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America’s most famous furniture retailer is known for its outrageous million-dollar bets on sporting events. Now Jim McIngvale is launching—to sell more furniture.

Mthe actress mack is now betting on the media business.

Jim McIngvaleThe 71-year-old furniture entrepreneur from Houston and a famous gambler affectionately known as ‘Mattress Mac’, has launched a sports news website that he promises to be “your one stop shop for all things sports in Texas and Louisiana.” McIngvale says he’s interested in publishing great journalism, but as the core of everything he does, he hopes Gallery Sports will help sell mattresses in his Gallery furniture stores.

“I’m a promoter,” McIngvale says. “I have a lot of wild and crazy ideas, and a lot of them will fail, but a few will be home runs.”

Mac doesn’t sell ads yet, but says if the site publishes great content and gets enough traffic, he will. “We expect to eventually make money from selling ads,” he says, “but it’s going to be a long draw of six months to a year.”

McIngvale, who owns the three-store Gallery Furniture chain in Texas, does headline-grabbing bets for decades. But his bets – including a A $9.5 million bet for the Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl LVI in February — are a hedge against his big sales promotions. During the Super Bowl, he offered customers who purchased a $3,000 mattress or chair before the game a full refund if the Bengals won. Cincinnati lost, taking their million dollar bet. But it wasn’t all bad; he sold $20 million worth of furniture.

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He may be an all-American punter, but the economics behind McIngvale’s astronomical stakes are healthy. Mack’s promotions and sports betting helped him grow his business, which he started with his wife Linda in 1981. In 2019, Gallery generated $164 million in revenue, and by the end of 2021, sales are up about 40% to more than 230 million dollars.

With several dozen contract employees working for Gallery Sports, including ex Houston Chronicle sports reporters, McIngvale says he has invested $500,000 in his new media venture.

McIngvale would eventually launch a second site, Gallery Gaming, focused on his other passion, sports gambling. The site will publish odds, analysis and, of course, stories about its bets. He won’t sell picks like some sports betting scammers. “I don’t believe in selling picks; it puts people in bad positions,” he says. The sites will cover sports in Texas and Louisiana, but he hopes to expand it to national and global coverage. “We’ll walk before we run,” he says. “But we’ll probably do a lot of things at big events, like the World Cup and things like that.”

In the past 15 years, McGinvale’s biggest bet was on the Houston Astros winning the World Series in 2019. He bet a total of $17 million on his hometown team and lost when the Astros were defeated by the Washington Nationals. But the most painful loss came during last year’s World Series, when McIngvale made a $2 million futures bet on the Astros at 18-to-1 odds. He would have won $36 million if the Atlanta Braves hadn’t beaten Houston.

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This year, McIngvale is once again “fairly invested” in the Astros. Always an understatement, as he placed multiple bets totaling $10 million on Houston winning the World Series. If the Astros win the Fall Classic, Mack will collect $75 million. Of course, Gallery Furniture is running another promotion tied to its monumental bet. (If a customer spends $3,000 or more on a mattress and the Astros win the World Series, they get a full refund.) McIngvale says Gallery has sold $50 million worth of mattresses so far — and the World Series is almost two months away.

With the NFL starting this week, Mack is also ready for football season, but he’s waiting for a good promotion before making a big bet. In the meantime, he’ll root for the Houston Texans because “I’m a homer,” he says, “that’s just who I am.” But he also likes how the Green Bay Packers look this season.

While the impulse behind the sports website is to “sell more furniture,” McIngvale admits he has higher goals. In times when trust in the media has declined and become hyper-partisan, Mack believes his site can help bring people together.

“I’m banking on the fact that I know people love sports, and one of the things I love about it is that sports is a great unifier,” McGinvale says. “Whether you’re right, left, middle, whatever, everybody’s coming together. This is a good thing for these divisive times.”

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