Proposal to Lower Legal Gambling Age Gets Cold Reception in Nevada

Ever since the legalization of gambling (in 1931), one has to be at least 21 to participate in any gambling activities in most states and nations across the globe. It’s been nearly a century now, but a new bill was introduced in Nevada to the competent regulatory authorities to bring down the gambling age from 21 to 18!

According to State Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-District 39), gambling should be legalized to all adults—and to him, an adult is anyone who has attained 18 years of age. Last year, Wheeler announced his intentions to push for a change on this issue and submitted a bill draft request to the regulatory authorities. Wheeler opined, “If one is old enough to serve his country, fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, old enough to take alcohol in some nations, and old enough to take part in voting, then he or she is old enough to gamble.”

There is indeed logic in his opinion if one looks at it from his perspective, but then again not everyone agrees with his proposal. While his comments may come with rationality from various people including the servicemen, regulatory authorities in Nevada aren’t so enthusiastic to such an opinion; nor are most organizations that fight gambling problems. Most opposition groups and people such as Dr. Robert Hunter, a founding member of Las Vegas Problem Gambling Center, believes that lowering the age limit in gambling would be like “Bringing more risk to an already endangered population.”

Most people, (ironically even Wheeler) believes that such a bill would bring problems and complications to the young people since most gambling establishments offer alcohol—and the legal drinking age across the United States and Canada is still 21. They argue that this is without a doubt going to make it tougher for the bartenders to check IDs before serving people while in the casino. However, Wheeler argues that an 18-year-old is mature enough to gamble responsibly and it’s upon the bartenders to check IDs. “The fact is they are supposed to be checking them anyway!” he contends.

The President of the Nevada Resort Association Virginia Valentine says that the body do not see any compelling benefit of lowering the age limit and therefore it opposes such a bill. “There exists no clear policy rationale, and such a proposal comes with uncertain risks,” she adds. Other regulatory heads such as Nick Tangeman believes that cutting the age limit in gambling would bring more problems to a point of problematic gambling. Since Tangeman works with young people as a clinical director, he believes that introducing gambling to teenagers would—“who are still at their developmental stage”—would bring more harm than good.

There you have it, probably not the first attempt to lower the age limits in the industry and certainly not the last, but it remains the same—21! It unmistakably seems that it will take solid convincing for the gambling regulatory bodies to cut ‘the 21’ to ‘the 18.’