The Margin: Here’s why a Houston businessman is betting millions on the Astros winning the World Series

This post was originally published on this site

Talk about covering your bases.

A wealthy Houston businessman has placed a massive $3.5 million bet on the hometown Astros to win the World Series — and if they win, he may need every penny.

Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” owns Houston’s Gallery Furniture, and is offering a whopper of a promotion — if the Astros win the title, customers can get refunds of $3,000 or more on mattress purchases. He offered a similar promotion before the Astros won the World Series in 2017, which ended up costing him about $12 million in refunds, according to Houston’s KHOU-TV.

This year, he estimates his losses could reach $15 million, the Houston Chronicle reported. And he has no insurance to cover that kind of liability.

That’s why he’s hedging with a massive bet placed at the DraftKings sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl casino in Biloxi, Miss. It’s reportedly the largest single bet in Mississippi sportsbook history, and at +220 odds, McIngvale will net about $7.7 million if it pays off.

And there’s more. ESPN reported that McIngvale has also placed large bets at a number of casinos in Las Vegas and Mississippi, and is looking to place more bets in New Jersey.

When all the bets are placed, McIngvale is in line to win around $20 million if the Astros win, the Chronicle said.

“I’m just amazed how much DraftKings and Scarlet Peal took, and they didn’t blink an eye,” McIngvale told ESPN. “That’s pretty rare in the sports betting business in the United States, for someone to take three and [a] half million dollars.”

McIngvale, who is also a notable philanthropist, said he has to do something to stand out in a tough brick-and-mortar retail market.

“I know these wacky promotions like this one, when people get their money back, it’s the greatest publicity I could ever hope for,” McIngvale told ESPN.

McIngvale lost about $10 million in 2016 on a similar promotion when Donald Trump won the presidency. But he can afford making big bets — McIngvale’s net worth is around $75 million, according to one estimate.

The Astros are the odds-on favorites to win the World Series. They’ll face their first test against the winner of the Oakland A’s-Tampa Bay Rays wild-card game Wednesday.