Win Some, Lose Some: Furniture entrepreneur and legendary sports gambler Jim McIngvale lost $9.5 million betting on the Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI.
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Mattress Mack may have lost $9.5 million betting on the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI, but he’ll sleep well tonight. That’s because Mack, whose real name is Jim McIngvale, sold $20 million worth of furniture thanks to a Super Bowl promotion he hedged with his wager on the Bengals.
McIngvale, who owns Houston-based furniture store Gallery Furniture, held a huge promotion leading up to the Big Game. If the Bengals won, McIngvale would’ve refunded any customer who bought and took possession of a $3,000 mattress or recliner before kick off. He says that sales were “spectacular” and that he sold $1 million worth of furniture on Sunday morning to reach his goal of $20 million in sales.
When asked how he’ll lick his wounds after losing nearly $10 million, he says he’s just going to shake it off with a good night’s rest on a comfortable bed.
“I got a lot of faults, like gambling, but I don’t drink and I don’t use drugs,” he says. “My wife and I are resilient: we’ll just go home and go to sleep on my Tempur-Pedic mattress. I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and go back to work.”
McIngvale has been running these types of promotions and hedging against them with sports wagers for about 15 years, so he says he’s not feeling too sore about losing his $9.5 million wager.
“The biggest thing I’m disappointed with is the fact that my customers didn’t get free furniture,” McIngvale says minutes after Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp caught a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford in the end zone to win the game 23-20.
Last week, he laid out a $4.5 million bet on Cincinnati to beat the Rams at +170. On Friday, which happened to be McIngvale’s 71st birthday, he wagered another $5 million on the Bengals. According to Caesars Sportsbook, with whom he placed the bets, his $9.5 million stake would’ve paid $16.2 million.
McIngvale wasn’t betting alone. This Super Bowl was expected to attract a record $7.6 billion in wagers from a record 31.4 million Americans, according to a new report by the American Gaming Association. As sports betting is currently legal in 30 states, 100 million Americans can now make a legal bet from where they live.
The Rams won Super Bowl LVI with a fourth-quarter comeback. Early in the game, the Rams took the lead when Odell Beckham Jr. caught a touchdown pass from Stafford. But the Bengals caught up and Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals wide receiver, ran a 75-yard touchdown, bringing Cincinnati in the lead 17-13 at the start of the second half. By the third quarter, the Rams were still down. But after a few controversial calls and a long drive down the field, they managed to get into the end zone—Stafford passed to Kupp—and win the championship.
This is only the most recent multi-million-dollar loss for McIngvale. His biggest gamble was on the Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series. He put a total of $17 million on his hometown team over a couple of months and lost when the Astros were defeated by the Washington Nationals. But the most painful loss was during last year’s World Series, when he put down a $2 million future bet, 18 to 1, for the Astros to win the championship. He could’ve won $36 million if the Atlanta Braves didn’t defeat the Astros.
“That was probably the toughest one because I really thought I was going to win,” he says.
Mack watched the Super Bowl at Camp Hope, a Houston-based intensive residential program for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. When asked where losing nearly $10 million stacks up to other big loses he’s been dealt, he thinks for a second.
“Even though I lost that football game, when I see these veterans fighting valiantly against PTSD, it makes my loss feel very small,” he says. “I’m blessed to be where I’m at; I’m blessed to live in the United States. And you know what? We live to play another day.”