Sports betting is bracing for its biggest collective loss in sports betting history.
If the Astros win the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale will take home a record $72.6 million on six different $10 million bets eventually on his hometown team.
“I suspect this will be the biggest win on any event by anyone anywhere in the world,” BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott said.
The colorful McIngvale relishes the prospect, saying wryly, “This way I can establish myself as ‘Mattress Mack,’ the greatest sports player in the world.”
McIngvale, 71, said that with a glint in his eye because he doesn’t play in the traditional sense. The bets are the latest in a series of bets aimed at reducing risk on promotions at its Gallery Furniture stores.
In this case, he first offered customers who bought $3,000 or more worth of furniture double their money back if the Astros won the World Series. As his liability skyrocketed, he simply offered customers their money back on purchases of at least $3,000 before halting the promotion this week after selling a record $16 million worth of furniture on Sunday and Monday.
“We are ready to win (almost) 75 million dollars. Of that amount, we will be giving almost every penny back to customers,” McIngvale said. “It’s pretty much about giving customers their money back, which is what we really want to do.”
McIngvale placed his bets in May and July, with the biggest bet of $3 million to win $30 million (odds of 10 to 1) at Caesars Sportsbook.
“We may be looking for Brink’s truck keys to save in the safe, but it’s always fun to partner with Mack for betting and promotions,” said Ken Fuchs, head of sports at Caesars. . “He is larger than life. He is someone who bets with his heart, but he also bets based on a very unique trading strategy.
McIngvale’s betting has been a source of fascination in the sports betting world for the past few years. He earned $11.2 million over Kansas to win the NCAA men’s basketball title in April, including $7.92 million over Caesars. Manna ended a $25 million losing streak since the 2021 Super Bowl.
In May, McIngvale bet $1 million to win $12 million on the Astros at WynnBET.
“From a booking perspective, it’s not normal for someone to want to bet $1 million on futures,” said WynnBET Vice President of Trading Alan Berg. “In most cases, if you make a bet in May or June and it’s not cashed in until November, you just act. And if the guy wins, you just have to tip your hat that they called so long ago.
In July, McIngvale placed an additional $6 million in Astros bets, including $2 million to win $10 million at the BetMGM book in Bellagio.
“I would much rather take big bets on futures, which have a lot more variance and injury and all that sort of thing,” BetMGM’s Scott said. “And we know that fits Mack’s betting habits. He always bets on the Astros and Texas teams, so we were comfortable there.
Scott and Berg said McIngvale’s bets weighed them down a bit.
“It’s always in the back of your mind that there’s this looming liability, and it seems like everything went really well for the Astros,” Berg said. “They just might be the fate team.”
While it’s hard for the books to mitigate the risk of an eight-figure payout, WynnBET moved the series’ price on Wednesday to a better Phillies +185 (Astros -225) to try and attract some Philadelphia silver. (At these odds, bettors are betting $100 to win $185 on the Phillies, or $225 to win $100 on the Astros.)
McIngvale posted on Twitter that the book offered him the chance to place a $1 million hedge bet on the Phillies at that price. But he refused. (A hedge bet is a bet placed on the opposite side of the original bet to guarantee a profit.)
“Not in a thousand years,” McIngvale said. “Number 1, I’m not going to hedge because I love the Houston Astros. Number 2, I’m not going to hedge because I have $74 million in liability.
As part of a partnership between Caesars and McIngvale announced Thursday, they will donate tractor-trailer mattresses to first responders and military veterans Friday in Houston and Monday in Philadelphia.
“We’re going to the city of brotherly love,” McIngvale said. “So I hope they’ll be nice to me.”