May 25, 2022

Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman places 1st-ever sports bets from space

Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman places 1st-ever sports bets from space
Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman places 1st-ever sports bets from spaceInspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman places 1st-ever sports bets from space

SpaceX’s all-private Inspiration4 mission has notched another spaceflight first — although most parents are probably hoping this one doesn’t inspire their kids to similar action.

Jared Isaacman, the tech billionaire who paid for and commands the Earth-orbiting Inspiration4, has placed two bets on NFL football with the BetMGM Sportsbook, part of the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas. They’re the first-ever official sports wagers made from the final frontier, BetMGM representatives said.

“This is a truly historic moment. Thanks to Shift4 Payments for the incredible honor of asking BetMGM to participate,” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Prevost said in an emailed statement today (Sept. 16). (Isaacman is founder and CEO of Shift4, a payment-processing company.)

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The betting slips from Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman's in-space bets, made via a proxy bettor with MGM Grand's BetMGM Sportsbook.

The betting slips from Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman’s in-space bets, made via a proxy bettor with MGM Grand’s BetMGM Sportsbook. (Image credit: BetMGM/MGM Grand)

Via a proxy bettor, Isaacman bet $4,000 that the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team would score at least 41 combined points during their game tonight, and another $4,000 on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl this season.

The first bet would net more than $3,600 if it came through. The Eagles aren’t expected to be very good this year, so the Super Bowl wager is a huge longshot. Isaacman got 66-to-1 odds on that one, meaning he’ll net $264,000 if the Eagles win it all. (Presumably he made this bet with his heart rather than his head; Isaacman is from New Jersey and may therefore be a fan of the nearby Eagles.)

Isaacman won’t pocket any potential winnings himself, however: All the proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The Inspiration4 mission aims to raise $200 million for the hospital, and Isaacman has already pledged $100 million of his own money toward this cause.

BetMGM has also donated $25,000 to St. Jude.

“On top of the excitement of bets being made from space, we’re even more thrilled to be able to contribute and raise awareness for a great cause in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Prevost said.

Inspiration4 is the first all-private mission to Earth orbit. Isaacman and his three crewmates — Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski — launched on Wednesday night (Sept. 15) aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and are scheduled to return to Earth on Saturday (Sept. 18). 

Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.