Mattress Mack exposes himself as hypocrite as Texas moves to legalize sports betting
Jim McIngvale owns and operates the Gallery Furniture chain based out of Houston, Texas. However, that's not what he's most known for. Sports fans know him as "Mattress Mack." He's come into the limelight in recent years by placing massive bets on sports to hedge his furniture company's promotions. McIngvale has referred to himself as the "world's most famous gambler." He was the benefactor of the largest payout in sports betting history, when he won $75 million backing the Houston Astros to win the World Series this past season.
Online sports betting is now legal and active in 36 states across the country. Massachusetts, Maine and Nebraska are all expected to come online in the coming months. However, the list of states where it remains illegal features some key players. California, Florida and Texas are amongst the states where it's not yet legal to place an online bet. Thankfully for bettors in Texas, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Texas introduces Republican-authored bill
In 2021, Texas attempted to introduce a bill to legalize sports betting. However, the bill was authored by a Democrat and got little to no traction in the Republican-led Senate.
On Monday, Republican state senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced legislation to legalize sports betting in Texas. Her involvement is noteworthy, because she's an ally of lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, who is seen as the biggest hurdle to legalizing betting in Texas.
The legislation is backed by the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, which includes every professional sports team in the state as well as racetracks and betting platforms. The bill would ask voters to decide in a November election whether they want to legalize mobile sports betting. In-person wagering is not included in the bill. The state would put a 10% tax on revenue generated.
With political parties now being aligned and seemingly influential people involved, there seems to be hope that Texas could be on its way to legalizing betting. That sounds like good news, but one notable bettor based out of Texas doesn't agree.
Mattress Mack doesn't want betting legalized in Texas
Mattress Mack has placed over $30 million in legal sports bets since the start of 2021. He won a payout of $75 million when his Houston Astros won the World Series in 2022. One would think he would love the idea of being able to make these bets from his stores or his home. However, that's not the case.
“I am 1,000% against it,” McIngvale said, according to John Lopez of Gallery Sports.
Mack went onto say, "Because I’ve got to drive to Louisiana, it limits those impulses by a factor of 1,000." He went on to say that "all that glitters is not gold" and expressed concerns about how much revenue the state would get in any deal.
Of course, in the process, Mack has exposed himself as a massive hypocrite.
Mattress Mack has seen his personal brand and the brand of his company increase tremendously thanks to the sports betting industry. It's worth noting that his bets aren't nearly as risky as they seem. He uses sports betting to hedge against promotions his furniture companies run. McIngvale is a master marketer and businessman. He's not a traditional sports bettor.
McIngvale runs his own company and has been extremely successful, with his net worth estimated to be near $300 million. For a man of his stature, having a driver take you two hours to the border or hopping in a private plane might seem like no big deal. Good luck to any of us normal people telling our boss that we're leaving early or taking an extended lunch because we're going to another state to place a sports bet. It's a statement that's simply out of touch with reality for 99% of the human population.
Of course, there are alternative ways to wager. If someone wants to bet, they will bet. Much like most of us found ways to drink alcohol before our 21st birthdays, bettors will find a way to get action on games.
Rather than making things easier for everyone involved, it seems like Mattress Mack wants to play the role of ethical and moral police here. In the process, he's exposed himself as an out-of-touch hypocrite.