State Lottery Laws and Regulations


While the majority of states have some form of lottery, the legal age limits and the regulatory scheme may be quite different. In the state of Nevada, for example, it is illegal to buy or receive a lottery ticket, or to participate in a raffle or other gambling game. As the state with the largest gambling industry in the country, the laws are clearly written to protect the state’s economy and residents.

Some states have a lot to offer the player, including a state lottery, riverboat casinos, video poker machines, pari-mutuel betting, and the latest in online gaming. For the most part, the government has stayed out of the industry and let private enterprise do the dirty work. There are only three states that don’t allow commercial gambling: North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The Virgin Islands started the formal process of legalizing casinos in 1995. Interestingly, the Government of Canada does not appear to have much involvement in the gambling industry.

Maryland has a surprisingly broad set of regulations for the state lottery and its offshoots. However, if you want to play the lotto or win a few bucks in the horse track, you have to be old enough to drink. The state has two Indian casinos, including one in New Orleans. And the state has its fair share of video poker machines in truck stops and other non-gambling venues. Obviously, the age limit for a lot of the games isn’t much higher than in most states, but the aforementioned restrictions are still in place.

Minnesota has a very elaborate system for dealing with underage players. Essentially, it is like the state of Utah, with an 18-year-old minimum for anything but sports betting. But the state’s lottery is no exception, despite a more modest age requirement. Like their counterparts across the river, players can get a free tournament ticket if they grind a certain level of a lottery SNG. If you do, you could end up with a jackpot.

Other states have less snazzy laws and regulations. Vermont, for instance, has a minimum age for pari-mutuel betting, but the lottery is legal for adults, so long as they are at least 18. It is also the only state in the country that prohibits the sale of lottery tickets to minors. Similarly, Connecticut has an off-track betting operation owned by a private company called Autotote, which is licensed to operate in the state. Despite its limited scope, Connecticut’s Lottery does have the bling, albeit in the form of 25 percent of the casino slot payouts.

Unlike most states, Utah does not regulate the most basic types of gambling, including social gambling and pulling the big lever in a roulette wheel. However, the state does have a pari-mutuel lottery that is a slam dunk. Besides, it’s one of the few states that has a real casino. Nonetheless, the state has its share of video poker machines found in truck stops, so you’ll never be bored if you live in or visit the state.