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Furniture Magnate Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale Opposes Mobile Sports Betting Bill
Texans Support Legalizing Sports Betting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Opposes the Bill
30+ States Allow Some Form of Sports Gambling as Calls to Addiction Hotline Increase
Legal mobile sports wagering in Texas just gained an unlikely opponent as a mega gambler and Houston Furniture Magnate Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale recently spoke out against the sports betting bill now poised for debate, that’s according to reporter Brian Bushard of Forbes.
McIngvale, the founder of the Houston-based Galley Furniture chain, reportedly told the Houston Chronicle that he is not a fan of legalizing mobile sports betting in Texas, saying it would “bolster gambling addiction,” a deal breaker he seems to be double downing on.
The same Mattress Mack who calls himself “one of the biggest sports gamblers in the world," is reportedly arguing that his “two-hour drives to neighboring Louisiana to place bets limits [his] impulses by a factor of 1,000.”
It comes across as an odd take given McIngvale’s extensive history of placing massive multi-million-dollar sports bets as a promotion for his furniture stores, a noble effort to take care of his customers that is made possible by his out-of-state private jet runs to pick up his huge winnings.
Plenty of other Texas sports bettors most likely feel differently than ‘Mattress Mack’ since they don’t have the luxury of being able to travel to place their wagers the way he does.
The Forbes piece also mentions the recent University of Houston poll that was conducted last month in which three-quarters of the voters said they would support an increase in legal sports gambling, another clear sign that most residents there have grown tired of that situation.
Texas bettors who for whatever reasons can’t cross state lines (distance, time, money) are forced to place their bets using unregulated offshore sportsbooks or else via local illegal bookies, neither of which can be held fully accountable for the way they handle their action.
While legal sports betting advocates in Texas like Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan support the gambling bill just filed by Sen. Carol Alvarado of Houston, there are others in the administration who are still pushing back including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
In 2021, a bill sponsored by Democratic lawmakers died in the Texas state legislature despite the majority of states in the U.S. having already launched their own legal markets.
At the start of 2023, over thirty U.S. states have launched some form of a sports betting market giving residents a mobile and/or an in-person option for placing sports bets and that combined operation has generated an over $189 billion handle and $14.4 billion in sportsbook revenue.
That increase in activity has caused a 43% spike in nationwide calls to a gambling addiction hotline according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, the New York Times reported, and those against the activity fear it will run ads that target those most vulnerable to addiction.
Many states currently reinvest some of the tax revenue from sports betting into funds that support the battle against problem gambling, a solution that shows there is already a serious effort being made to combat the downside of betting.
This is an ongoing Lone Star debate that we will continue to keep track of so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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