The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are making a great deal of effort in educating gamblers across the country about the gambling age in the UK. Minors are, of course, prohibited from gambling. Starting from 2020, the UK government has demanded that any UK resident addicted to gambling must be protected and that children should not be exposed to any form of addictive games. Thus, the United Kingdom Gaming Commission now has specific rules in place to ensure that the UK’s youth don’t become the next generation of addictive gamblers. Operators must respect the minimum gambling age in England, Great Britain and Wales.
The legal age in the UK is 18
Protecting minors in the UK
Gambling, youth and legal age
The digital expansion of the gambling market is at an all-time high, not to mention the advances in technology. This, in turn, has exposed the younger generations to the wrong kind of entertainment. Gambling is almost mainstream in the UK and the excessive advertising by online casinos and betting platforms are more than tempting. Today, kids are more than familiar with internet technology and video games, so the ads they see on social media may trigger the need to gamble.
The law currently states that you are only legally allowed to enter a casino or its premises if you are at least 18 years old.
Game machine categories
You can play any gaming machine from these categories:
|Category A||Fruit slots and jackpot machines.|
|Category B1||A gaming machine that has a maximum stake of £5, and a maximum prize of £10,000.|
|Category B2||A gaming machine that has a maximum stake of £100, and a maximum prize of £500.|
|Category B3||A gaming machine that has a maximum stake of £2, and a maximum prize of £500.|
|Category B3A||A single gaming machine in a members club or welfare institute only, with a maximum stake of £2 and a maximum prize of £500.|
|Category B4||A gaming machine with a maximum stake of £2 and a maximum prize of £400, found in betting shops, bingo halls and gaming centres.|
|Category C||A gaming machine in a pub, welfare centre or bingo hall that has a maximum stake of £1 and a maximum prize of £100.|
Registering at an online casino – 18 years old
In the United Kingdom, you must be 18 years old to register at an online casino. There are no free versions of games offered to minors either. The law is clear on this subject, and all online casinos enforce it in the UK. Minors are prohibited from any form of casino game, whether it be slot machines, video poker, Roulette, Blackjack, Craps or Baccarat.
Gambling games for 16 year old players
Is gambling in the UK handled the right way?
The Gambling Act from 2005 gives the UK Gambling Commission the power to regulate gaming activities throughout the country. Licenses are granted to the operators, whether they are online platforms or land-based casinos. We know what the legal age is and we know that horse racing, sports betting, lotteries and online gambling are the most popular. To make a comparison, let’s look at how other countries do it.
Legal ages in other countries compared to the UK
The minimum age to gamble in other countries varies between 18 and 21. In some countries, the legal age may differ depending on the region, such as in the USA and Canada. On the other hand, the majority of countries adopt 18 as the legal age, e.g. in Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy and France. You could say that the UK is quite liberal when it comes to gambling. While the legal age of 18 may seem young to play at a casino, the government is not ready to increase the age limit.
The minimum age for gambling in other countries
|Country||Legal age||Main activities|
|Austria||18||Table games and football bets|
|Belgium||21||Casino games and betting|
|Canada||18-19||Slot machines and betting|
|France||18||Lottery, horse racing and sports betting|
|Germany||18||Sports betting and casino games|
|Ireland||18-21||Betting and poker games|
|Italy||18||Lottery, Football bets and table games|
|Spain||18||Football betting and bingo|
|USA||18-21||Betting and casino games|
Under 18s are prohibited from all gambling games, except the national lottery, football pools and scratch cards (16 and over). Although England and Wales may seem like relatively liberal countries when it comes to gambling, the law is strict on the legal age. In Scotland, the legal age is the same as in England. On the other hand, in Northern Ireland, the situation is different, only the lottery is authorized there, and casino games are prohibited. Laws relating to gambling in the UK apply to both land-based casinos and internet casinos.