Gambling and spending an evening testing lady luck are a big part of the culture in Las Vegas. Many popular resorts, especially those on the Las Vegas Strip and in downtown Vegas, have their own house casino, making it difficult to say no to temptation.
But what if you’re among the many young adults that visit Vegas each year? At what age can you legally partake in casino gambling?
Legal Gambling Age in Las Vegas, Nevada
Although Las Vegas is the gambling and entertainment capital of the United States, the laws here regarding the minimal legal age for gambling aren’t any different from the rest of Nevada. Believe it or not, there’s nothing exceptional about gaming laws in Las Vegas that make it different from other large cities.
The minimum age for gaming in the United States is 18, but most states, including Nevada, have the minimum gambling age set at 21. In Las Vegas, Nevada, you must be 21 years of age or older to gamble at a casino, gaming location, or online casinos.
Types of gaming in Las Vegas with a minimum legal age to gamble being 21 include casino gambling, sports betting, horse racing, slot machines, poker rooms, bingo, and all other gambling games.
Legal Age for Online Gambling or Online Casinos in Las Vegas
So you can’t gamble in Nevada casinos until you reach the age of 21, but what about online gambling in Las Vegas? If they can’t see you and it’s pretty easy to conceal your age, does it really matter if you’re 21?
The answer, my friend, is yes, it still matters very much.
Digital forms of gambling are also restricted and available only to the over 21 adult crowd. Playing online poker, visiting an online casino, or attempting to gamble online in any way is illegal until that magical 21st birthday.
If you’re not old enough to be on the casino floor of brick and mortar casinos, you’re not old enough for betting online either.
Why Some Casinos Have Different Age Requirements
This isn’t the case with Las Vegas casinos, but there are casinos around the United States where the minimum age to participate in gambling activities is 18. You might also find other states where the minimum age to gamble legally is 21 in some casinos and 18 in others.
If you’re 18-20 and have enjoyed time at some of these casinos, it can be frustrating to come all the way to Las Vegas and not be able to play.
The reason for the age difference is that with tribal casinos, there are specific exemptions to gambling laws that allow them to permit younger patron. Tribal casinos are operated on sovereign land, putting them in another category altogether.
Technically, different states have the legal jurisdiction to set their own law regarding the legal gambling age, as long as it’s within federal guidelines. In most cases, including Las Vegas, the age is 21 across the board, with the exception of tribal casinos where they exist.
Some states also allow gamblers 18 and up to enjoy poker rooms, bingo, and the state lottery. Unfortunately for younger adults wanting a little time at one of the world-class casinos in Las Vegas, this isn’t the case here. The 21+ rule applies to all private and commercial casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, and bingo.
Can You Enter a Casino if You’re Under 21?
In Las Vegas, the answer to this question is a big fat no. If you’re not old enough to gamble and play the games for money, you’re not old enough to be on the floor of the casino.
The only exception to this rule is if the layout of the hotels and casino is such that cutting through the casino is the easiest way to get from point A to point B, although you can expect this path to be very clear cut and well monitored.
This rule applies even if you’re not at a table or slot machine and just want to watch. If you’re found on the floor of a casino and not yet a legal age to gamble, expect at the very least to be asked to leave.
What Is the Penalty for Using a Fake ID to Gamble in Las Vegas?
So, you’re in Las Vegas and really want to check out the world of the casino scene. The problem is you haven’t yet turned 21. What’s the worst that can happen if you sneak your way onto the floor of a casino?
In a nutshell, most casinos have no interest in entertaining the curiosities of underage gamblers, so the problem is usually remedied very quickly. First, Las Vegas casino staff are highly trained to recognize fake IDs. They see identification for other states and even other countries every single day, so it’s really difficult to pull anything over on them.
Even if you manage to get past the first checkpoint with a fake ID, casino management keeps a close eye on the floor and the guests who visit their casino. A guest who looks or acts suspiciously underage will be approached and asked to show identification again. With an eye for scrutiny, there’s a good chance your fake will be detected easily.
At the very least, you’ll be escorted from the property and possibly banned from the casino and the hotel. This is if you’re lucky. There are actually some strict penalties for underage gambling and consuming alcoholic on casino premises in Las Vegas.
For starters, you can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Second, in addition to jail time, you can also be ordered to pay a lot of money with a hefty fine. This is all in addition to the fact that you completely ruined your time in Sin City.
In other words, it’s always a bad idea to fake being legal gambling age in Las Vegas, whether it’s at one of the major hotels on the Strip or a smaller operation a bit removed from the main scene.
Las Vegas is home to some of the most famous casinos in the world. If you love the excitement and tension at a high-stakes table or the thrill that comes with pulling a slot, the gaming and gambling scene in Vegas is one you don’t want to miss.
That is unless you’re under the age of 21.
There’s simply no way around the legal gambling and betting age in Las Vegas. You might want to play at the best casinos in the world, but it needs to wait until the day you turn the big 21!