When you make your first steps in betting, and you are in your late teens or early 20s, the age limits in bookmakers might baffle you. Each country and regulatory authority has different standards for determining the legal age for gambling because the latter is considered an activity that could bring harm. So the question ‘’How old do you have to be to bet’’ keeps popping up, and the answer can be more complex than expected.
And how can you get a more definitive and in-depth reply? By reading our guide, which examines the legal betting age by jurisdiction (like the UK, Europe, US, & Canada) and licensing authority. We also assess whether it is allowed or not and what the bookmakers will ask to verify your age.
How old do you have to be to sports bet?
As you might expect, each country has different age limits, but the golden rule is that they will fall between 18 and 21. Local authorities consider that only adults should be able to gamble on betting shops and online new bookmakers so that they will take all the necessary legal precautions. Likewise, regardless of the license they might hold, sportsbooks are usually very strict on online gambling age limits. To find out if members comply with the rules, they have specific tools in that area. Another issue is that online and land-based gambling age limits might differ. But the first and more critical question remains, how old do you have to be to sports bet in each country?
What age do you have to be to gamble in the UK?
Betting is one of the oldest trends in the UK and is practically integrated into society. However, problem gamblers kept multiplying, which also applied to minors. The Gambling Act of 2005 paved the way for the age limits in land-based and online gambling and set 18 as the online betting age for every punter. The Gambling Commission (UKGC), which regulates legal UK bookmakers, cuts no slack in that part and has severe penalties for bookies failing to comply.
Moreover, the government considers it a legal offence to accept members that are not adults. As a result, if you want to play on regulated bookmakers, you have to be 18 or older, with no exceptions. Once you have cleared the legal betting age, you can bet online or in betting shops. Horse & Greyhound racing are also popular options among Brits, while land Casinos also get a large share of the gambling pie. Lotteries and scratchcards have also been part of traditional punters.
What is the legal betting age in Europe?
The age limit in each European country is expected to be different, but thanks to EU directives, most jurisdictions follow the same pattern. In most countries, like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, the players should have a sports betting age of 18 to participate in online betting. However, one thing to remember is that the limit can go higher for land-based casinos or betting shops, like 20 or 21. Most legal online European bookmakers are regulated by the MGA, which is also on the same page and only accepts bettors at least 18 years old.
How old do you have to be to bet in the US?
Online gambling has been recently regulated in the US; there is different legislation regarding by state. Currently, most states such as New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania have an online gambling age limit of 21, while the rest, like Washington, Virginia and Tennessee, have a limit of 18. California has an age limit of 18 for land casinos and hotels, but sports betting is still unregulated. In the US bookmakers, the answer to ‘’what age do you have to be to gamble’’ is the same regardless of land-based and online operations. However, the former can deny entry to people younger than 21 if they serve alcohol, even if the legal age in that state is 18.
How old do you have to be to gamble in Canada?
Each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories has separate authorities and regulatory bodies, but they strive to follow a similar path. In British Columbia, Toronto & Vancouver, you must be 19 years or older to gamble. Canadian Bookmakers in Alberta, Montreal & Ottawa have set this limit to 18 for online sports betting and land casinos and shops.
Is Underage Gambling illegal?
One of the main issues that most authorities want to tackle is underage gambling. In some countries like the UK, France and the US, it has grown exponentially, so the governments are in a constant crackdown mode. In cooperation with the regulators and the bookmakers, they have developed multiple layers of the KYC verification process to ensure that every player is above the minimum age. Minors caught betting will have accounts frozen and funds confiscated or returned in a controlled manner.
If a sportsbook fails to spot a bettor younger than the legal age, it could pay a hefty fine or even have trouble with the license. Even if you opt for independent, unlicensed or scam betting sites, things will not dramatically change. Terms and Conditions will explicitly state that members should be above the age dictated by the country of residence. But, again, once a member asks for a withdrawal, they have to provide documents that validate the age; the consequences of underage gambling will be severe.
How do online betting sites verify your age?
Bookmakers have several ways of identifying whether a member is of the proper age to gamble, starting with registration. When you sign up, you have to fill out your correct date of birth. In most cases, the most recent date will be 18 years before. Once you join, you will have to verify your online betting account. The process includes sending proof of your identity (like an ID card, Passport or Driver’s License) and an electricity or phone bill.
Likely, these documents will be enough to prove that your details are correct and no underage online gambling takes place. Still, the bookmaker might get suspicious and ask for more. If any irregular patterns occur, a phone or video call with a CS agent could be on the menu.
According to the Gambling Act of 2005, every punter should be 18 or older to participate in land-based or online gambling. The UKGC is responsible for enforcing this measure and ensures that bookmakers comply.
The Golden State has a legal gambling age of 18 for land-based casinos, but most will only allow adults of 21 and above if they serve alcohol. The Lottery has an age limit of 18, while online betting is still unregulated.
The European Union has put forward a set of rules that most countries adhere to. Therefore, in almost every country (Germany, France and Spain included), the legal betting age is 18, and with a few exceptions like Greece, that limit applies to land and online bookmakers.
The Mecca of global gambling is known for the fabulous casinos and the non-stop entertainment they provide. For both land casinos, hotels, and online bookies, the gambling age in Vegas is 21. The law stipulates this age limit applies statewide in Nevada and has some harsh fines or even jail time for violators.
The answer is yes, as both regulated and not bookmakers have a strict policy for that matter. In connection with the laws of the country you live in, you should bet only when you are above the legal age limit.
After registration, you must verify your account and prove you are of legal age. A Passport or Driver’s License will be enough to show that you are not underage, and a utility bill will finish off the process.