Mattress Mack Gives Boost to Sports Betting in Iowa

Jim McIngvale Linda McIngvale
Jim “Matress Mack” McIngvale (L) and Linda McIngvale. Bob Levey/Getty Images for UNICEF/AFP

While the state itself doesn’t get much attention because of its small size and, normally, paltry bettings figures, many of the top sportsbooks still choose to operate in Iowa.

One such sportsbook is Unibet, which originated in London but is expanding its presence in the United States, making itself available in higher-profile sports betting states like New Jersey but also in smaller ones like Iowa.

Famous Texas-based sports bettor Jim McIngvale, also known as “Mattress Mack,” has chosen to bless (or curse) Unibet depending on the outcome of the large wager that he placed in July.

Given Iowa’s size, his wagering activity sufficed to make a potent impact on Iowa’s most recent sports betting numbers.

Mattress Mack’s Big Bet

Mattress Mack is one of many bettors whose wagers reflect his loyalties. Obviously an Astros fan, he has significant faith that his favorite team will win it all.

He placed a one-million dollar wager at Unibet in Iowa on the Astros to win the World Series. For his bet, he received five-to-one (+500) odds, meaning that he would net five million dollars if Houston wins.

Since Mattress Mack placed a second one-million dollar bet at a different Iowa sportsbook, he vastly improved the state’s most recent sports betting figures.

Iowa’s Sports Betting Numbers

Thanks to Mattress Mack alone, the state’s hold, meaning the percentage that sportsbook operators in the state “hold” for themselves after their bets get settled, increased by multiple percentage points.

Moreover, largely thanks to Mattress Mack, revenue for the state’s sportsbook operators rose by 70.1 percent relative to its June percentage.

Unibet’s Courage

While bettors generally love to hear about other individuals who wager way more money than they would or could ever consider wagering themselves, the fascinating aspect of this story is that Mattress Mack is not the only courageous character.

His bet represents an enormous risk to Iowa’s Unibet, which could lose millions of dollars in what would be an unprecedented defeat.

Mattress Mack’s wager accounted for 88 percent of its July handle. While there is a lot for Unibet in Iowa to gain, there is also a lot to lose.