Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is known for placing big, splashy bets, but his World Series wager is a whole new ballgame.
McIngvale, 71, a Houston furniture-store owner, has placed $10 million in bets across numerous sportsbooks that the Houston Astros will beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the best-of-seven series. These wagers include $3 million placed in May with Caesars Sportsbook at 10-to-1 odds, which would pay $30 million should the Astros win the World Series. Caesars spokesman Brad Harwood told the Associated Press that this would be the largest payout on a single legal sports bet in American history.
And, indeed, Caesars
Chief Executive Tom Reeg said in a conference call Tuesday that whether the business turns an adjusted profit in the fourth quarter will depend on whether the Astros win, which could see the casino operator paying $30 million to McIngvale.
“I think most of you are aware we’ve got a fairly high-profile liability out there with the Astros, so that will be a swing factor in whether the fourth quarter is positive as a whole,” Reeg said. “But we expect that we have inflected and digital will be a contributor as we move forward.”
Read more: Caesars’ digital betting business hits a milestone, sending sports-gambling stocks higher
McIngvale also bet $2 million with BetMGM; $2 million with Barstool Sports; and $1 million each with Wynn, Unibet and Betfred. Should the Astros win, McIngvale could pocket around $75 million in total from his various wagers.
What’s more, he hedged his bets with an in-store promotion at his Gallery Furniture shop. Customers who spend $3,000 or more on a mattress will get it for free if the Astros win. As ESPN noted, if the Astros win, McIngvale’s losses (those free mattresses) are still covered by his big payday, and many customers might spend their refunds on other items at Gallery Furniture. And if the Astros lose, McIngvale has still benefited from all the free publicity — plus, it remains to be seen how many mattresses he’s sold as part of his Astros promotion.
“Oh, it’s definitely a win-win,” McIngvale told ESPN. “These promotions just bring the brand to life and give us a ton of brand equity that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
For example, McIngvale reportedly lost $13 million betting on the Astros to win the World Series in 2019, when he also offered a free $3,000 mattress promotion. But the attention that he and Gallery Furniture got for his bets from TV, radio and digital media over the course of the MLB playoffs was estimated to be worth more than $8.6 million in marketing value.
Related: ‘Mattress Mack’ says he lost $13 million betting on the Houston Astros. Silver lining? The attention he got was worth $8.6 million for his store
“I feel like I hedged perfectly,” McIngvale told sports gambling site the Action Network at the time. “The worst my customers got were great mattresses. … I would do this again tomorrow, and I probably will.”
And here we are. As McIngvale recently told the Associated Press, “I have a high tolerance for risk. If I lose, there’s always another day.”
Still, the $10 million in bets has appeared to be putting pressure on the veteran big-stakes gambler. “Mattress Mack” was trending on Twitter on Wednesday morning over a viral video showing him repeatedly yelling “f— you” in response to hecklers in Philly. And this came just hours after he’d tweeted about the City of Brotherly Love’s warm hospitality. Be warned that this clip contains graphic language.
McIngvale tweeted a Bible verse later on Wednesday morning, which appeared to be in response to the viral clip.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21,” it reads.
The Phillies beat the Astros 7-0 on Tuesday night, and Philadelphia now leads the Series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Wednesday night.
A potential Phillies win has also had financial Twitter buzzing for another reason this week. History suggests that Philadelphia victories in the World Series tend to coincide with economic downturns and market crashes.
From the archives (February 2021): Houston furniture retailer ‘Mattress Mac’ invites overnight stays amid Texas’s weather and energy emergency