‘Mattress Mack’ Bets $5.5 Million On Kansas To Win NCAA Basketball Championship

Late Thursday evening, the legendary sports activities gambler and Texas furnishings entrepreneur often known as Mattress Mack wanted to get to Lake Charles, Louisiana to put a $5.5 million wager on the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. But there was an issue: he was 150 miles away in Houston and the freeway was backed up for 5 hours.

Mack, whose actual title is Jim McIngvale, took a 45-minute helicopter trip as an alternative. After the chook touched down at Million Air, the personal terminal on the Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, Mack and his spouse Linda went to the fast-food chain Sonic, the place they shared a strawberry milkshake and a caramel milkshake to assist “ease her anxiety” over the guess he was about to make. He then positioned two wagers for Kansas to win the championship at +190: one for $3.3 million on the Caesars sports activities betting app and the opposite for $2.2 million by way of Barstool Sports. If he wins, he’ll acquire $10.5 million.

“I bet on Kansas to win it all,” says McIngvale.

But McIngvale isn’t a University of Kansas fan. For those that know Mack, who owns Houston-based furnishings retailer Gallery Furniture, his headline-grabbing bets are simply enterprise. His $5.5 million wager is a hedge towards a furnishings promotion he’s operating on the retailer: if clients purchase $3,000 or extra price of American-made furnishings or Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster or Sealy mattress, and Kansas wins, they’ll get a full refund.

Customers have till tipoff between Kansas and the University of North Carolina on Monday evening to purchase and take possession of the furnishings. McIngvale says they already bought $10 million price by Saturday, so he’s anticipating to promote between $12 million and $14 million earlier than the championship sport.

“We’re going be keep selling, so I may have to bet a little bit more on Monday,” he says. “The promotion has been going well even though the furniture business is very soft right now. We had a great three weeks.”

Texas runs by way of McIngvale’s blood, so his promotion began three weeks in the past with the University of Houston. They made it to the Elite Eight however misplaced to Villanova 50-44. Since a Texas staff did not make it to the championships, McIngvale selected the staff closest to his retailer geographically, so he’s now rooting for the Jayhawks to greatest the Tar Heels. “Thank God it wasn’t Duke or North Carolina because they’re like five miles apart—it would have been argument,” says McIngvale.

There’s an argument to be made that it could be higher for McIngvale and his enterprise if Kansas loses. He’d lose his $5.5 million guess however he would have the ability to hold all of his gross sales, which might high $14 million, tens of millions greater than he’d win if Kansas cuts down the web Monday evening. But McIngvale disagrees: “The best-case scenario is that Kansas wins: the customers get their money back and they’ll be talking about it literally a decade to come,” he says.

McIngvale has been operating all these promotions and hedging towards them with sports activities wagers for about 15 years, so he’s by no means feeling too uneasy earlier than a sport. As a standard retailer, the 71-year-old entrepreneur has relied on gimmicks like this to maintain his enterprise alive within the period of e-commerce. Plus: “It’s a lot sexier than liability insurance,” he advised Forbes throughout an earlier interview in February.

If he loses, it wouldn’t be the primary time. Mack misplaced $9.5 million betting on the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI in February, however he bought about $20 million price of furnishings throughout that promotion. The Super Bowl was solely the newest multi-million-dollar loss for McIngvale. His largest gamble was on the Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series. He put a complete of $17 million on his hometown staff over a few months and misplaced when the Astros have been defeated by the Washington Nationals. But probably the most painful loss was throughout final 12 months’s World Series, when he put down a $2 million future guess, 18 to 1, for the Astros to win the championship. He might’ve received $36 million if the Atlanta Braves didn’t defeat the Astros.

Millions of Americans have been betting together with McIngvale throughout March Madness. About 45 million U.S. gamblers deliberate to wager a collective $3.1 billion on this 12 months’s NCAA Men’s Division I event, based on a report by the American Gaming Association.

McIngvale is a betting man, however he’s additionally a spiritual man. He posts Bible verses as soon as a day on Twitter and goes to church each week. Gambling is perhaps frowned upon in some spiritual communities, however McIngvale, who’s Catholic, says his church doesn’t thoughts. “At the church where I grew up, they were always having raffles and bazaars and they were always gambling and having bingo games,” he says, “so what the heck?”

When Kansas and UNC face off on the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on Monday evening, McIngvale might be at his retailer, watching the sport with clients. He’s paying among the University of Houston basketball gamers to return and signal autographs.

“We’ll have a good time,” says McIngvale. “There will be hundreds of customers in here, watching from the store, cheering for Kansas.”

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