Mattress Mack Bets $3.46 Million On The Super Bowl, While Others Can Get Down Just $110

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale's Super Bowl bet shines a light on who can bet -- and how much -- in the growing American sports betting market.
mattress mack

I was glancing at Twitter this morning and came across a tweet from Shane Sigsbee, the co-founder and CEO of IMAWHALE staking group, an operation that “provides capital, coaching, and management to online poker players worldwide.”

According to his Twitter profile, Sigsbee is also a “Real Estate Investor. Entrepreneur. Christian. Husband. Dad. Golfer.”

Sigsbee also says he tried to put down a $100,000 bet on the Buccaneers +3.5 at BetMGM and was denied.

Maybe he should’ve added “mattress salesman” to that Twitter bio above. Because if he was a mattress salesman, it appears as if the sky’s the limit on Super Bowl bets.

Of course, I’m referring to the $3.46 million bet Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale put down last night on the Bucs +3.5 (laying -127) via the DraftKings online sportsbook. The Texas furniture magnate hopped a plane, landed in Colorado Springs, and placed the bet right there on the tarmac. 

OK, fine, maybe DraftKings is willing to take a big bet like that, and maybe BetMGM isn’t comfortable taking a $100,000 bet, and …

No bet for you, big bet for him

In Nevada yesterday, a mystery bettor took a gander at the NFL Super Bowl odds and decided to place a BetMGM wager from their phone to the tune of $2.3 million,” was the first paragraph in a BetMGM post on its blog the other day. “This individual decided to skip the prop bets, for now, and go straight for the jugular by taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5.”

“This was a bet we were very happy to receive,” said Jason Scott, vice president of trading for BetMGM, in the post. “BetMGM had previously written several six-figure bets, all on Kansas City, and the public is certainly behind Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. This big Buccaneers bet had helped our book.” 

But uh … what about Sigsbee’s attempt to place the same exact bet that was barely 4% of the $2.3 million bet?

Well, the answer seems obvious: Sigsbee is considered a “pro” by the sportsbooks — and not for nuthin’ Shane-o, but the “I’m a whale” thing is a bit a of tip-off — and thus is finding out what most other pros are finding out: They’re going to get limited, in some cases quite severely, in some cases to comical levels.

But what really, truly, doesn’t make any sense here is Sigsbee was trying to get down the same exact bet at BetMGM as the $2.3 million bet they had accepted earlier.

Why accept one for $2.3 million, and not the other for $100K? I reached out to BetMGM earlier today, but haven’t heard back yet. 

But we all kind of know the answer: If you’re good, you’re gone.

There will be limits

If you consistently get numbers better than closing, that’s all, folks,” the sharp that goes by “Porter” told me back in December. “Listen, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t make financial sense to allow successful bettors to stick around.”

He’s clearly not wrong. In the short time I’ve been covering the gambling space, the amount of stories I’ve heard about sportsbooks putting draconian limits on their customers is worrisome. There is, obviously, a push and pull at work here: Sportsbooks are not in the business of losing money. But to continuously push successful bettors away — while at the same time crowing in press releases about the massive bets they’re taking — is, to say the least, a bit disingenuous.

And as Porter points out, it’s not necessarily the big winners the sportsbooks have their sights on; if you prove to be successful at navigating the sportsbook landscape, you’re liable to find yourself on the outside looking in.

How else to explain this tweet, in response to Sigsbee’s tweet, from a bettor who claims he was limited to a $110 wager on the Bucs +3.5?

I’ve written numerous times about limits, written how the “new” sportsbooks are apparently not interested in sharp money, how there’s precious few online books — Circa and Sky Ute, both in Colorado, come to mind — that state their limits clearly and keep them open to everyone.

It’s an ongoing issue that’s only going to get worse as more and more bettors get labeled with the “sharp” sticker. Is it any wonder many, if not most, if not all true professional gamblers end up offshore?

Smartest guy in the room?

Meanwhile, we have the Super Bowl PR du jour today with Mattress Mack, who really might be the sharpest guy in the space.

Understand this: At his three Gallery Furniture stores, he’s running a promotion — spend $3,000 or more on a mattress set at his store, and if the Buccaneers win the game outright, he’ll give you your money back.

And remember, he bet on the Bucs +3.5.

You have to assume, based on prior promotions, McIngvale has a pretty good idea as to how many mattresses he’s going to sell with this promo. And so, if the Bucs win, his gambling winnings will cover his losses on the mattresses. If the Chiefs win, his gambling losses will be covered by his mattress sales.

And if the Chiefs win by three points or less?

Well, as Adam Levitan of Establish The Run points out, “ … he keeps all the mattress money AND wins his bet AND gets all the publicity (likely worth millions). EZ game.


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