Rovell: I Just Helped Place the First Sports Bet from Space
On Wednesday, Jared Isaacman made history on the Inspiration4, as mission commander of the first all-civilian space flight. On Thursday, he made history again by placing the first sports bet made from space to Las Vegas.
I was honored to be the one to place the bet for him. His instructions were relayed to me on Thursday afternoon by his brother Michael, who had communicated with Jared from space earlier that day.
Weeks ago, the good folks at BetMGM called me and said they had an opportunity of a lifetime. Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments, a company that processes more than $200 billion in payments a year, had bought all of the seats on a SpaceX vehicle and would begin training. And besides going to space for a couple days, he wanted to do some monumental things.
Issacman, 38, who is worth $3.4 billion, according to Forbes, was using the space mission to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — he threw in the first $100 million.
He also brought 66 pounds of hops with him so Sam Adams could make a space beer and yes, he also wanted to place a sports bet while in orbit.
Space and betting don’t have a ton in common, but there’s some shared history.
In 1969, bettor David Threlfell won $24,000 on a $24 bet made five years prior that man would get to the moon by New Year’s Day 1971.
After Jared’s brother Michael called me from Inspiration4 takeoff area at the Kennedy Space Center, I went to the cage at MGM Grand and as a proxy bettor, was able to take out $8,000. The Proxy bettor documentation was signed prior to launch.
I then placed the following bets, as Jared instructed Michael to tell me:
His two bets:
- $4,000 on the over of 40.5 on Thursday Night’s New York Giants-Washington Football Team game.
- $4,000 on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl at 66/1.
As I walked up to place the bet at BetMGM’s Sportsbook in the MGM Grand — in a space outfit I commissioned for the project — I knew I was on the shorter end of the stick of this historical moment.
Now, I’ll wait around to see if the two teams can score more than 40 points. If so, I’ll meet Jared in Orlando for a Splashdown event in a couple of days with his winnings ($7,636.35 in total) — which will be donated to St. Judes.
We’ll add $268,000 if the Eagles win the Super Bowl.