a super wager
Ken Hoffman breaks down Mattress Mack's behemoth bet on the big game
You know him, you love him, you’ve bought “two great recliners and one low price from him.” Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is at it again, making an outrageously big bet on the Super Bowl.
Excuse me, legal disclaimer, I meant to say: “The Big Game played Sunday, February 13 at Inglewood, California between the team from Cincinnati and the team from Los Angeles.”
That’s the Super Bowl, right? Isn’t that stupid, that the Super Bowl practically has become a national holiday, it’s certainly and sadly more celebrated than Veterans Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, yet the NFL will squash any business that holds a “Super Bowl sale” or promotion?” (Editor’s note: Shhh...Ken, are you trying to get us sued?)
This year, Mack has bet $4,534 million on the Cincinnati Bengals to defeat the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl played at SoFi Stadium. At the same time, customers who spend $3,000 or more on mattresses or reclining sectionals, reclining sofas, or home theater seating from Gallery Furniture “on I-45 between Tidwell and Parker,” will get all their money back if the Bengals win on Super Bowl Sunday.
There! I named names. Sue me, NFL.
Mack stands to win $7,707,800 if Joe Burrow and the Bengals cooperate and upset the Rams — minus the money Mack will have to refund his customers who took advantage of the promotion.
This is just the latest of Mack’s highly publicized “Monopoly money” bets. Since 2019, Mack has wagered – and mostly lost – millions and millions on his bets, most of them on the Astros and against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2020, he lost three straight playoff bets going against the Chiefs, including the playoff game where the Houston Texans historically blew a 24-0 lead and wound up losing 51-31.
He bet on the Houston Texans? In the playoffs? What is wrong with you, Mattress Mack?
While Mattress Mack has lost millions over the years on betting, including $13 million in one day in 2020, he shrugs it off. It helps that he still wins millions in free publicity, including visits to the Ellen show and the Today show and, and as he says, “goodwill with our customers.”
Explaining his gambling itch, Mack once told gambling sports writer Darren Rovell, “I like the action. I like the adrenaline and playing for high stakes. It makes you want to get up in the morning.”
(To be clear, when I said “gambling sports writer,” I meant that Rovell covers sports gambling. I don’t know his personal habits.)
Even stupider (rhymes with Jupiter) than betting on the Texans, Mack says he’s had to place his bets with casinos and sports books in Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey, Colorado, and Louisiana because gambling is illegal in Texas.
That’s because our phony, fake moralist politicians in Austin think gambling is some sort of sin or something.
Meanwhile our neighboring states and dozens more (30 in all) allow gambling and are raking in tax money. Our legislators don’t dare put sports gambling on the ballot because gambling would win in a landslide. According to a poll in the Dallas Morning News, 57 percent of Texans want legalized gambling in the Lone Star State with only 29 percent opposed. The remaining percent either don’t care, have Caller ID on their phone, or hide behind the couch (like I do) when somebody holding a clipboard knocks on their door.
Mack says he drove across the border into Louisiana and pulled into a gas station to make his bets on this year’s Super Bowl. He’s a law-abiding citizen. Texans reportedly wager $2.5 billion a year in nearby Louisiana and Oklahoma casinos. That’s potential Texas tax money going elsewhere.
Of course, Texans have the option of creating online sports wagering accounts based in other countries (and some U.S. states). But those sports books require a credit card and more than 20 percent of U.S. adults do not have a credit card. That leaves non-credit card holding gamblers to use local bookies, who typically don’t pay taxes on their income.
The solution, of course, would be to legalize sports gambling in Texas, so poor Mattress Mack wouldn’t have to burn gas to drop millions on football and baseball games.
But, don’t feel too sorry for Mack’s gambling losses. He won the biggest wager of his life, the smartest bet they say anybody can make, which is betting on yourself. Mack arrived in Houston in 1981 with only $5,000 to his name. He opened a furniture store in a ramshackled, well, shack on I-45.
Now, Gallery Furniture reportedly does $200 million in business each year and Mack’s estimated personal fortune is $300,000,000.