The Biggest Name in Betting
There’s no bigger name in North American sports betting right now than James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a 72-year-old furniture magnate based in Houston, TX.
Mack famously won a jaw-dropping payout of US $76 million on a 2022 World Series bet in which he picked his hometown Astros to beat the Philadelphia Phillies. It set a record for the biggest payout in US sports betting history.
And that was just one wager in a series of attention-grabbing multimillion-dollar bets he’s placed in recent years. He wins big, but he also loses big – and in the process, he’s shown a keen understanding of his own risk-taking nature. That’s why this famous bettor has gone on record saying he’s happy that local gambling restrictions help to keep his impulsiveness in check.
Mattress Mack’s Millions
Born into a sports-loving family, Mattress Mack played college football himself before graduating and being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
In 1981, he opened the first of what would become a chain of successful furniture stores under the name Gallery Furniture. In fact, decades of appearances in TV commercials promoting these stores – specifically, the mattresses they sell – is what eventually led locals to give him his alliterative nickname, which then naturally became his handle in the sports betting world.
With his stores eventually bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue – his salary as of 2023 is a reported $30 million – Mack became rich by any common understanding of the word.
He’s cleverly leveraged much of the money he’s won betting on sports to promote his business. When he won his record-breaking bet, a good chunk of that huge payout ended up going to his customers to honour a promotion to refund mattress purchases if he won the bet. It’s safe to assume many Houston mattress buyers likely had the best sleep of their lives the night he won.
Know Thyself, and Play Safe
Of course, like all gamblers, Mack doesn’t always win. He’s had not just cold streaks but collapses that would bankrupt most people, including a lengthy stretch during the 2021-22 football season that cost him millions.
But he understands his impulsive personality. He has even gone on record stating that he’s happy he needs to travel out of state in order to legally place most wagers. Texas doesn’t allow sports betting, so he drives to Louisiana, and Mack claims the time and distance involved both serve to help “limit those impulses” to wager on whatever strikes his fancy.
If, like Mack, you sometimes act impulsively when betting on sports, you might want to consider popping over to your neighbourhood convenience store to place your bet. Betting with PROLINE in-store is an easy way to play, but it does require you to travel to place a wager. It’s not quite the same sort of obstacle as needing to drive to another province to play, but it does mean you’ll need to invest some physical effort in acting on those impulses and will provide a little more time to mull over whether you want to place your bet.
If you prefer playing online, no worries; PlaySmart has resources to help you manage spur-of-the-moment decision making.
The sports spend limit tool allows you to control how much money you plan to spend on sports betting on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The first step before risking any money gambling is to establish your budget. That way you’ll always be on top of your game.
PlaySmart educational tools, meanwhile, provide guides and tips that can help you better understand how to bet, how different games work, how odds are set, and your chances of winning. This will help you figure out, for example, what it means to bet on single games or groups of games (parlay bets), and whether you want to wager on the outcomes of games or specific facets within those games, such as an individual player’s performance.
Play Smart, Have Fun
Mattress Mack made a name for himself by winning big, but he’s not really playing for the money. His wagers are placed for the thrill of it, not with an expectation to pad his bank account.
Casual players can learn a lesson from Houston’s famous bed seller. Gamble what you can afford, never chase losses or try to win back what you’ve lost by going deeper into your pocket, and don’t expect to win. If you need help getting into that headspace, PlaySmart has you covered.