Please do not glorify Mattress Mack’s gambling addiction

Please do not glorify Mattress Mack’s gambling addiction

Reporting on Mattress Mack McIngvale’s gambling addiction is akin to covering those competitive vaping contests featuring Gen Zers trying to see who can blow the biggest cloud/contract lymphoma the quickest. I guess there’s a human-interest angle, but it also glorifies sports betting to a disgusting degree. Sure, people would click on a story about a cocaine user’s quest to snort the biggest gator tail ever recorded, yet it hardly seems responsible, and it’s definitely unethical.

The Houston-based furniture entrepreneur (monopolist?) placed a $1 million wager on, you guessed it, Houston to win the Men’s NCAA Tournament. It’s not even an interesting or smart bet. It’s a guy who’s business success has enabled his vice to grow unimpeded, and now shills for publicity by seeing how much he can lose in one sitting.

McIngvale lost $5 million betting the Bengals moneyline in Super Bowl LVI, a record for largest wager ever placed at a regulated sportsbook in America, and I have no words. Think about how often we hear about Floyd Mayweather or Drake betting absurd amounts of cash, not because they’re especially good gamblers, but because they’re famous.

To go back to my drug analogy, Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” moment, when he appeared on The Dan Patrick Show clearly in the middle of a relapse, was funny then it just turned sad. Again, famous people indulging irresponsibly in any addiction — drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, sex — will attract eyeballs and clicks.

The difference between gambling and drugs and alcohol is the former has less of an effect on the rich and famous. Will Drake be hocking for Metamucil in his 70s after one too many losses at the boats? One can only hope, but more likely he’ll be hanging onto notoriety through a Vegas residency with plenty of cash to funnel back to the MGM. It’s hard to feel remorse for sensationalizing something that’s likely not going to kill your subject.

Phil Mickelson lived to talk about the dark side of his gambling problems because the Saudis bankrolled his retirement. When an everyday addict loses irreplaceable amounts of money, things like work, personal and social lives can be adversely affected and/or destroyed. Good for Lefty that he didn’t lose his third home, but his tale is the opposite of cautionary.

However, there are countless degenerates who aspire to have the one percent’s margin for error. That’s not reality, though, because if it was the word “moderation” wouldn’t exist. Everybody would be hedonists and there would be zero consequences. The only advantage of that multiverse is we’d all be too drunk to care about celebrities and how much they wager.

It’d be one thing if Mattress Mack or Drake or Money Mayweather were some kind of sharps, doling out betting advice like Jimmy the Greek. As far as I can tell, the only reason these stories leak is because egomaniacs want to flaunt their excess, and news agencies are desperate for any type of engagement.

Alleged journalistic outlets are being real cavalier with their gambling coverage post legalization as if uttering a disclaimer absolves a podcaster of everything that’s spoken after it. It’s like insulting someone after you preface it with “No offense.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

So do me a favor, if you want to write about Mattress Mack’s sports betting habit, don’t refer to him as a famous gambler. Call him what he is: A degenerate. 

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.