Can You Gamble at 18 in Las Vegas? The Real Deal!

You’ve finally reached the age of 18 and your heading to Las Vegas! You’re hoping that since reaching the milestone of 18 years of age allows you many additional privileges of adulthood, that maybe you’ll be old enough to legally gamble at one of the many fine casinos in Las Vegas. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Patrons under the age of 21 are strictly prohibited from gambling in Las Vegas casinos. Guests under this age are also prohibited from entering the gaming floor in all Las Vegas casinos. Those found in violation of this law will be removed and can face stiff criminal penalties. 

The laws in the State of Nevada are pretty clear in the case of gambling being 21 and older, yet there have been attempts to try and lower the gambling age to 18.

This article will explore the legal gambling age in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada more closely to ensure that a firm understanding of the state’s laws, in addition to exploring some of the strict penalties that will be enforced if the laws are broken by anyone under the age of 21. 

The Legal Age for Gambling in Las Vegas and Nevada

Playing cards in Las Vegas

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When it comes to gambling, Las Vegas is a 21 and older city. Gambling is a form of recreation that requires a strong measure of financial responsibility due to the incredible risks that can occur if gambling is allowed to get out of hand. Additionally, gambling in Las Vegas is almost always accompanied by the consumption of alcoholic beverages; in fact, most Las Vegas casinos will serve free drinks to patrons as long as they are gambling. 

The risks of violating laws concerning alcohol consumption are too great in situations where booze is freely flowing. But the act of gambling for any person under the age of 21 is also enshrined in law. According to NRS 463.350, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to gamble in any form within the state of Nevada. This, of course, includes Las Vegas. Violation of this law could result in the charge of a misdemeanor, which may include up to 6 months in jail. 

It should also be understood that if you’re under the age of 21, you cannot even legally enter a casino gaming floor, as this can also result in the same criminal charge. Therefore, Nevada is very strict about this law, and casino security teams are regularly on the lookout for underage gamblers. So, it’s probably best to wait until you turn 21 before you book a Las Vegas vacation if gambling is your main interest. 

There are, however, plenty of fun things to do in Las Vegas if you’re under 21. We show you many of them in our article here.

Have There Ever Been Efforts in Las Vegas to Lower the Gambling Age to 18?

Lowering the age of gambling to 18 in Las Vegas has consistently received mixed reviews, with some who favor it and even more who oppose it. In 2017, Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler proposed a bill to the legislature that would have lowered the state’s gambling age to 18, while still maintaining the strict, nationwide enforcement of the 21 and up drinking laws. The bill had virtually no support within the legislature and was shot down quickly. 

Could Nevada lower the gambling age to 18?

The bill received a slew of negative reactions from many within the legislature, with primary concerns revolving around the idea that the law would encourage irresponsible gaming in young adults, who many felt would not really bring much business to casino gaming in the first place due to limited finances. 

For all intents and purposes, many who oppose the move believe lowering the gambling age to 18 would cause undue confusion when it comes to serving alcohol in casinos. ID verification procedures would have to change, and this would naturally result in gamers feeling aggravated by all of the strict, new regulations. There would be simply too many new procedures that would have to be adopted to ensure that those who are 18 are not trying to order alcohol. 

Do Las Vegas casinos check ID? Find out in our article here.

Can You Gamble Online at 18 in Nevada Casinos?

Online gambling has naturally grown in popularity in recent years due to the rise in digital technology. In Nevada, the rise of online gambling has been much slower due to fears of this technology possibly interfering with brick and mortar casinos and thereby driving down revenue.

Currently, Nevada offers online poker playing, yet the rule that players must be 21 years of age and older is still strictly enforced. There is just no way around the fact that the gambling age in Nevada is 21, not 18.

Is It Possible to Use a Fake ID in Las Vegas to Gamble?

Fake id being made out of an old  drivers license.

Trying to get away with using a fake ID in Las Vegas is a very risky proposition that carries strict penalties if caught, much in the same way as trying to attempt to gamble when underage. Although it is true that many Las Vegas nightclubs might be lax when it comes to checking IDs for entry into a lounge, there are many more opportunities for security to observe a person who appears to be underage on a casino floor. 

Once you appear to be underage to casino management, you will likely be stopped and asked for a valid ID to confirm that you are 21 or older. Fake IDs are notoriously suspected and identified by well-trained Las Vegas casino security teams, and the chances of getting caught are very high. An underage patron will almost certainly be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for attempting to use a fake ID to gamble when underage. 

The charge typically carries upwards of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in addition to the separate charge of gambling when underage, therefore, you could face up to a year in a Las Vegas jail. It truly is not worth the almost certain fallout that will occur by attempting to use a fake ID.   

All that aside, consider the fact that if you win any amount over $1,200 you must fill out tax paperwork before you can collect your winnings. This will require additional ID checks at the casino cashier. So even if you manage to use a fake id to play without getting caught, and you actually win a sizable jackpot you’re going to be forced to forfeit the money when trying to collect. Oh, and then you’ll be arrested.

The Bottom Line: You Cannot Gamble in Las Vegas Unless You Are 21 and Older

Although the allure of gambling in Las Vegas is strong for anyone who enjoys gaming, you have to be 21 years of age or older to partake in Sin City gambling. Perhaps in the future, some of the bills that have been introduced in the past to lower the age for gambling to 18 will be revisited and even passed into law, yet there does remain a strong amount of opposition to the proposed changes. 

There is simply too much risk that comes with lowering the gambling age to 18 for the gambling industry in Nevada. Therefore, as it remains now, try and enjoy all of the city’s many other attractions that do not involve possibly breaking the law simply to experience a gambling opportunity.

Conclusion

Gambling within the State of Nevada and Las Vegas is meant for responsible adults 21 years of age and older. Measures to lower the gambling age to 18 have been consistently denied based on two primary factors:

  • A possible rise in underage irresponsible gaming practices
  • Concerns with the legal drinking age being 21 and older

There are no casinos in Las Vegas that allow gambling at the age of 18. Even though other states are lowering the gambling age to 18, Nevada has not yet approved such a measure. Attempting to gamble at 18 or using a fake ID are crimes in Las Vegas that will have a very low degree of success and a very high degree of risk.  

Other Casino Related Questions

  • Do Las Vegas Casinos Cash Personal Checks? HERE

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