Texan Flies to Colorado to Make $3.5 Million Super Bowl Bet From His Cell Phone

Houston furniture retailer Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale flew to Colorado Wednesday night and placed one of the largest Super Bowl bets ever from his mobile phone.

McIngvale wagered $3.46 million that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would cover the 3.5-point spread against the favored Kansas City Chiefs, according to DraftKings Inc., which took the bet through its mobile app. That means the Bucs must either win the game or not lose by more than 3 points for him to win a potential $2.71 million.

McIngvale’s gamble from the airport in Colorado Springs -- because Texas hasn’t legalized such bets -- underscores the dramatic growth in online betting since the U.S. Supreme Court decided three years ago that states other than Nevada could authorize such bets if they choose.

Legal sports betting generated $1.6 billion in revenue last year among the more than two dozen companies active in the business, according to the research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. Twenty states and the District of Columbia now offer such wagers and five more have approved it but have yet to start.

Penn National Gaming Inc. said Thursday its new Barstool betting app generated $27.5 million in total wagers from 48,000 customers in just its first 10 days of operation in Michigan. The company expects to be offering sports wagers in 10 states by the end of this year.

Among other notable wagers, BetMGM received a $2.3 million bet on the Bucs from a customer in Nevada. The American Gaming Association, a casino trade group, predicts that a record 7.6 million people will legally place online wagers for this weekend’s NFL championship game, a 63% jump from last year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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