Out of all the European countries, Malta’s laws are the sole exception of requiring you to be 25+ years of age to enter a casino (for foreigners the required age is 18+). At the same time, you are legally allowed to vote upon reaching the age of 18, but gambling would still be off-limits at that age to a Maltese citizen.
The obvious question becomes – why? Is there any rationale behind the local lawmakers’ decision? Sit tight as we explore the issue and look at all sides of the argument.
It’s either 18 or 21, but why 25?
Looking at how other European countries define the legal gambling age, the vast majority of them have it set at 18. At 21, we have Lithuania, Belgium, Estonia, and Greece. Oddly, we have Malta at 25, the sole exception to the overall consensus in Europe.
At least that’s how things appear to be on paper. In practice, however, a Maltese citizen who’s 18+ can obtain a credit or debit card, which is enough to make a deposit and play at certain casino and poker sites that don’t require the KYC protocol to be followed.
Social elitism or a concern for the young?
Someone who is old enough to be legally allowed to vote and have a bank account in Malta, as the majority would reason, should clearly be allowed to enter a casino as well.
One possible reason behind the 25+ rule could be that the older clientele want to keep their social circles unscathed by the young. Keep in mind that many people visit traditional brick & mortar casinos for the vibes and the opportunity to socialize.
Perhaps the Maltese want to go the extra mile to protect their young and make sure they don’t get side-tracked in their life. Are they right?
According to the National Opinion Research Center, the percentage of problem gamblers in the overall gambling population is less than 1%. In other words, those who are predisposed to addiction are more likely to find other outlets as well, including the likes of alcohol and smoking. Still, the beliefs of society do not always fall in line with the facts, making concern a possible explanation.
Casinos are off limits to the young adults in Malta, but there’s no problem about lottery or sports betting
Another surprising thing about Malta’s legal age gambling policy is that you must be 25+ to enter a casino, but only 16+ to bet on sports or buy a lottery ticket. Technically, both of these fall under the category of gambling, and no one bats an eyelid even if a teenager who’s only 16 years of age participates in such activities.
For the sake of simplicity, it would make sense to simply set the requirements to 18+ and call it a day, much as the majority of European countries do it. But not Malta.
At 18 years of age, you can drive in Malta, but casinos are off-limits. Source: Pixabay.com
Upon reaching the legal age in Malta, you are legally allowed to hold a drivers license, smoke, drink, vote, and get married. Playing the lottery or betting on sports only requires you to be 16. But until further notice, somehow, you need to be 25+ to enter a casino in Malta. No one knows the exact reasons for sure, but hopefully we’ve given you a glimpse into the possible explanations and the reasoning behind the lawmakers’ rationale.