Massive March Madness bet could net furniture tycoon a whopping $22 million

The Texas furniture store owner, who most people know as “Mattress Mack,” has placed another hefty bet on one of his hometown sports teams in Houston. This time it’s the Houston Cougars men’s basketball team. Again.

Jim McIngvale made a quick trip east to a casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he lost $1 million hoping the Cougars would win the national championship next spring, as reported by Houston Chronicle.

Mattress Mack made his bet at the Horseshoe Casino, where he was reportedly the first person to ever place a wager at his new sportsbook. McIngvale tweeted his bet.

“I love @CaesarsSports! So excited they let me be the person to make the first bet at their beautiful new sportsbook in Lake Charles, Louisiana; a cool $1 million on our @UHCougarMBK to win it all. Go Coogs!,” he wrote.

Along with another $1.5 million he already bet on the Cougars, McIngvale now has $2.5 million on the University of Houston to win it all. His total winnings would be around $22 million while his total losses would be $2.5 million.

His chances are not that bad. The Cougars were recently ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1983, but they slipped to No. 5 this week after a home loss to Alabama (71-65). Houston will have a chance to prove they’re still a top team when the Cougars take on No. 2 Virginia this Saturday.

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale thrills the crowd as the Norfolk State Spartans play the Houston Cougars at the Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas on November 29, 2022.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Cougars are likely to compete in the NCAA March Madness tournament. Should they reach the Final Four, it will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, where they should have a huge following.

McIngvale placed a bet on the Cougars to win it all. In the 2020-21 season, he bet $1 million on Houston winning the men’s basketball tournament. Odds of 9 to 1, the Cougars made it to the Final Four where they lost to eventual champion Baylor. McIngvale would have won $9 million.

Just last month, McIngvale won a whopping $75 million in wagers because his beloved Houston Astros won the World Series. He even threw away the first throw of Game 6 in what was the series’ deciding win at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

McIngvale placed the biggest bet ever during the 2021 Kentucky Derby when he bet $2.4 million on favorite Essential Quality, who finished fourth behind Derby winner Medina Spirit, runner-up Mandaloun and third-place finisher Hot Rod Charlie.

His derby bet was a record for both the largest bet and largest loss by a bettor.

McIngvale usually combines his hefty bets with special offers at his gallery furniture stores. He often runs a promotion that says people who buy a certain amount of furniture (e.g. $3,000 or more) will get their money back if the Astros, Houston Cougars or whoever wins. He won even more money when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in February 2021.

He is by no means a snake oil salesman as he continually gives back to his community. When Hurricane Harvey devastated the greater Houston area in 2017, it opened up its furniture stores to displaced Houstonians, giving them a place to sleep, shower, eat, and work to get their lives back on track.

In 2021, when a severe ice storm swept through Houston and across Texas, it reopened its stores to provide warmth and shelter. During the holidays, he gives away dinners to families and often makes generous donations to charities that come knocking.

As for the University of Houston, he has secured lucrative Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals to provide additional comfort and financial security for the university’s athletes. He has reportedly paid more than $1.6 million to Cougar athletes since September. Massive March Madness bet could net furniture tycoon a whopping $22 million

Rick Schindler

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