Shift4 Payments Founder Issacman Places Bets in Space During Inspiration4 Flight

US sports betting has reached the final frontier. On Thursday, BetMGM announced that Jared Isaacman placed two wagers while commanding the Inspiration4, the first human orbital spaceflight helmed only by civilians.

Inspiration4 Sports Bet
Inspiration4 Sports Bet
Jared Isaacman, second to the right, trains in an anti-gravity simulator with his Inspiration4 crewmates, (from left) Chris Sembroski, Hayley Arceneaux, and Dr. Sian Proctor, for the first all-civilian orbital spaceflight. After launching Wednesday night, Issacson, founder of Shift4 Payments, placed two sports wagers with BetMGM via a proxy from space. Shift4 is a technology provider for BetMGM. (Image: Netflix)

Besides being the mission’s commander, Isaacman is also the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. In June, the Allentown, Penn.-based payment solutions company became the processor for BetMGM, the sports betting operator established as a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Entain.

Through a proxy, Isaacman made two $4,000 bets at the BetMGM Sportsbook located at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. One was on the over in Thursday night’s NFL game between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team. Set to 40.5 points at -110 odds, that cashed as Washington won 30-29. It netted the pioneering sports bettor $3,636.35 and a total payout of $7,636.35.

Isaacman also placed a wager on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl. At +6600, the Eagles aren’t likely to soar to the championship this season. However, if they defy the odds, that would net him $264,000 and a total payout of $268,000.

Inspiration4, Sports Bets to Support St. Jude

Per the BetMGM release, all winnings from Isaacman’s wagers will go to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. BetMGM will also donate $25,000 to the Memphis-based

This is a truly historic moment. Thanks to Shift4 Payments for the incredible honor of asking BetMGM to participate,” BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost said in a statement.

The Inspiration4’s mission includes raising awareness and funds for the renowned medical facility. The goal is to match the $100 million contributed by Isaacman by February 2022. Just before midnight ET Thursday, nearly $39 million had been raised. Contributions can be made here.

The four-person crew is orbiting Earth for three days in a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk. Inspiration4 launched Wednesday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

About Isaacman, Shift4

Shift4’s roots trace back to 1999 when a then 16-year-old Isaacman founded United Bank Card. As that company took off, he learned how to fly, eventually becoming one of the few civilians approved to fly military fighter jets.

He parlayed that experience with fighter jets in 2011 by establishing Draken International, a defense firm responsible for training Air Force pilots. Eight years later, he sold a majority stake in that company, which owns the largest private fleet of military aircraft, to Blackstone for a nine-figure sum.

In June 2020, Shift4 went public, and according to Forbes, Isaacman owns 38 percent of the company’s stock.

BetMGM isn’t the only play for Shift4 Payments in the gaming industry. In January, the company announced a strategic partnership with Sightline Payments, one of the companies that have been pushing cashless gaming at brick-and-mortar casinos.

Per a release announcing the venture, the partnership seeks to deliver a “seamless” experience for customers when they visit casinos, sports arenas and stadiums, and other hospitality businesses.

“The regulated gaming market, including sports betting and fantasy leagues, is enormous and continuing to gain in popularity,” Isaacman said in a release regarding the venture. “We are excited to partner with Sightline to take on this massive payments opportunity.”

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