In the United Kingdom, the legal gambling age is 18 years. Upon reaching this age, a citizen of the United Kingdom can play both in land-based and online casinos. All types of gambling and betting fall under this rule. The only exception are some iGaming platforms that set their own rules and accept players only from the age of 21.
Canadian gambling age restrictions
The Canadian gambling industry is unusual in that it is regulated by the governments of the provinces. Therefore, the gambling regulations, including the minimum age requirements, differ in every region. In most parts of Canada (including British Columbia and Ontario), the legal gambling age is 19 years. At the same time, in regions such as Alberta and Manitoba, you can start playing in online casinos from the age of 18.
The US legal gambling age
As in Canada, gambling legislation in the United States varies from state to state. Local laws, in turn, also vary depending on the type of the game. In most states, the legal gambling age is 21, but for example in Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyoming it is allowed to gamble at the age of 18.
It is worth noting that while virtual gambling is legal in the USA under federal law, some states still ban most or all of iGaming services. Among them are Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and Nevada. This again stresses the importance of double-checking the iGaming rules in the territory where you want to play.
The legal gambling age in New Zealand
New Zealand’s online gaming legal age differs depending on the gambling type. For sports betting and lotteries, it is 18 years, but for casino games and virtual slots, it is 20 years.
Legal age to gamble in Ireland
In Ireland, everyone aged 18 and over can gamble legally. This applies to all types of virtual games (casinos, lotteries, poker, bingo, slots, etc.) and betting. The Irish government strictly controls the activities of gambling operators and closely monitors compliance with the local gambling regulations that ban unlicensed casinos. Local gaming legislation is aimed at supporting legal gambling businesses and forming a responsible attitude towards casino games among citizens.
What about Australian legal gambling age?
The official legal age for gambling in Australia is 18 years. Most parts of Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, allow people to gamble starting from this age. At the same time, in Western Australia, only lotteries and sports betting are available for 18-year-old citizens. Those who want to play in online casinos need to wait until they are 21 years old.
Legal age restrictions in Europe
Almost all European countries allow gambling from the age of 18. Exceptions include Belgium and Estonia, where the legal age for gambling is 21, Greece, where you need to be 23 to gamble legally, and Portugal, where in some casinos you can play from 18 years, while in others only from 25 years.
How can an online casino verify your age?
Licensed gambling websites are subject to the laws of their jurisdictions and must comply with a number of requirements, among which is always a minimum gambling age requirement. If this requirement is violated, an operator may easily lose the gambling permit, and therefore it is very important to make sure that the age limit rule is obeyed. There are several ways to verify the age of players:
- Ask clients to provide an identification document such as a passport or a driver’s license;
- Use special age verification software that compares the age claimed by players with the information from public databases;
- Ask customers for a social security number;
- Use a bank card or other payment method data to confirm the identity and age of customers.
What if the casino finds out that the client has lied about his or her age? In such cases, some platforms may hold that customer’s winnings. It may seem unfair, but operators certainly don’t want to face license revocation and violate the law that requires them not to provide their services to minors.
Why do we need gambling age restrictions?
It is believed that in order to gamble, you must be able to make informed decisions, manage money wisely and be aware of possible risks. People under the age of majority are incapable of doing this. By setting the age threshold for casino gaming, state authorities seek to protect young citizens from gambling addiction and financial problems.
Before you start playing at an online casino or placing bets, make sure you are familiar with the gambling laws in your country. First of all, check from what age you are allowed to gamble. These restrictions vary from state to state and from region to region within the same country, while even individual platforms may set their own rules regarding the age at which gambling is allowed. The most common legal age for iGaming is 18 or 21.
Virtual casinos have several mechanisms for verifying the player’s age. They may ask customers to provide identification documents or use special software. It is not recommended to lie about your age because it can lead to the withholding of your funds or to troubles with the law. Do not forget that gambling operators take the ban on underage gambling seriously, since if they violate the minimum age requirements, they risk losing their license, as well as paying a hefty fine.