In recent years, there have been increasing efforts to regulate online gambling in the United States. While many states have enacted laws banning this type of gambling, others have not. States have largely been reluctant to step in, because of a dormant Commerce Clause doctrine that holds that any state law that applies to commerce that occurs outside of its borders is unconstitutional. The doctrine has also hindered attempts by states to regulate gambling activities on Indian reservations within their borders, as the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act governs those activities.
While many critics view online gambling as a societal train wreck, many research studies show that the vast majority of players are actually playing in moderation and spend relatively small amounts. Furthermore, the nature of online gaming makes it easier to police than a live casino. Thus, the research to determine whether online gambling has harmful effects on human health is needed is ongoing.
Legislation for online gambling has many loopholes, largely due to the nature of the internet. However, there are some countries that have a monopoly on the gambling industry and do not allow outside operators to operate in their country. For example, Canada and Finland do not issue licenses to foreign casinos. This means that foreign operators cannot be prosecuted in these countries, and players in these countries cannot be punished for playing at non-compliant sites.