Updated October 1, 2019 - 10:48 pm
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale placed a $3.5 million wager to win $7.7 million on the Houston Astros to win the World Series on Tuesday afternoon at DraftKings sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The Houston furniture store owner is hedging a promotion offering a refund of any purchase of at least $3,000 on a mattress set if the Astros win the World Series.
To help offset a possible loss of about $15 million on the promotion, McIngvale wanted to bet big on Houston at a legal sportsbook and found a willing taker in DraftKings.
“It’s the biggest bet in Mississippi history and one of the top few ever in the country. It stands out as unique. If we’re not taking these bets, then who is?” Matt Kalish, DraftKings co-founder and chief revenue officer, told the Review-Journal. “That’s what we do. When people are looking to make big bets in sports, we want to make sure we deliver.”
McIngvale refunded $13 million in the same promotion in 2017, when the Astros won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
This time around, McIngvale enlisted the help of sharp Las Vegas sports bettors Frank Betti and Anthony Curtis, who runs LasVegasAdvisor.com, to help him negotiate prices and numbers with the books.
Curtis told the Review-Journal on Saturday that the FanDuel and DraftKings books in New Jersey had agreed to take a total of $4 million in wagers from McIngvale to win $8.8 million. But that plan changed, in part, simply because Mississippi is much closer to Houston than New Jersey.
“We did it at Scarlet Pearl because it’s in his backyard,” Kalish said. “It makes a lot of sense to him.”
Curtis also said the tax ramifications are better for McIngvale in Mississippi.
“The negotiations couldn’t be completed with FanDuel, and DraftKings stepped up and said, ‘We’ll do it now, and we’ll do it in Mississippi,’” Curtis said.
Kalish said he hopes the Astros win it all and McIngvale cashes his big ticket.
“One hundred percent. It’s always good when people have a good experience when they win,” he said. “In this case, thousands of people on the other end will get free furniture if the Astros win.
“We’ll be fine either way. This is what we do every day, and we’ll be here for years and years. It all just washes out over time.”
DraftKings, a Daily Fantasy Sports giant, opened a mobile sportsbook in New Jersey in August 2018 and its first retail sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl in November 2018.
Kalish said business is booming and shows no signs of slowing down as legal sports betting continues to spread across the country.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “We’ve grown over two (times), head count-wise, over the last year. We’re in a really, really nice spot with 11 million customers in our database as more states approve sports betting.”
Besides the $3.5 million wager on the Astros at plus 220, Curtis said McIngvale placed $350,000 to win $875,000 on Houston at plus 250 in Las Vegas, including a $200,000 bet to win $500,000 at the South Point.
Curtis said he and Betti will continue to look for hedge bets for McIngvale during the playoffs.
“This is just setting the table,” Curtis said. “We’re ready for the flop now. A lot of things can be done once the playoffs start.”