HOUSTON (NewsNation Now) — Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has long been a legend in the Houston business community. Now, he’s making an even bigger mark after placing a record $4.5 million mobile bet on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl.
He had to drive across the border into Louisiana to place the bet, since Texas is one of the few states that hasn’t yet legalized sports betting. He told NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert that he placed his bets using the Caesar’s betting app. In fact, in a bit of breaking news, he dropped in that he’d just placed another bet, this one for $5 million.
The mobile app couldn’t accommodate bets of that size, so Mack kept making $250,000 bets until he reached his desired amount.
Ever the relentless promoter, Mack is promising that if the Bengals win, anyone who buys at least $3,000 worth of furniture between now and kickoff will get their purchase for free.
As for why he was betting on the Bengals, who were the arch-nemesis of the Houston Oilers in the ’80s and ’90s, McIngvale pointed to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, an LSU graduate. A lot of his customers come from Louisiana, and he’s a big LSU backer.
Mack has always done things his own way. Not long after arriving in Houston, he sank his last $10,000 into two television commercials for a failing furniture store, Gallery Furniture. Not happy with how they were being produced, he took over the microphone and did the spots himself, talking fast to get in what he wanted to say during the short time provided. That style became a hallmark of his commercials, which always ended with “Gallery Furniture really will save you money!”
From those beginnings, he built a furniture empire and became as famous for his philanthropic acts in the Houston community as he is for his advertising. After Tropical Storm Allison flooded the city in 2001 with record rain, he gave away thousands of mattresses to those in need.
More recently, after tropical systems in 2017 and 2019 and after the Texas power crisis in the winter of 2021, McIngvale opened his stores to serve as shelters for people whose power was knocked out or who for other reasons needed a place to stay.
When asked what his secret to success was, McIngvale repeated a mantra that those who follow him have heard many times: “Late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”