Bill Proposed to Lower Nevada Gambling Age to 18
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, has tabled Assembly Bill 86, in Nevada which if passed would reduce the legal gambling age in the state from 21 to 18.
In most states the legal gambling age is 21 although some stages allow gambling at 18 if no alcohol is served on the casino floor. Furthermore, some Native American casinos have a minimum age of 18 or 19.
Wheeler reportedly put the bill forwards after a veteran, a man who has served in Afghanistan, asked him how a person could be old enough to vote or fight but was considered too young to legally gamble.
According to Tony Alamo, the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, no one in the gaming industry has raised the idea with the commission in almost a decade and as a result the bill was a surprise to many, “The industry has not come to us with any wants for dropping this. Everyone’s happy with 21 years of age,” he said. This has led to speculation that it may be a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist.
The main problem with allowing 18 to 20 year olds to gamble would be the conflict with the drinking age of 21. Alcohol is a central part of Las Vegas casinos, including on the casino floors and at present cocktail servers know that anyone gambling is at least 21 so there is no need to request ID from anyone who orders a drink. If the gambling age was lowered this would become considerably more complicated and probably slow down service.
It is not known if the bill will make any progress, but as Wheeler said, “I just wanted to have the conversation more than anything”.