Posted on October 5, 2019, by Travis Pulver
He’s not doing anything he hasn’t done before. Houston area furniture salesman, Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” ran a promotion similar to the one he is running this year, back in 2017. But this year, since the Astros have been a favorite to win the World Series for most of the season, the stakes are a whole lot higher.
So, rather than just take the loss on the chin should the Astros win, he is looking to lay some massive bets to help cover his losses.
The promotion is simple—buy a mattress that costs $3000+, and if the Astros win the World Series, you get your money back.
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Back in 2017, the promotion cost him around $12 million. But this year, he estimates the potential losses to be approximately $15 million. So, in case (when) the Astros win, he is working on making $10 million in bets on the Astros to cover his losses.
“I’ve placed hedge bets [on the Astros] at certain places, with still a few more to go,” McIngvale said, via ESPN. “It’s all kind of in flux. It’s like the stock market. You have to shop for the best price.”
Of course, finding the best odds and a book willing to take a bet as large as he wants to make is not easy to find. So far, he has about $5.25 million in bets at books in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada. The largest is a $3.5 million wager at the DraftKings in the Scarlet Pearl casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, at +220.
The FanDuel book at the Meadowlands in New Jersey expressed an interest in taking the whole $10 million pending approval from state regulators. He ended up putting down $1.5 million, also at +220.
But this is not the first or even the second time he has run such a promotion. The first was back in 2014 after some employees assured him the Broncos were going to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl that year. He thought they might do $2-3 million in sales but ended up doing closer to $7 million.
When the Astros won their 63rd game later in the year, that cost him around $4 million. The team hadn’t won more than 56 the last three seasons (won 70).
For the presidential election in 2016, he offered customers that spent $2000+ on furniture a chance at a refund if they guessed which party won the election. Trump’s win cost him around $10 million; however, had Hillary Clinton won, it would have cost him close to $13 million.
When he ran the promotion back in 2017, he scrambled to get some bets in place during the postseason to help defray the potential losses. In the end, between his bets and insurance, he had about 95 percent of his losses covered.
It’s an interesting situation to be in. If the team wins, he has to refund millions of dollars in sales but will make millions on his wagers. If they lose, he keeps all of the sales but loses millions in bets. But from a financial standpoint, depending on the exact numbers involved, Mattress Mack doesn’t stand to make much (if anything)
So why do it?
“I get ten times the money in publicity. It’s all part of the master plan of promoting the furniture store.”