Toting stacks of hundred dollar bills, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale placed the first bet at the new Caesars sportsbook at Horseshoe Lake Charles Hotel & Casino. The publicity-seeking furniture store owner placed $1 million on the University of Houston Cougars to win the men’s NCAA Basketball tournament next March.
This is the latest in a series of high-stakes wagers McIngvale has placed on Texas teams. In 2019, 2021, and again last October, the Texas native placed large wagers with various sportsbooks on the Houston Astros to win the World Series. In 2019 and 2021, he lost, but the bets were more complicated than simply supporting the local team.
An Insurance Bet
McIngvale owns several furniture stores in the Houston area, and his large sports bets have been insurance policies of sorts to counter in-store promotions. In the past, McIngvale has promised to give customers who spent at least $3,000 in his stores on mattress purchases a full refund if the Astros won the World Series. He made similar bets on the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, as well as the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament in 2022.
If McIngvale wins his bets, he uses those winnings to offset the money he must pay out to customers. He has yet to announce whether his $1 million bet at Caesars retail sportsbook at Lake Charles is part of a similar promotion at his Gallery Furniture locations.
Last March, McIngvale’s promotion was if a team from Texas won March Madness, furniture purchased during March above a certain dollar figure would be free. As part of that offer, if no team from Texas advanced to the Final Four, the school geographically nearest to Texas would serve as his proxy. That turned out to be Kansas, which won the 2022 NCAA title, giving McIngvale a payout from his bets, and free mattresses to many of his customers.
No dollar value has been factored for the many promotions McIngvale has run in his Gallery Furniture stores, but it’s assumed that many customers have flocked to his locations to get new mattresses with the promise their expenditure might be refunded.
Mattress Mack Takes to Twitter for $1 Million Bet at Caesars
On Dec. 12, McIngvale posted a video to his Twitter account that showed him submitting the first betting slip at the Caesars retail sportsbook at Horseshoe Lake Charles Hotel & Casino.
I do love @CaesarsSports! So excited that they let me be the person to make the first bet at their beautiful, new sportsbook in Lake Charles, Louisiana; a cool $1 million on our @UHCougarMBK to win it all. Go Coogs! @HorseshoeLC pic.twitter.com/oLFkmcApey
— @MattressMack (@MattressMack) December 12, 2022
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, McIngvale has now placed $3.5 million in bets on the Houston Cougars to win the men’s college basketball title.
In addition to his shrewd marketing promotions, McIngvale is known for being a generous member of the Hosuton community. In 2017, when Hurricane Harvey hit Louisiana and Texas, McIngvale transformed his stores into shelters. He did the same after Tropical Storm Imelda caused more than $5 billion in damage to Texas in 2019.
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Odds
According to Caesars, these teams have the best odds to win the 2023 NCAA Men’s basketball championship:
- Houston: +600
- Arizona: +1000
- Connecticut: +1200
- Kentucky: +1200
- Purdue: +1500
- Texas: +1500
- Gonzaga: +1800
- Baylor: +1800
- Duke: +2000
- UCLA: +2000
In the most recent AP poll, Houston was ranked No. 5, following its first loss of the season to Alabama.
AP Photo/Wayne Parry