Mattress Mack Says 'No' to Legalized Sports Betting in Texas

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

He's become the face of regulated sports betting in the United States, yet Houston furniture magnate Jim McIngvale (better known as  “Mattress Mack") has shockingly come out against legalization in his home state of Texas.

McIngvale cashed out on a $75 million payday in November after the Houston Astros won the World Series, though he's lost plenty of his other wagers, including a recent bet placed on TCU to beat Georgia in the College Football Playoff Championship.

Mack tells the Houston Chronicle the state should not move forward to allow sports betting, this after pushing for legalization only two years prior.

“I’m known as one of the biggest sports gamblers in the world,” McIngvale said. “Everything I do, I bet legally. Driving to Louisiana for two hours is not that much of an inconvenience. And I think all that glitters is not gold. They’ve got to look at it because I’m concerned that the revenue estimates as far as what’s going to come into the state are way overblown.”

Texas is not likely to legalize the activity, even with all the hoopla.


State lawmakers from both parties introduced companion legislation Monday. 

House Bill 1942 and Senate Bill 715 stipulate that "participation in a lawful and licensed sports wagering industry is a privilege and not a right."

"Our neighboring states are cashing in on Texans’ bets, and a smart, efficient legal framework will keep that revenue here to go towards much-needed property tax relief,” former Governor Rick Perry said in the Texas Sports Betting Alliance's statement. The Texas Sports Betting Alliance now employs Perry as its spokesperson.

Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune recently explained why neither bill is expected to get very far.

"Given the stiff headwinds to getting any expansion in gambling passed, sports betting and casino advocates may be competing against each other, rather than working in tandem".

And the main obstacle standing in the way?

"The senate is very conservative under Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. It's really hard to imagine, either Patrick letting a bill be voted on in the senate, or seeing it pass," Southeast Texas Political Analyst Tom Taschinger stated.

Even if Patrick and the Senate do an about-face, voters will ultimately have the final say. 

If Sen. Lois Kolkhorst's Senate Joint Resolution 39 or Rep. Jeff Leach's House Joint Resolution 102 were to make the ballot in November and receive voters' approval, online sports wagering would be allowed beginning in 2024.

Previous state initiatives have either failed (California) or just narrowly squeaked by with voters (Colorado with just 51%).

Mack says he now understands the pitfalls.  He should. He's lost so many big bets.

“My change of heart is that I know myself, and I’ve seen the light as far as impulsiveness on me to sports gambling,” McIngvale said. “Because I’ve got to drive to Louisiana, it limits those impulses by a factor of 1,000. So I’m not in favor of sports gambling in Texas.”

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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