Mike the Mattress had his say at a sports betting conference

SECAUCUS, NJ — There was a sports betting conference at the Meadowlands this week, and a man who bets obscene amounts of money was asked what it felt like to carry a million dollars in cash through a casino in a duffel bag.

“It’s hard,” he laughed.

Give “Mattress Mack” a stage and a microphone and he becomes Dave Chappelle without the profanity. The 71-year-old Houston furniture salesman now has $4 million on the Astros to win the World Series. He told the crowd at the North American SBC Summit that he wants even more, but says no sportsbook is willing to take his action.

“I’m trying to get the Houston Astros 6-1 to $5 million,” he said.

Mack’s existing $4 million bet includes $3 million for the Astros at 10-1 at Caesars, plus another $1 million for Wynn at 12-1. Houston, once again running away with the AL West crown, entered this weekend 5-1.

“Winners are the best advertisers in the world”

“Mattress Mac”

Some professional sports bettors don’t like Mack much because of his ability to make seven-figure bets when they are often limited by sports betting because of their own success. Jason Robbins, CEO of DraftKings, infamously said the quiet part out loud last November when he said at a conference: “This is an entertainment business. People who do this for profit are not the players we want.”

Mack ties his bets to furniture promotions, so he’s more of a hedger than a bettor. He said he also felt the pain of being limited and was critical of sportsbooks who fear shrewd punters.

“The winners are the best advertisers in the world,” he said. “I think the best advertisement that sports betting can have — instead of giving you a $500 sign-up bonus — is that it’s a place that loves winners. Winners make the business. [They have to] figure out in their business model how to get enough margin to be able to overcome someone who is on a hot streak. By definition in gambling, if you get a hot streak, a cold streak comes. Nobody wins all the time.”

“When I bet Kansas to win the Final Four, my wife and I drove to Louisiana and we were at Sonic for a hamburger and we bet $14 million on Kansas.” – Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe drew the ire of professional bettors when she said 25% of customers who play in offshore sportsbooks will never be paid out. Experts say this figure is greatly inflated.

“Proud graduate of CEO Jason Robbins’ school of disinformation,” industry expert Jack Andrews gushed.

It seems almost every week a new wall is scaled as the sports betting monster grows.

In March, the Mid-American Conference agreed to a data partnership with Genius Sports Limited for the exclusive management and distribution of sports statistics for its 12 members. Data is to sports bettors what gasoline is to cars. It’s one thing for professionals to swim in the gambling pool, college admissions were unheard of four years ago.

“I thought this was an opportunity,” MAC Commissioner John Steinbrecher said when the Supreme Court opened up sports betting expansion in 2018. “Let’s get collegiate sports betting out of the dark corners. We know this is happening on our campuses and in our communities. Let’s get it out. Let’s regulate it and bring transparency to it.”

There are dangers, of course, and everyone knows that. Especially those at Steinbrecher’s level.

“We have to balance the stigma of betting and college sports. It will take some time,” the commissioner said. “Part of it will be [if we] can we continue to run this operation without having a series of incidents. The beauty of what Genius and their integrity services present now is that we will know about problems faster than in the past. That is positive.”

There will be problems for sure. Maura Smith is the associate commissioner of compliance for the Sun Belt Conference, which is also in the market for a data partner. Do you know what bothers her?

“Understanding pressure [on players] of potential prop bets,” she said. “It’s a big concern for our conference. Balancing their lives as students and athletes with that potential pressure from friends and family who might want information from them, and what the consequences of that would be.”

Mark Strotkamp, ​​who played football at Loyola (Ill.) in the 1990s, now works for the NCAA as associate director of enforcement. Among the things in his field is helping educate colleges and athletes amid the escalation of sports betting. He said the NCAA has 1,100 schools and 600,000 players under surveillance.

As sports betting has grown, the problems for college athletes have gone beyond old-school point-scoring scandals.

“We’re starting to see more and more prop bets being offered,” Strotkamp said. “This is our members’ problem. Because now you’re putting pressure on student-athletes – maybe very young student-athletes, freshmen and sophomores. If Sally is going to score X points in a game or Joe is going to get X rebounds, that adds more pressure than just trying to grow.

These prop bets are only available at the highest levels and not in every jurisdiction. But the question remains. Betting on St. Peter’s in the last men’s basketball tournament was banned in New Jersey because the school is located in the state. Sports bettors across the nation have generally cleared the Peacocks’ unprecedented run to the Elite Eight as the No. 15 seed.

One of the NCAA’s biggest challenges when it comes to gambling is with lower-tier schools.

“Our studies show that our Division III athletes gamble higher than our Division I athletes,” he explained. “When I think about it from an educational standpoint, it’s because most Division I campuses have more people working in compliance.”

“I think we’re about to see a bunch of sports betting and college partnerships in the next three months.” – Scott Sadin, COO of US Integrity

Industry experts have been saying for years that online sports betting will simply be a means to an end. The real jackpot, at least for some, is beyond.

Bobby Soppel, CEO of Sun Gaming, made a loose comparison between sports betting and poker.

“This is complementary and can bring additional revenue to high margin bank games [such as online blackjack] and pay the bills,” Soppel said. “In my opinion, I have always believed that online sports betting can be profitable if you are smart about how you operate. But the real gold is online iGaming. This is the pot of gold in the United States. A lot of people said, “Let’s start with online sports betting.” Hopefully it catalyzes and turns into iGaming. This will be the real opportunity in the United States.

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