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Vegas Book Seeks Odds on Oral Roberts

February 23, 1987

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ A Las Vegas sports book is asking state gaming officials for approval to post odds on whether evangelist Oral Roberts will raise the $4.5 million he says is needed to keep him alive.

But the head of the state Gaming Control Board said the odds of such a wager being allowed are slim.

″I think it’s fair to assume...that the answer would be no,″ said board Chairman Bart Jacka.

Gene Maday of Little Caesars Sports Book posted the bet Friday, but said no odds would be placed and no money taken unless gaming officials gave their consent.

Maday sent a letter to Jacka on Friday asking for permission to offer the wager. Jacka said Monday he had not yet received the letter.

Roberts announced on his national television shows Jan. 4 and Jan. 11 that God had spoken to him and told him to raise $4.5 million for medical and missionary scholarships by March or ″I’m going to call you home.″

Officials at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. announced that $1.6 million was raised in the first 10 days following the appeal.

The appeal caused a furor among some stations carrying the broadcasts and school officials stopped announcing the amount that had been raised.

School spokeswoman Jan Dargatz said last week the total amount had not been raised and said no total would be announced until the goal was reached.

State gaming agents forced one Las Vegas sports book to take down bets a few years ago on who shot J.R. Ewing in the television series ″Dallas.″

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