He is the man who has been striking fear in the hearts of online sports betting operators for years. Both his gambling wins and losses have become legendary. He just made history with what may be the biggest sports betting score of all time. So who is the man now known as the sports betting king, Mattress Mack?

About James McIngvale

Although he is a Texas man through and through, James Franklin McIngvale was actually born in Starkville Mississippi. The family relocated and young James graduated high school in the Dallas area. He went on to North Texas State University and it was the Longhorn State where he would settle with his family and open his own business.

After marrying his wife Linda, together they started what would become his business empire, a furniture franchise called Gallery Furniture.

In the early years of the company’s existence, Gallery Furniture struggled. Not one to sit by and take failure lying down, McIngvale started looking for inventive ways to create exposure for his business.

He started by adopting an aggressive TV persona who would go over the top with promises of great prices that “Saves you money,” his favorite catchphrase. His flair for theatrics eventually resulted in his involvement in show business. He co-produced the movie “Sidekicks” in an effort to get actor Chuck Norris to do some commercial spots for his furniture stores. The plan worked.

Eventually, his unorthodox sales tactics paid off and his business empire took off. He reportedly has a current net worth of somewhere in the vicinity of $300 million.

Sports Betting As A Marketing Ploy

In line with finding unorthodox ways to market his furniture store, McIngvale concocted a way he could leverage marketing campaigns with sports bets. The process would go like this.

He invites customers to his stores where he is promoting a particular product. The promo might include an offer of a free mattress or perhaps a huge discount on furniture. However, the promotion comes with a caveat. The free mattresses or discounts are contingent on a sporting event, often involving a Texas team.

The theory behind these promotions is the winnings are used to offset the value of the benefits he passes on to customers. If a wager loses, the customers already know they will have to pay regular prices. Since he announces the underlying wagers ahead of time, customers have reason to root for McIngvale’s wins.

Betting Big – Losses And Wins

In the past, Mattress Mack has tied his promotions to boxing matches, World Series games and futures bets, and Super Bowl games. It’s noteworthy that his largest sports betting loss came in February of 2022. He had placed approximately $9.5 million on the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl 56 over the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams won the game much to the chagrin of McIngvale and Gallery Furniture customers.

However, a small loss like $9.5 million was not enough to keep McIngvale down for long. As a new promotion, McIngvale tied the outcome of the 2022 World Series to a promotion that would afford his current customers to get a special benefit. That benefit would be double back their money on a minimum furniture purchase of $3,000.

The promotion involved specific mattress sets and power motion furniture. The money would be returned to customers with receipts if the Houston Astros were to win the World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies.

And of course, that’s exactly what happened. The Astros won the series in six games, putting winnings of $75 million into McIngvale’s bank account. It’s the largest winning sports bet officially recorded anywhere in the world.

World Series of Wagers

The first winning wager was actually placed back in May of 2022 through McIngvale’s Caesars Sportsbook online account. Caesars accepted a futures odds wager of $3 million on the Astros at odds of 10-1 to win the World Series. That bet will now make a huge dent in Caesars hopes for profitability this quarter. Caesars had to pay out a whopping $33 million of which $30 million was McIngvale’s profit.

When asked if Caesars would ever accept such a bet again, a Caesars Sportsbook representative made clear the bookmaker would not hesitate to do so under the right circumstance. As far as they are concerned, that’s business as usual.

In addition to his $3 million wager with Caesars, Mattress Mack subsequently made a series of bets with other top U.S. bookmakers. Among the online sportsbooks known to have accepted bets are Betfred, BetMGM, and Unibet.

In total, McIngvale wagered approximately $10 million on the Astros. At this point, it’s not clear if he earned any meaningful net profits between his winnings and promo payouts. However, winning money is not always McIngvale’s number one goal.

These are primarily marketing ploys that are intended to plaster the Gallery Furniture brand all over the news and the internet. Based on the news traffic created by this historic win, mission accomplished.

When asked to respond to his windfall, Mattress Mack told FOX 26 in Houston, Texas, “I feel great, because a lot of our customers are going to get free mattresses.”

At this point, prospective customers are already wondering what he has in store for Super Bowl 57.