US Legal Poker Gambling Age By State

There’s nothing quite like the rush of playing poker for real cash, but there is always a minimum gambling age involved. It can be really embarrassing to get turned away at the door while your friends go on to have a night of fun playing their hearts (and wallets) out, so doing your homework can really pay off. There is a bit of study required, as the legal gambling age to play poker in each state varies.

At domestic venues, the US legal poker age by state is typically set to a minimum age of 21 years old, but there are some 18 and over poker rooms located across the United States, as this age restriction is not federally mandated. There are also 18+ poker sites that are available to USA players. Below, we detail the minimum gambling ages for regulated domestic poker as well as each state’s age requirements for offshore gambling for real money.


Minimum Age To Play Poker For Real Money In Each State

States Where 18+ Online Poker is Legal - State-Regulated

These states have specifically passed legislation allowing state-regulated poker gambling within their borders:

  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

With the exception of CT and WA, there are no states that legally prohibit players who are 18 years old and up from enjoying online poker games at offshore poker sites.  Players in all other states are free to play real money poker as long as they are 18 and over.  Here we’ve listed the industry’s leading online poker sites accepting 18+ players, as well as what their current bonus offers are.

 Poker SiteBonusRating/5USAVisit Site
1Betonline Logo100% Max $1,0004.7Play Now Review
2Bovada Poker Logo100% Max $5004.5Play Now Review
3SportsbettingAG Logo100% Max $1,0004.2Play Now Review

How Are Minimum Ages To Play Poker Determined?

Each state is its own self-governed territory. They each set their own rules and regulations when it comes to poker, both online and off. One of the many considerations for every state includes setting the minimum age for poker play, which usually aligns with its minimum legal gambling age.

Federal gambling laws do not provide a minimum age to play poker for real money. Thus, it is up to each US State to determine the age at which they will allow for real money poker at their domestic rooms or at their online venues (if such are regulated and allowed for by law).

Ages for domestic poker play begin at adulthood, or 18 years old, with most states requiring a legal age minimum of 21. Some US states may offer differing minimum gambling ages depending on the poker room in question. Alcohol sales and whether or not the venue is located on tribal land are usually the determining factors.


Why Are There Different Poker Gambling Age Minimums In The Same State?

It would be nice if each state declared a legal minimum poker age requirement that would govern all facilities located under its control. Well, in fact, they do, and land-based commercial poker rooms must adhere to these regulations. So how do facilities located within the same region offer different age minimums for poker players?

Native American lands are sovereign, and the tribal leaders are allowed to operate businesses in these regions (mostly) as they see fit, including the building of exotic casino resorts. Because these lands are sovereign, the local tribal governments can set their legal minimum gambling age limits. There are scenarios across the USA where the state’s minimum poker age is set to 21 while tribal poker rooms allow poker and tournament poker play beginning at just 18 and up.

There are some instances where states allow for 18+ poker play at local gambling venues, but some facilities within that same region require gamblers to be 21 or over. This is almost always due the poker room or card room offering alcohol as one of their many services. Because 21 is the legal drinking age in the US and is set by federal law, many facilities that offer alcohol prohibit 18- through 20-year-old gamblers from entering, simply to avoid any potential operational issues. Many bars and clubs that serve alcohol restrict entry to 21+ customers for the same reason.


Developing 18+ Poker Laws

State legislatures meet annually and have the full capability to alter poker laws within their borders as they so choose, including changing minimum gambling age requirements. Federal legislative bodies also have the ability to impose laws that are enforceable across all territories that the United States governs. Changes can affect the industry positively and negatively, so additional regulation is not always a bad thing.

US State Poker Minimum Age FAQs

What is the online poker age requirement to play at offshore poker rooms?

Offshore poker rooms most often allow 18 and over bettors to be dealt in, but we’ve seen a few that require minimum poker ages of 21 and up. Read through the terms and conditions of your chosen offshore poker gambling site before attempting to become a member.

Additionally, if your state has a minimum poker age limit of 21 and older defined in its lawbooks, you may wish to err on the side of caution and wait until you’re at least that old before signing up with an online gambling site operating offshore. We’ve never heard of any 18 and up poker players getting in trouble for playing over the Internet in such states, however.

What is the minimum age to play poker at a domestic casino?

Depending on where you are in the country, the legal minimum poker age to play for real cash at a domestic poker room can be as low as 18 years old. The most common age requirement to enter and play at a poker room is 21 years old. In some US states, there are poker rooms that have different age requirements. This is often tied to whether the establishment offers alcohol as one of its perks.

How old do you have to be to play domestic online poker?

There are a few states that offer online poker through their domestic casinos, and the legal minimum poker age to play will be the same age that is required at the physical locations they’re partnered with. That legal gambling age varies by region but is typically 21 years old. For those that don’t live in one of the US states where online poker is legal, then an offshore betting site is the best option.

Is online poker for 18-year-olds illegal?

Online poker is typically not legal to play across state borders, but this is a state-by-state matter. There is no federal law that bars the pastime in this way. While the UIGEA law prohibits the electronic transfer of funds across state lines for unauthorized gambling purposes, states that offer domestic online poker (Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey) have agreements allowing for interstate online play.

That said, most all states fail to address offshore poker sites in their lawbooks, allowing for legal play for 18+ gamblers online.  Players that have yet to reach adulthood are advised to refrain from playing Internet or in-person poker for real money, as the penalties for playing under the legal minimum gambling age vary from hefty fines to potential jail time.