Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale Casts Doubt Over Future of Texas Sports Betting

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • 38 states and Washington D.C. have legalized sports betting
  • Mack won $72.6 million betting on the World Series in 2022
  • Lawmakers can’t discuss the matter until the next legislative session in 2025

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a native Texan, is one of the most famous sports bettors in America. He also does not believe that his state will offer legal sports betting any time soon.

McIngvale said to gambling.com that he “seriously” doubts the Texas legislature will reverse its long-standing opposition toward sports betting and gambling as a whole, even despite his propensity to place million-dollar bets and love for sports wagering.

Texas is one of 12 states that have not yet legalized sports betting. The topic can’t even be broached until the next legislative session begins on Jan. 14, 2025.

Sticking to his roots 

McIngvale is well known in the world of sports betting for many reasons, most notably, his largest and the record for largest win ever, a $72.6 million payout for the Houston Astros winning the 2022 World Series. 

The famed gambler couples his high-rolling tendencies with his support for Texas and almost always places bets in favor of teams and players from the Lone Star State.

As committed as he is to his cause, his strategy has not always paid off. He lost $1 million after he bet on the Texas Longhorns to win the College Football Playoff only for them to lose to the Washington Huskies in the national semifinal.

He also wagered $2 million on the Dallas Cowboys to beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL playoffs last year, a game which they lost 19-12. And a couple of months later, he lost a total of $9.9 million in futures bets after the Houston Cougars failed to win March Madness.

Even when McIngvale is losing, he’s winning. He frequently runs deals at his store Gallery Furniture that promise discounted prices or even free items to customers who spend a certain amount of money if a local team wins a marquee event.

Even still, he is not satisfied with the state of Texas’ sports betting laws. 

"As a proud Texan, I would much rather have the tax revenue from my bets directly benefit the people of Texas," McIngvale wrote in a 2021 opinion piece sent to the Houston Chronicle, which detailed how he had to travel to Colorado to place one of his bets.

Legal pressure and potholes 

While Texas lawmakers have a tendency to oppose sports betting-related measures, attempts at legalization have become more common recently. The House passed a bill to legalize the pastime during the 2023 session, but the bill ultimately died in the Senate. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who controls the Senate, is one of the main reasons why. He previously said that he would kill any retail or mobile sports betting bills presented to him.

Even still, the conversations are becoming more common. That’s partly because of an increased push for casino expansion, which was compounded by the Dallas Mavericks’ sale to Las Vegas Sands owner and casino tycoon, Miriam Adelson.

“The big push is on sports gambling and then on the casinos, the five locations they’ve identified for resort type casinos, and those are the ones they’ve really put a lot of money into lobbying… and so we deal with it every session for the last four or five sessions,” according to Texas Rep. Doc Anderson.

Many lawmakers opposed to sports betting worry about the ties to addiction and the increase in problems that would follow. So for now, Texas gamblers will have to leave state borders to place their bets.

“I’m perfectly happy going to Louisiana,” McIngvale said to Gambling.com. “All I do is sell furniture and go to Louisiana and bet."

Of the four most-populated states, two, Texas and California, are still yet to legalize sports betting.

New York has consistently been the top state in the national market, although New Jersey produced a record $1.72 billion in wagers in January.