Minimum age to be in a casino: 21, no exceptions!

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I’m headed to Vegas later this year. A 19-year-old female friend might accompany me. You should know that I am in an electric wheelchair. I was wondering what would she have to do to be able to stay with me while I gamble. Can I tell the pit boss that she’s my aide, or would it be better to have someone who is 21 accompany me? Ed S.

Most U.S. gaming jurisdictions model their age regulations on Nevada’s, requiring gamblers and non-gamblers alike be 21 years of age. There are no exceptions to those rules when it comes to being on the casino floor

The State of Nevada Gaming Control Board is extremely sensitive when it comes to minors in a casino-so much so that allowing minors to loiter where gambling is conducted is grounds to cancel, revoke, or even renew a casino’s gambling license. NRS 463.350 spells out clearly that gaming, or employment in gaming, is prohibited for persons under 21. The statute states that a person under the age of 21 years shall not: (a) Play, be allowed to play, place wagers at, or collect winnings from, whether personally or through an agent, any gambling game, slot machine, race book, sports pool, or pari-mutuel operator. (b) Loiter or be permitted to loiter, in or about any room or premises wherein any license game, race book, sports pool, or pari-mutuel wager is operated or conducted. This, Ed, is where your 19-year-old female companion comes in-or maybe stays out.

There is some confusion as to whether minors under 21 are allowed in the casino at all. It is the opinion of the Attorney General of Nevada that minors can go into grocery and drug stores, hotel lobbies or other business places to transact ordinary business, even where gambling games are operating, provided minors are not allowed to “loiter” in such places.

Bottom line, Ed, the casino coffee shop is fine for your friend, but for her to hang around and watch some dealer take his best shot at your bankroll won’t be allowed.

I have been a player for 25 years and only play the 2% house advantage games you recommend. I am amazed at the people who go to a casino and want to play, but have no idea what they are doing. Wouldn’t you agree that this is why the casino makes so much money on the rookies? Jay O.

Lack of player education is what finances the casinos’ theme-park skyscrapers of greed. This column hopefully is tutelage for first-timers and experienced Green Felt Jungle patrons alike. This all-too-familiar question, “I’m going to Las Vegas for the first time; which games would you recommend?” has a simple answer. Choose any game with a house advantage of under 2.

If every player followed this advice, Las Vegas would be a ghost town where sagebrush, the state flower of Nevada, vies with tumbleweed for control of the Strip.

Examples of these games include blackjack, craps, baccarat, and video poker. Smart players can get well under that two-percent edge in baccarat by betting the banker or player hand. With craps it is by wagering on the pass line with odds or placing the six or eight.

Whittling down the house edge on blackjack and video poker involves memorizing a complex playing strategy and finding ideal conditions. Though this requires far more preparation than does canny betting on craps or baccarat, it is not out of the realm of most players.

It’s funny, Jay, how most casino patrons will spend hours researching the precise tint of paint for the dog house, but spare themselves the minor effort of learning to play smart.

Gambling thought of the week: In a bet there is a fool and a thief. Proverb

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