What Is The Legal Age To Gamble Online?
Written by Julie
Published date · Aug. 22, 2019 | Last Updated · June 28, 2023 | Read Time: 3 mins
In the UK, the gambling industry offers gamblers diverse ways to gamble, including casino games, bingo, gaming machines, and sports betting. You can access these online and in shops. However, these online gaming operators who offer gamblers a gaming experience and a chance to win real money must be licensed and regulated by local authorities and gambling commissions.
A key part of earning (and keeping) a gambling license is to avoid underage gamblers. Underage players are not allowed to play table games, slot games, video slots, live blackjack, live roulette, or any other online casino games. The minimum legal age to gamble in the UK is 18-years-old. This age limit applies to online betting, online casinos, and online gambling.
Are There Any Exceptions?
In Great Britain you can play the National Lottery from the age of 16. There are not many gambling sites for 16 year olds but lotteries are usually legal. 16 may seem quite a young age but to buy a lottery ticket, it is reviewed to be less addictive than something such as sports betting. There are also a handful of non-commercial gambling with low stakes that are available for 16 year olds which technically suggests that is the legal age for gambling uk. Anyone who is over 16 years old and under 18 years old who participate in gambling except under these exceptions is breaking the law and guilty of a criminal offence.
There are even some machines that involve gambling with no age restriction. These are mainly found in arcades and consist of teddy grabbers, coin pushers and other low stake fruit machines.
Why is there an age limit to who can gamble online?
A key reason why young people are not allowed to gamble is because they are less aware of the risks involved. If someone starts betting from an early age then it is more likely that they will develop an addiction. The laws say that the online sites will lose their license if they actively know about an underage user, hence the lengthy signup process to prove a customer’s age. It is a criminal offence participate in gambling underage which is why it is in everyone’s best interests to wait until you are old enough.
What happens if you get caught gambling under 18 uk? You could end up getting lifetime bans from the online site. Is that really worth not waiting until it is legal?
Online casinos must abide by the law of the land
Most casinos are licensed and regulated to protect their integrity and their license, they follow the age limits of the UK.
In some countries, there is a zero-tolerance for gambling. Even if you are 30 years old in such states, you cannot gamble there. Most often, online casinos do not accept players from such countries.
However, it is allowed to gamble in the UK, provided casinos abide by certain rules and regulations laid down by the law. When a casino limited is licensed to operate in the UK, the terms and conditions of the license include that they agree to comply with the UK laws. If the online casino goes contrary to the laws of the country or state, they stand a chance of losing their license. Moreover, the gambling industry in the UK is one of the largest industries in the country and in the world. Therefore, casinos and specifically online ones are under great scrutiny by regulations authorities and anti-gambling associations. The age limit being the most important rule a casino must abide for, being negligent on that restriction would be instantly noticed and sanctionned.
Another problem why there is an age limit to gamble is because teenagers quickly get addicted compared to adults. For instance, a teenager can play slot games like video slots or live blackjack to earn real money for days without even noticing the time. Because of this, there is an age limit that allows gambling for matured minds only. Gambling is for people who can gamble with money they can afford to risk and lose in worst cases. Even with the age limits restrictions, there is also the responsible gaming awareness at most online casinos because they understand gambling is very addictive.