Should Vegas Gambling Age be Lowered to 18?

Ever since Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, the minimum gambling age has been 21. But Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-Gardnerville) wants to change this with Assembly Bill 86. The legislation calls for Nevada to lower the legal gambling age to 18, which would allow older teens to gamble in Las Vegas casinos. According to Wheeler, the […]

jim-wheeler-nevadaEver since Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, the minimum gambling age has been 21. But Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-Gardnerville) wants to change this with Assembly Bill 86.

The legislation calls for Nevada to lower the legal gambling age to 18, which would allow older teens to gamble in Las Vegas casinos.

According to Wheeler, the motivation for his bill came from an Afghanistan veteran, who wanted to know why 18-year-olds can die in war, but not gamble in casinos.

“I didn’t really have an answer for him,” said Wheeler.

Known for wearing a white cowboy hat, the 63-year-old has gained plenty of attention for AB 86. But the legislation has long-shot odds of making it onto Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk.

“Dead on arrival,” one gaming regulator was quoted saying by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo doesn’t see the reasoning in changing a law that few – including the casinos – are worried about altering.

“The industry has not come to us with any wants for dropping this,” Alamo said. “Everyone’s happy with 21 years of age.”

Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resorts Association, is another person who doesn’t agree with lowering the state’s minimum gambling age to 18.

las-vegas-drake-casino-1“We’ve never supported it in the past,” she explained. “There’s really no compelling reason to change that position.”

If anything, casinos might have motivation to avoid pushing for the law to prevent more headaches for themselves. After all, the state’s minimum drinking age is 21, meaning employees would have to work harder to avoid serving the wrong people.

The one positive aspect of changing the law is that Vegas, Reno, and other Nevada casino destinations would get a small boost in customers. But like Alamo said, not even the casinos are pressuring the state to change a law that’s been in effect for over 86 years.

 

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