US sports betting to be legalized in 12 new states: Morgan Stanley

sports betting concept, holding US banknotes on a sport stadium background

Expect the spread of sports betting across the U.S. to continue in 2021. Morgan Stanley Research believes as many as 12 states will get there, with much of it coming in the first half of the year.

In their analysis, Thomas Allen, Michael M DeLalio and Ed Young note that the total number of states with legalized sports betting should reach 35 by the end of the year. They also expect as many as 3 more to legalize online gambling (raising the total to 9). They write:

“Notably, there are 6 Governors who have publicly asked their legislatures to pass laws, 3 states whose citizens have passed referenda, and in the remaining states bills that have already been filed.”

The drive, they note, is to correct budget deficits. Several states, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota and Mississippi included, have obstacles that they expect won’t be surpassed this year.

With so many states considering sports betting for the first time, taxation is a major question. Morgan Stanley notes that while New York’s proposed 50% rate is alarming, 16 other states are proposing a rate of 20% or less, countering any precedent Governor Andrew Cuomo may be setting.

As many lawmakers have urged getting this done quickly, both to fix budgets and to avoid falling behind, Morgan Stanley’s analysts expect the majority of these states should have legalized sports betting in the first half of the year. “While there are always opportunities for states to host special sessions in the fall, many will look to pass bills and budgets earlier, moving forward the catalyst,” they wrote.

While the continuing spread of sports betting isn’t a surprising story, the speed at which it is happening is pretty incredible. Not only are a majority of states expected to legalize the activity by the end of 2021, but states which have fought gambling in general, like Hawaii and Texas, are proposing it too.